Stay Tuned
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Monday, January 05, 2009

"Superstars of Dance" Review: A Grand Idea That Just Doesn't Work

I’ve come to learn in this business that when you ask a show publicist for a screener and they tell you they have no plans to send out one that you can translate that as “This show stinks and we know it.”

But in the case of “Superstars of Dance,” that’s not completely true.

However, it’s not completely false either…

The show is meant to be an Olympics of dance as eight countries—Argentina, Australia, China, India, Ireland, Russia, South Africa, and the United States—compete in solo, duet and group categories showcasing their native dances. The dances are judged by eight judges—one representative from each of the competing countries (Judges are not allowed to judge their own countries.)—on a scale of 1-10. Each category will have a winner and there will be an overall winner as well.

But sadly, the show never reaches the Olympic heights it’s hoping for, thanks to too many cheesy elements. I can’t help but think those are the handiwork of the show’s co-creator and Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe, whose love of cheese has hurt “American Idol” immeasurably in recent years.

Come to think of it, Lythgoe leaving “Idol” to do this show is one good thing I can say about “Superstars”…

But there are other good things as well. Michael Flatley is a good host. And his co-host, former Miss USA Susie Castillo, is no Samantha Harris—and that’s a compliment.

But neither they nor the talented dancers (especially the amazing Shaolin Monds of China) can overcome those ridiculous audience reactions (What is it with Lythgoe and audiences anyway?). There must be a light-up sign somewhere in the studio telling them when to scream, ooh, or applaud. But it’s terribly distracting and comes off rather painful to watch.

Something about the judges comes off as cheesy as well. I’m not sure why, because it’s no different than “Dancing With the Stars.” But it just doesn’t work for me.

And don’t even get me started on the direction that never seems to know just how to capture the dance—especially the group numbers.

Plus, there are the two obvious problems with the show. First, we have no idea who these people are. Sure, we get short packages to introduce them, but that’s not really enough since we didn’t follow them through audition rounds like “So You Think You Can Dance” and they’re not celebrities.

And, the most obvious is that we have absolutely no say in who wins this thing which makes it a little hard to become invested in the show.

“Superstars” is a grand idea, but sometimes in the world of TV, those are the ones that just don’t work.

“Superstars of Dance” moves to its regular timeslot Monday, January 5th at 8 p.m. on NBC…

Photo Credit: Chris Haston/NBC