Simply put, “Live to Dance” is a disaster. Produced by Paula Abdul, this latest in TV dance competitions has learned nothing from the successes or failures of its predecessors.
First, what I do like about L2D is that it features a wide range of dancers from hip hop soloists to jitterbug duets to competition-style contemporary dance groups. Unfortunately, the panel of judges can only appreciate a very narrow range of styles so the potential for real variety is instantly diminished.
In order to judge between performances, the authorities must share a common set of criterion, a problem I discussed two years ago in a blog about the ill-fated “Superstars of Dance.” L2D’s panel of experts has no discernable, critical foundation for their judgments and instead base their opinions on how they feel about the performance.
The judging system itself, split between the on-site panel and the remote voting audience, is so twisted that I gave up trying to figure it out. From the results, I’d say it leaves out too many talented performers too quickly.
The lighting and camera directors are letting their own egos overpower the focus of the show: dancing. Whether in groups or as soloists, the dancers are utterly lost in huge psychedelic light shows that leave me dizzy. The camera operators seem to be on crack increasing my vertigo until I have to look away.
Finally, there is Paula Abdul herself. As talented a choreographer and performer as Abdul might be, she doesn’t have the strong, stable personality required to anchor two hours of television. She’s not funny or witty or poignant or articulate in any way.
I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I gave Live to Dance a fair shot. I won’t be tuning in again, though. I hear American Idol’s new team is doing great. Guess I’ll check that out next week instead. Sorry, Paula, but you’re better behind the scenes.