First, there's Flatley ... the Lord of the Dance can certainly handle himself on the boards, but put a microphone in his hands and he begins to resemble Bambi in the headlights. Dry toast comes to mind when I think of his style. It needs butter, jam, a hunk of meat ... anything to make it tantilizing.
The buildup of each act sets the bar way too high. How do you compare a bunch of miners from South Africa gleefully jumping in and out of barrels with a Argentine Tango? Apples and oranges.
Then, there are the judges. The lady from Argentina says she danced with The Rat Pack ... what was that ... the 60s? She is very well preserved, but I don't think all the pickles are still in the jar, if you know what I mean. Then, there's the monk from China ... what does he know about the tango ... or popping .... or jumping in and out of a barrel? The guy from the United States is a Selsnick, from the legendary Hollywood family, and he's supposed to be a brilliant choreographer. Maybe he needs to go to judging school, because he mostly gives 8s, no matter how good/bad the performance.
Then, there's South Africa. That guy is just plain scary. His head is full of metal, from his ear clips to the spike that juts out under his lower lip. He's penciled in a mustache and eyebrows. I thought he and the coach from India were going to have a cat fight when "Spike" gave the Indian girl an 8 and said "there was room for improvement." If looks could kill. My guess is they both harbor a secret desire to be ballerinas.
The dancers are supposed to be the best their countries have to offer. Ireland's troupe was great, but their soloists left a lot to be desired. The duo from Australia said they had been dancing since they were 3, and that ballroom was their speciality. Please. Their solo consisted of 5% dance and 95% fighting over a chair. I'm serious. And it wasn't even that nice a chair.
The United States entered Robert Muraine, the popper-contortionist who had his 15 minutes of fame on last season's "So You Think You Can Dance." What he does is entertaining, but I would never call it dancing, but then I grew up watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers and Cyd Charisse. As a teenager, I was in lust with Mikhail Baryshnikov and wanted to be Suzanne Farrell, Balanchine's muse. I also loved watching The Temptations and Michael Jackson bust a move. THAT was dancing. Watching someone turn his arm 360 degrees in its socket just doesn't do it for me.
I made it through Sunday night's debut, but just could not bring myself to sit through the second round of competition. Someone please tell me it got better.
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