Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner: So You Think You Can Dance

Hey everybody, it’s time for an other installment of Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!!!!!

Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!
Skittly Bop Doo Skorner!!!
Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner!!!
Skattle Bip Dum Shkormer!!!

Today’s installment is about “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Or, as I like to call it, “The World’s Lowest Stakes Reality TV Show.”  Or, “Nigel Lythgoe’s Parade of Insufferably Self-Important Artistes.”  Or, “It Seems A Little Cruel To Choreograph A Number In Which This Male Dancer Has To Once Again Pretend to Be Attracted To This Female Dancer.”

Do I watch SYTYCD?  I don’t know.  Would you say that a baby girl whose parents are chain smokers is herself a smoker?  Whether I “watch” it or not, I’m exposed to it by Melissa for several hours on what seems like a daily basis.  Do they run new episodes twice a day Monday through Sunday?  It seems like they do.  And that’s not counting all the numbers that just absolutely must be re-watched over and over again.  So even though I don’t watch willingly, I’m exposed to it enough that I’ve developed a few thoughts and opinions on this dreadful, dreadful show.


This is bad, but I think second-hand So You Think You Can Dance is worse.

*  As I mentioned above, I’m continually amazed by how low the stakes of this competition are.  When you win SYTYCD, what do you get?  Some money ($100K?) and the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer.”  I love that title.  “America’s Favorite Dancer.”  “America” does not, never has, and won’t for the foreseeable future have a “Favorite Dancer.”  The winner of SYTYCD essentially gets a one-way ticket to Anonymous Town, along with all the contestants who lost.  Think about it:  The contestants on this show – even the winner – will never be more famous and have more exposure than they do while on the show.  Winning just isn’t really worth anything.  See, that’s what makes – OK, made – American Idol exciting.  Contestants were vying to vault to superstardom.  Yeah, they were enjoying their spot on TV’s biggest show, but that was small potatoes when compared with the chance of being the next Carrie Underwood.  Idol winners could go on to bigger and better things.  When SYTYCD winners finish the show the absolute best case scenario is to be a back-up dancer in a J.Lo video.  Kind of depressing.

*  Kook already mentioned this here, but it bears mentioning again:  Let’s just take it easy with the whole “journey” thing.

*  Producers:  You have been ignoring me on this particular matter, and I’m starting to take it personally.  Stop – just stop – the whole “I’m really sorry to have to tell you this . . . but you will have to quit your job because you are going to be joining us on SYTYCD . . . as a stage hand.  Yes, I’m sorry, you’ll only be a stage hand.  AND “STAGEHAND” IS OUR NEW TERM FOR “CONTESTANT.”  But “contestant” is our new term for “Not on the show.”  And you’re not on the show . . . because you’re going to be on the show!!!!!!”  Nobody – not one single person – is fooled by these little fake-outs anymore.  I don’t know why you’re still doing it.  Stop doing it.

*  I touched on this idea in this post here, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have much of a discerning palate when it comes to dance, but I have a reeeeeeaaaaalllly hard time with some of the critiques the judges give the dancers and their routines.  I don’t know what it means to “dance from on an honest place,” and I’m not sure anyone else does, either.

I’ll end with a few quick thoughts on the judges:

Mia:  Represents everything that is wrong with this show, the arts in general, and really, if you think about it, the world.  Self-important, self-righteous, and very obviously seething with anger at the fact that she’s overweight and is forced by her profession to be surrounded by the most beautiful bodies on earth.


“I really hated that routine.”  (Translation: You are so skinny.  I am so hungry.)

Mary:  I find her annoying – That voice!  That laugh! – but for whatever reason I can’t find it in my heart to dislike her, bless her heart.



Adam:  Love him.  Love everything about him.  Love that he’s a crier.  Love that he wears terrible necklaces. Love him.  Get him his own show.


This guy has made so many contributions to dance and to the mistaken idea that it’s OK for grown men to wear necklaces.

