Why does Joe watch FOX so often…?

What do you get when you cross an irate, old Briton with a room full of young, desperate, competing teeny boppers? Judging by American Idol, Hell’s Kitchen and now, So You Think You Can Dance, Fox’s answer to that question is, “entertainment.” And if “entertainment” is the kind of thing that can leave me with the sincere desire to gouge my eyes out and sever my inner ears in order to ensure that I am not subjected to it more than once, then they are right. Hey, I like Simon Cowell. His ability to reduce effeminate young narcissists to tears by simply opening his mouth and being honest was the one redeeming quality of American Idol that had me tuning in once or twice per season. But given the population’s general aversion to his style, I sure as hell didn’t expect the proliferation of Cowell-clones on every new show created by Fox. If this ominous trend is any indication, we can soon to expect a host of shows incorporating a superfluous crabby British character in an attempt to boost ratings. And if Ryan Seacrest isn’t involved, hell, it might work. Er, on second though, no it won’t.

Here is the scoop on So you Think You Can Dance: the only episode worth watching is the first one. Like American Idol, the show begins with a parade of dilettantes, hacks and mega-untalented loser dorks who have somehow developed the belief that they have talent. Gobs of it. They go on stage showing off their “skills” and hilarity ensues. But once they are weeded out, the show goes from funny to serious, and I have a hard time caring about a competition involving a group of self-important amateurs.

The list of positive qualities this show possesses was much, much shorter than the list of negative qualities, so being the economical columnist that I am — oh fuck it, I’m lazy — I decided to go with the short list. No one thought I could do it, but here we go — positive qualities of So You Think You Can Dance:

  • There is no Randy Jackson to say, “You go, Dawg” every single time a contestant manages to wipe his own ass. Instead, he has been replaced with a judge who looks like the British Quentin Tarantino, except he doesn‘t talk everyone to death.
  • There is no Paula Abdul to pretend she knows what the hell she is talking about when it comes to talent. Whether she was mothering the contestants, or doing the nasty thing with them, she had no place on American Idol. The token female judge who replaces her is actually a bit harsh, as she should be given the talent pool of morons on stage [Ed Note: Wouldn’t it have been much more economical to have said, “There’s no Randy Jackson; there’s no Paula Abdul?”].
  • The main judge (Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer of American Idol) is mean-spirited, harsh, confrontational, egotistical; in other words, all the virtues I admire in a human being. He is OK but not as funny as Cowell — his jokes can border on the lame (“I’ve seen better spins on a washing machine”) Of course, with these three judges, all white and from England, the panel is about as diverse as a Klan meeting.
  • There is no Ryan Seacrest. Need I explain further? He has been replaced by a Latina (Lauren Sanchez) with an unassuming personality. I barely notice her when she comes and goes on screen — always a positive quality.

If American Idol is any indication, So You Think You Can Dance will be another lesson in democracy, namely that the American public is too stupid to discern talent from Clay Aiken, who came perilously close to winning in season 2, and still manages to infect the airwaves as the poster child of androgynous people everywhere. People cannot be trusted with the vote, and his success (not to mention the American presidency) is proof that democracy has failed and should be replaced with a Ruthless oligarchy. Oh, the show? It sucks.

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