It’s that time again for So You Think You Can Dance Canada. I love our homegrown version of the hit show. I love it because it’s so awful. The dancing isn’t awful, the dancing is actually pretty damn good. The contestants are talented, the choreography is innovative. The Canadian version features dance styles like House and Dancehall that the U.S show doesn’t. What’s so awful about SYTYCD Canada is the judges, the host and the all around Canadian-ness of it.
The judges, Jean Marc Generaux, Tre Armstrong, Luther Brown and Blake McGrath are all famous, talented dancers. I love Jean Marc on the U.S show when he choreographs. Luther has created some memorable routines on the show. I met Tre when I was a teenager and took one of her classes, I thought she was super cool. And Blake, I feel like I know him. He’s been on the U.S version of the show, danced for Britney and Janet, was on DanceLife, and now has a single that I love. These dancers are great when they’re dancing, but sitting at a table and judging people, they annoy the hell out of me. They don’t give the dancers any constructive criticism, they’re way too nice and they don’t have the kind of personalities to make the audience like them. In the U.S version, Nigel is the “mean” judge, Mary (from previous seasons) was the crazy one, and the third judge filled in the rest. The Canadian judges are boring. Especially during these early episodes where it’s just the first round of auditions.
The other night I watched the Calgary auditions and pointed out to my mom that they didn’t cut anyone. Everyone they showed either made it straight through to Vegas (or the ‘finals’ as they call it) or went to choreography. Even people who obviously had no dance training and just showed up to be on TV were put through to choreography as a “learning experience.” On the U.S version, dancers are put through to choreography to test how well they can learn movement and adapt to other styles. Not as a dance lesson! There was a part where Blake had to stop the group because they didn’t know which count to start the routine on. That’s a sign that they had no idea what they were doing. It was infuriating.
Another example of them being too nice. Season one, my favorite season, it was final four. I believe it was Miles and Natalie dancing hip hop and he completely forgot the steps. He just stood there for a few counts, looking confused. I started yelling at the TV, thinking the judges were going to blow him away. But they shrugged it off, said was okay, it was final four and the pressure was on. I couldn’t believe it. If that happened on the U.S version, it would be a different story. The judges have to get tougher for this show to have any credibility.
The host, Leah Miller, is no Cat Deeley. To be fair, I didn’t like her when she was on MuchMusic, but on this show, once again she doesn’t really bring any personality. I think out of all of them, Blake’s the most interesting to watch. At least he keeps it real.
Therefore, the show has lost its credibility to me. I’ll still watch it, because I love the show and love watching the dancers tackle new styles. But when the judges speak, I think I’ll put the TV on mute.