Nigel:  Great guy.  Big fan.  Terrible, terrible fashion sense – Lose the leather blazers, already! – but immensely likable.


Feathered hair is what the kids like nowadays, right?

Lil C:  He may have many virtues, but whatever they are they don’t outweigh his need to flip open the thesaurus and find the longest word for every occasion (and then often use that word incorrectly).


So obstreperous!

Sonja:  I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, and as a result, I have a hard time relating to artists.  They’re a foreign species to me.  Sonja embodies this foreignness.  And yet, for some unknowable reason, I love her.  I can’t explain why.  I don’t understand her, but I’m glad there are a few weirdos like her roaming the planet.


It’s not inconsistent to be grateful that there are people like her in the world while at the same time hoping that none of your kids turns out to be one of them.

Cat:  I used to like her, and I’m not sure what happened.  Somewhere along the line her congeniality morphed into a sickly, cloying sweetness that’s hard for me to take.  Also:  why did they choose a 6’2 host to interact with all the 5’2 dancers?  It always reminds of me Chewbacca hanging out with the Ewoks.


Drop the act, Deeley.  We know you don’t care about whose journey is ending tonight.

Tyce: Can’t take the weird facial hair, can’t take the over-the-top facial expressions, can’t take the self-importance and the ego.  Go back to Broadway.


Bravely combating the stereotype that gay men know enough about fashion to not sport a chin strap.

Oh, and one final thing:  I find it so weird that they decided to end people’s solo routines – usually danced to moody, beautiful music – with the guy with the low voice saying, “Dance dance dance.”  Kind of a mood killer.

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24 Responses to Davis’ Pop Kulture Korner: So You Think You Can Dance

  1. Eliza says:

    Note to self: do not eat cereal while reading DDDT. I literally spit it out laughing so hard at the Mia caption. So funny. I totally agree with everything, Adam is so dang adorable and I need to be best friends with him now. I love love love him. fyi you melissa has probably filled you in, but he directed/choreographed Hairspray the movie. agree about mary and sonja. Little C just gives me anxiety every time he opens his mouth, poor guy he clearly is trying to prove he is smart and instead it just makes him look idiotic. so sad. Anyway, great post, chex spewed notwithstanding. ; )

  2. Christian says:

    but you will have to quit your job because you are going to be joining us on SYTYCD . . . as a stage hand. Yes, I’m sorry, you’ll only be a stage hand. AND “STAGEHAND” IS OUR NEW TERM FOR “CONTESTANT.” But “contestant” is our new term for “Not on the show.”

    lol. I hate that. So annoying.

    Self-serious artists are another group I forgot to mention who will be banished to Perv Island. And they’re going to have to live in the sewers. Although I’m sure they will find a way to believe the sewers are beautiful and they’ll create plays and songs and paintings about the sewers rats who triumph over prejudice and the ignorance of society in their journey toward beauty and enlightenment. Then we’ll kill all the sewer rats

  3. Andrea W. says:

    Great stuff. I’m so glad you love Adam and can’t help but like Mary in spite of herself. I feel the exact same way. I love Kat, though, you’re wrong about her. Brennan actually enjoys the show and will watch with me, but like you, he just can’t handle when the judges burst into tears or when Tyce starts yelling. This season’s final cuts seemed particularly cruel, only taking 10, making them wait who knows how long to find out, going to their houses? What????

  4. Shauna says:

    i have a love/hate relationship with this show. I loved it for so many years and the last two seasons i have just hated. Why cant we just leave things alone when they start to get old? Why must we always work things into the ground? Like American idol for example. Its coming back. WHY? its not good anymore and no one watches it. I feel this way about SYTYCD. The only person i like is Adam Shankman, and he is the sole reason i saw Miley Cyrus’s terrible movie “The Last Song.” Funny thing is it didnt make me hate him like it should have since it was so terrible.

    SYTYCD blows. Mia is chubby. End of rant.

  5. Braden says:

    As the artiste of the Bell family, I have to say…you are absolutely right! Hysterical, Dave. I’ve never once seen this show and laughed and laughed while I read it.

