August 03, 2005 11:06 PM by Joe Blackmon
So You Think You Can Dance has that tough American Idol edge to it. Fifty dancers arrive in Hollywood, and they are quickly split into five groups and put to the test in order to choose the top 24 dancers. The choreographers are demanding and relentless. They don’t hesitate to dish out criticism both professional and personal.
One of the first lessons the dancers learn is about personal hygiene, as they are told to wash their hands and brush their teeth. Another dancer comes under fire because one of the choreographers doesn’t like his Mohawk.
The initial focus is primarily on the dancers that can’t cut it. The dancers will talk about how good they are why the choreographers cut in to talk about how bad they are. It’s not long before the first dancer calls it quits. Anthony Foster announces he’s leaving, which infuriates producer Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel berates Anthony telling him, “The one thing about being a dancer is you can never give up. I think you’ve let yourself down to be frank. Get him on the next flight out of here.”
The dancers compare bruises after the routines. During one routine, several dancers become emotional and break down into tears. It is hinted that two dancers might even be faking injury as an excuse for not being able to cut it with some of the choreography. Jessica Schaeffer complains about a hip injury while trying to learn Dan’s choreography, but her hip doesn’t seem to bother her when she follows it up with one of her own two and a half minute solo freestyles. Burgendy Kirtz complains of a pulled hamstring during Dan’s choreography but does a split during her freestyle.
Just like American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance is shaping up to be controversial. The first big controversy seems to be swirling around Blake McGrath. One of the dancers discovers a magazine in the dance studio that contains an article about Blake’s professional dance experience. (Now, we wonder who put that magazine in the dance studio, perhaps one of the producers?) This article of course creates arguments among the dancers over if someone with so much professional experience should be in the competition. To make matters worse, Blake brings his little dog to the hotel, which infuriates his roommate, Allan Frias.
Blake’s problems aren’t limited to skirmishes with the other dancers. Choreographer Dan Karaty immediately has problems with Blake’s cocky attitude. Dan warns Blake about being too cocky during rehearsal. Blake then shoots off to Lauren Sanchez saying, “Dan thinks that I was cocky in class and really it’s just confidence. You know on one hand, I probably think that he’s just a little bit jealous, because to me, he’s not that good.” A preview of next weeks show has Dan pointing out that they review the tapes and asking Blake how smart it was to say something like that about him, when he’s a judge in the competition. Now, all So You think You Can Dance needs is for The Smoking Gun to start revealing previous arrest records for the contestants.