America's Best Dance Snooze
MTV. Pioneers of reality programming. Some say they faded into the background after record-breaking ratings with The Real World, spewing one brainless reality show after the next. You remember. There was Date My Mom, Taquita & Kaui, The Ashlee Simpson Show, and who can forget Bam's Unholy Union? Oh, wait a minute, maybe you don't remember. Don't fret. Not many of us do. But just when we thought it was all downhill for MTV, the programming geniuses at the network teamed up with Randy Jackson, not formerly of the Jackson 5, to create a poor man's version of Dancing with the Stars. From this union, MTV and Randy Jackson gave a deplorable birth to America's Best Dance Crew. Equipped with their very own website, America's Best Dance Crew gives us a full summary of their show. "Are you ready to pop and lock? Think it's time to take the Soulja Boy dance craze to the next level? Don't know what the paso doble or fox trot is? Good, 'cause we're bringing the streets to the stage in the new competitive dance series Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew!" Yup! That's it ladies and gentlemen. Each week, the twelve dance crews engage in an all out battle royale to uncover the best dance crew in America. Now, although America does the voting, MTV was determined to utilize the semi-celebrity, three-person-panel judging system. What great American reality show can live without that? The panel consists of former NSyncer, J.C. Chasez, choreographer to the stars, Shane Sparks, and hip-hop new-comer, Lil Mama. Let us review that list. J.C. Chasez is a boy-band has-been and has little advice to give young dancers in the business. Where was Justin Timberlake when we needed him? Shane Sparks may be the only respectable judge on the show. He actually has talent and is currently utilizing it choreographing artists such as Britney Spears, Omarion, and Lindsay Lohan. He gives excellent advice and is a professional instructor. Then we turn to New York's own Lil Mama. Her only fame; she had one hit single hit in 2007 and all we know about her is that her lip gloss is poppin. I guess Ciara or any other female in the business turned down the gig. And let's not forget the host! The ever-so-washed up Mario Lopez, better known as Saved by the Bell's A.C. Slater, is the ringmaster to this three-ring-circus. That's right folks. He's back and he still doesn't look a day over twenty. In each episode, he can be counted on to show us his moves, or lack thereof. You would never guess he was actually the runner-up on season three of ABCs Dancing with the Stars. The dancers are the only impressive aspect to this nightmare turned reality. They actually have talent, unlike those judging them. But, it seems as if the audience is more concerned with who has the best tricks and stunts. The viewers want the WOW factor. At-home-voters are not so much concerned with the technique and style like those who tune in to So You Think You Can Dance. Listening to judges who lack the ability to critique dancers with words other than dope, hot, slammin, and off the hook, the audience may find themselves lost in the entertainment, and not as much the talent. The crews have proven to be a diverse group of young talent with backgrounds in various dance styles. Kaba Modern, a group from California, specializes in isolations, while Iconic focuses on theatrical dancing similar to that on Broadway. Fysh 'n Chicks is the only all-female group left on the show, and JabbaWockeeZ wears masks while they dance. BreakSk8 prefers to dance on roller skates.
The America's Best Dance Crew stage showcases amazing talent, but falls short on how to present it. Someone at MTV needs to give those directors a basic class on camera placement and movement. This camera crew seems confused as to whether they are taping a game show or a talent showcase. Be sure to catch this show on your DVR, otherwise you may miss many of the actual dance moves. This show lacks any known focal point. The majority of the shots come from an over-head crane camera that makes a 360 degree circle around the dance stage while the dancers are in motion making it almost impossible not to regurgitate. I wonder if they have any fixed cameras in place except for when the judges flood the airwaves with ridiculous nonsense babble. How can you expect viewers to actually see what is going on with moving dancers if your camera is constantly spinning around in circles? What better way to kill your ratings than to make your program unwatchable? The creators of America's Best Dance Crew lack the basic fundamentals of television programming. It was a good idea that was ruined by boring on-screen personalities, inadequate directing, lousy promotion, and cheesy reality contest patterns. If this show survives past the writer's strike and makes it to a second season, it will only confirm the fact that America has becomes zombies to the mind-numbing effects of reality TV. Is it that we are all that bored or has television ceased to offer any other options? I don't know the answer, but I do know we all will be talking about who the next top model is, we will turn in to see who wins the great race, and we will root for the biggest loser. May the television gods forgive us.
America's Best Dance Crew airs Thursday nights at 10pm on MTV.