  6. Derek says:

    Thank you for putting my exact thoughts on the internets, for all to see.

    And that “stage hand” stuff really cracked me up.

  7. Rachel says:

    LOL, I’m dying- I LOVE this show and I appreciated this post.

    I can’t believe you didn’t mention in more detail the embarrassing way that Adam fake cries. He shakes his head, puts his fingers on either side of his nose and strains until he thinks tears might come. I have to look away from the screen- its too much for me to endure.

    How DOES mia survive in the dance world? How do you let yourself become fat when you have to TEACH people how to dance, which is quite athletic and hard to do? Such a mystery.

    I don’t mind Mary in the pre-season stuff but during the actual show, she could not be more annoying with her yelling and screaming and I hate to even mention it here…the Hot Tamale Train?? Please stop.

  8. Ben Pratt says:

    Thanks, Davis. Seriously. This is a superhero-level public service.

    I don’t think I can dance, and I choose not to prove it on national TV.

  9. Massey says:

    Great post Davis. I think that almost all second-hand reality TV is dangerous to one’s constitution. However, contrary to most reality TV shows (namely Real Housewives and DWTS and all the Food Network shows) I find second-hand SYTYCD is quite tolerable. For me, I think it’s because SYTYCD as a reality TV show is more “real” than other reality TV shows. And I think the reason for this is becuse the apparent low stakes of the competition actually translate to very high stakes for dancers. Ryan Bell, please hear me out.

    You brought up American Idol as having much higher stakes, which is true for singers. American Idol wouldn’t be awesome if the winner won a contract to sing in the Oasis Cabana in Mesquite for one year because for a singer, singing in the Oasis Cabana is not a lifetime crowning achievement. Singers on American Idol hunger for widespread fame and riches.

    But for most dancers, being a principal for a big and reputable dance company, which typically is the indirect reward for winning SYTYCD, is a lifetime crowning achievement. Are principals for dance companies famous superstars? Absolutely not. And I think dancers know this. This is why the contestants’ motives on SYTYCD appear to lack the pretextual motives of contestants on American Idol and the Batchelor, which is why I think SYTYCD is more real and enjoyable for me to watch. Unlike Ruban Studdard or that gray-haired guy who sang that West Virginia song, the majority of good contestants on SYTYCD are not trying to become rich and famous, which seems to be the ultimate goal on American Idol and other Reality TV shows (the one exception to this is the Bachelor, where the ultimate goal is finding true love in Iceland). In my mind, SYTYCD contestants are trying to reach what to them is the pinnacle of dance, with or without fame, such that to them, the stakes of SYTYCD are indeed high. The contestants on SYTYCD just seem more sincere in their purpose, which leads to each of the judges breaking down emotionally two to three times an episode.

    Wow. I’m not sure where all this came from. I can’t believe I just defended SYTYCD. If my wife reads this, I am forever committed to second hand SYTYCD. Please keep me in your prayers. You may now release the wolves. And by wolves, I mean Ryan Bell.

  10. Wade says:

    Thanks for that post, Massey. Almost as honest and beautiful as the SYTYCD dancers themselves. We can’t let detractors get us down on our art.

  11. Ryan says:

    In case any of you are wondering who this “Massey” commenter fellow is, you can see a picture of him here: http://www.dontdodumbthings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/sensitive-man.JPG

  12. Rebecca Bell says:

    agreed. esp on the mia front. and she continues to get more tatoos, crazy hair dos, and funky clothes to try and hide the fact that she no longer “fits in” the dancing world. poor, talented lady. anyway, i kinda have to stick up for the girls here, though, when you said, “It Seems A Little Cruel To Choreograph A Number In Which This Male Dancer Has To Once Again Pretend to Be Attracted To This Female Dancer.” In my recollection, most of the girls on the show are really attractive and the guys are the ones that struggle (and 9 times out of 10 are gay) so it’s the girls we should take pity on here- not the guys. thanks for a great, funny post.

