So You Think You Can Dance returned for its 12th season sporting a three-judge panel which included Jason Derulo, Paula Abdul, and Nigel Lythgoe. I’ve always liked the very pretty, popular and personable little Paula with the big heart, though she can sometimes be annoying with the “silly” antics. I knew nothing about Jason Derulo, but in the course of the show he stole my heart with his genuinely open smile and graciously endearing rapport with people, not to mention he’s handsome, too. And Nigel is the beating heart of this award-winning arts and entertainment phenomenon that I’ve watched faithfully for all twelve seasons — which I can’t say of any other TV program, including American Idol.
Last night, viewers from my neck of the woods included sister Kate and her husband Randy who live down the hill, and my Mike and me. Katie and I hit the cell phones during every commercial to share our play by play commentaries. We have a ball doing that. The fact that the husbands hung around for the entire show was a high endorsement of this year’s arts and entertainment offering. That usually doesn’t happen. And is WAS a fantastic show. On up until near the end.
I’ve spent an hour or more looking for the name of the little fellow who auditioned in a three-piece suit, which he wore because of the style he was dancing. He called the routine a cross between ballroom and hip hop. But I could never find anything about him on the internet, not even his name. Paula was already giggling before the young man even got to the microphone. Nigel called the style of ballroom and hip hop “ball hop”, which sent Paula and Jason into paroxysms of laughter. The young man was polite and eager to show his dance style.
But a long, protracted, and uncomfortable length of time was spent with the viewers having to watch Paula and Jason laugh at him. Even though Paula tried to assure the boy they weren’t laughing at him, they were doing just that by going into giggling conniptions the whole time. The boy wasn’t stupid. He knew he was being laughed at. He was humiliated, and at one point looked like he might walk off the stage. And this was even before he performed.
The performance was not bad. Though it wasn’t quite a ticket to Vegas routine, the young man was not a bad dancer. It just would have been better if he had not combined the two styles. He probably would not have made it through even then, but he did not look like one of the idiots that invariably pass through each year — which the show has toned down to some degree, thank goodness.
The young man’s style of dress matched the old-fashioned Fred Astaire type performances and was completely appropriate for what he was doing. Then Paula rubbed salt in the wounds she had opened by trying insincerely to compliment the vest and suit and battling the giggles the whole time. Even though Jason had joined her in the mocking ridicule, Paula was certainly the instigator.
During the following commercial when sister Katie answered the phone we were in total agreement. We were both incensed and terribly disappointed. We had all enjoyed the show up to this point. It was like listening to a good orchestra and just before the end the musicians hit a sour note. It left us with a bad taste in our mouths toward the whole opening show.
Now I know that some auditions are allowed just for the comedic effect, and they are funny. But this episode with the performer in the nice suit was not one of those. This was a whole different scenario.
The young man in question deserves a public apology from SYTYCD and judges Nigel, Paula, and Jason. Sincere apologies. I want the judges to see their actions from the boy’s point of view. Here are three people who have “made it” as far as fame and fortune are concerned. They have all the advantages he doesn’t have. And they have just ridiculed and laughed at him on national television. It was unconscionable. I view it as a form of bullying.
Shame on you, Paula, Jason, and Nigel. You three have a long way to go in your grasp of how to treat people who do not have your advantages. I suggest a long and sober introspection. (I mean “sober” as in being serious, rather than “sober” as in not being inebriated.)