The problem with opening up a dance show to folks from all walks (and stages) of life is that it has no chance to develop into an edgy talent competition like So You Think You Can Dance or America's Best Dance Crew. Instead, it becomes a watered-down program with cute kids and old people who will likely get the lion's share of votes once the American public gets to be in charge -- just like America's Got Talent. In fact, Live to Dance is pretty much a dance-centric version of AGT with the only notable differences being the idiotic "dance dome" and the less famous judges (Paula Abdul aside). And who would've thought they could have found a more pseudo-enthusiastic and awkward host than Nick Cannon to stand with the family members? I wouldn't have dreamed that was possible.
I suppose there were a few good things about the show. 1.) Paula didn't seem that crazy and they didn't let her talk that much. And it makes far more sense for her to be gushy and crying over impressive little pre-teens than 25-year-olds. 2.) Not everyone with a sob story automatically got through. The judges actually seemed to require competitors to have a modicum of talent and not just general entertainment value. Well, that old couple was mostly a goof, but I presume they won't make it past the short-list stage of the game. 3.) With the "secret" voting and "star system" (each judge casts a vote; if the contestant gets two gold stars or more, they go through), Paula's less likely to be able to persuade the other judges to let someone through just because they're inspiring. 4.) Groups who were out of sync got called out for it. As a dance fan, I appreciate that.
But on the other hand, there were some downright terrible aspects to Live to Dance as well: 1.) When Paula did speak, she tended to do that stupid thing where she asks older people how "young they are" or asks 9-year-olds about their dating lives. Annoying. 2.) If they were going to get someone connected to the Pussycat Dolls, couldn't it at least have been founder Robin Antin? She was awesomely bitchy on The Pussycat Dolls Present and I think she'd offer some great critiques instead of Kimberly Wyatt's repetitive drivel. Even Nicole Scherzinger managed to string together some insight on The Sing-Off. Wyatt is a disappointment, aside from her hair, which is oddly fascinating. 3.) Travis Payne has credibility, but lacks the edge he needs. He still just seems smiley and excited to be on TV. Instead of telling people that there is just a high level of competition, I want him to give more cutting and blunt critiques. 4.) As for host Andrew Gunsberg, he's pretty much the worst. Overly peppy and basically just there to comfort losers and congratulate winners. He's terrible and I want to send him some clips of Cat Deeley in action so he can see how it's supposed to be done.
With all that said, I'll probably keep watching because I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to dancing shows. I just can't help myself. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I've seen every Dancing With the Stars and the entirety of Dance Your Ass Off. I even watched that Bruno vs. Carrie Ann nightmare on ABC a few seasons ago. Besides, I'm morbidly curious to see how Live to Dance unfolds. Will they require people to dance with a theme for a week (a la ABDC) or try different styles of dance (like SYTYCD) or will it just be little kids doing B-Boy and salsa with different costumes and music? It would be truly great if the producers upped the ante with a twist of some kind, but I'm not holding my breath.
Find out why Paula Abdul gives stars to everyone on this show.
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What if the show's title was literal? Our vlogger Sean Crespo contemplates a dance to the death in this video:
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