  13. MIssy says:

    From the periphery, I used to think Mary Murphy was highly annoying and an inveterate attention hog, what with all that shrieking and botox she has going on. But a strange thing happened when I started watching SYTYCD on a regular basis, and my cold, dead heart started warming up when I realized she was not just the SYTYCD version of American’ Idol’s bat-sh*! crazy Paula Abdul.

    How can you not like a lady who is pretty much just like one of your high school friend’s fun crazy moms? The one who let the kids pick what they wanted to listen to on the radio during carpool, let you stay over at their house for as long as you wanted watching fake scary Disney movies like “Watcher in the Woods” and “The Gate”, let you eat any food left out for snacking even if you didn’t live there? Even though they could be a spazz sometimes, those moms were the best. And I imagine that Mary Murphy might be just like that.

    I love her.

  14. Andrea W. says:

    From my husband’s lips tonight, “I’m just not getting the whole convulsion thing, I mean, why would you want to spasm on the stage like that.”

    Also, Bryan, brilliant point! I knew there was something like the beginning of that thought in my head but I never could have zeroed in on it let alone articulated it so perfectly. Bravo.

  15. StefStar says:

    What if I told you I tried out for SYTYCD?

  16. Davis says:

    Eliza, to my great surprise, I looooved Hairspray. Adam has the golden touch.

    Kook, I will be leading the way with a pitchfork and a torch in the round-up of the sewer rats.

    Andrea, watch Kat very closely. There’s just not one shred of sincerity or believability in what she does. I don’t think most people on TV are sincere, but if you’re not going to be sincere, you at least have to be believable. And the going to the house thing was just dumb.

    Shauna, because there is a lot of money to be made by eking out a few last, terrible seasons. Period.

    Braden, you’re very, very lucky.

    Derek, welcome!

    Rachel, I’ve never noticed Adam doing that! Don’t spoil him for me! I intentionally omitted any mention of the Train, because it just makes me angry.

    Azucar, before I choose a side, I need to know whether in this scenario Melissa is the sexy vampire or the sexy werewolf.

    Ben, that’s a great TV show. “No, I Don’t Think I Can Dance.”

    Massey, first and foremost, I was genuinely convinced your comment was actually written by your wife while mistakenly signed in as you. Second, I’m going to resist the cheap and easy shots to which Ryan and Wade have resorted. You actually make a really good point about the sincerity of the show: they just want to have a career in dance, not be famous. That can still make for compelling TV, I guess, but it doesn’t change the fact that the stakes are very, very low and make it hard for me to get invested.

    Wade and Ryan, shame on you.

    Rebecca, I agree the girls are usally attractive. That joke referred to the fact that 90% of the male dancers are gay.

    Missy, your spirited defense of Mary made me laugh. I can totally see Mary as “the cool Mom,” who had plenty of Doritos and Sunny D.

    StefStar, it would mean that Massey would really, really respect you.

  17. Christian says:

    Great point, Rebecca. The fact that Davis doesn’t think any of these girls (who are TEENY TEENY, btw) are attractive enough shows us what a picky, chauvinist pig he is (which is why he got married so late and bought a designer dog with his first bonus check) and why none of us should comment on any of his posts in the future.

  18. Candice says:

    Loved this post and comments that followed. However, I’m dying for a Bachelorette post. Please Kulture Korner.

  19. jana says:

    dancing with the stars is so obstreperously worse

  20. Azucar says:

    Missy, I don’t know where you got the idea that “Watcher In The Woods” was fake scary when, in fact, it is downright terrifying. Just sayin.

  21. So loving the note to the producers. This whole thing was hilarious, even though I don’t watch the show.

  22. Natalie says:

    Davis. I can’t watch Dance anymore this season without hearing your statements about Cat in my head. Now it bugs, and Dance will never be the same. Thanks for ruining the 2nd best reality show on television.

  23. Andrea W. says:

    “Remember one thing, dance is an artform, but it’s also a HEARTform” Mia Michaels.

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