Bravo’s newest reality show Step It Up And Dance begins tonight. Twelve talented young dancers will compete for a chance to win $100,000. Along the way, they will learn what it takes to please this cruel and demanding master known as Dance.
At the beginning of the episode, the host of Step It Up and Dance, Elizabeth Berkley, and choreographer Jerry Mitchell greet the dancers in the Hollywood dance studio. Jerry will be to Step It Up and Dance what Tim Gunn is to Project Runway, a mentor and a guru.
The dancers head back to their Los Angeles apartment and immediately get ready to go out to a club. With the alcohol flowing, the dancers immediately start freestyling and one-upping each other. Oscar Campisi, a ballet dancer, and Nicole Berrong, a go-go dancer, start miming sex moves. The Italian-born Oscar says that he’s European, so the same rules don’t apply to him.
All of a sudden, the music screeches to a stop. Elizabeth gets on the mic and tells the dancers that their first challenge has already begun. A guest judge named Jamie King has been observing them all along. He and Jerry divide the dancers into three groups, and each group will have to dance together according to the style of music that Jerry puts on the loudspeaker. After every round, Jamie separates the wheat from the chaff.
Jamie divides the dancers into a winning group and a losing group. Everyone in the losing group will be put up for elimination at the end of the episode. For the next part of the challenge, each group will be given an hour and a half to work with two top choreographers and then give a final performance.
Back at their pad, the two gay guys of the house, Miguel Zarate and James Alsop cackle cattily to each other, talking smack about their fellow contestants. Nicole’s legs are throbbing from dancing in her boots.
The next day, the winning group has their rehearsal, and it looks very rough. They dance to the Spice Girls song “Spice Up Your Life.” And the choreographers use a lot of “bam-buh-badam” to describe the moves. It’s like an episode of Batman from the ’70s.
The elimination group’s rehearsal is even rougher. Oscar, who is a classically trained ballet dancer, is frustrated with the choreographers, and Nicole has a hard time because of her leg injury. With two hours left until the performance, Nicole decides to go to the hospital, putting her group’s performance up in the air.
Before the performance, Jamie King tells the dancers that they will be performing the numbers that the choreographers worked out for them, but at the end, each dancer will be given an entire eight-count in the spotlight to freestyle and show them what they’ve got.
Nicole finds out at the hospital that she has a muscle-tendon tear, which sounds very serious. She decides to drop out of the competition for health reasons. I feel for her. She really wants to keep going, but I don’t think that a muscle-tendon tear is something to take lightly.
At panel, Elizabeth Berkley introduces her co-judges, Vincent Paterson, Nancy O’Meara. Jamie King has also invited Scary Spice Mel B to be a second guest judge. Ooh! I love Mel – she’s so spunky!
The winning group performs first. In the middle of the performance, Jessica Feltman randomly runs off stage. She is quickly establishing herself as the crier of Step It Up and Dance. If she weren’t on the winning team, she would be going home today. Nancy wants Miguel to butch himself up. After some deliberation, the judges announce that James and Janelle Ginestra were the best two of the group, but the winner is Janelle. She now has immunity for next week’s challenge.
Now it is the losing group’s turn to perform. They perform to the same Spice Girls song, but with completely different choreo. It might be the video editing, but it looked to me to be more unified than the other group’s performance. Oscar just does like seven pirouettes in a row for his freestyle. Snore. Tovah Collins has a hard time the hip hop choreo, which elicits an incredulous, “You’re black!” from Mel B. The judges excuse Cody Green and Nick Drago. They are safe and they can join the others backstage. In the bottom three are Oscar, Adriana Falcon and Tovah. Oscar is safe, but he is told sternly that he must step it up. I feel that we will be hearing the term “step it up” A LOT over the course of these ten weeks. Perhaps we should start a drinking game? It is Thursday night, after all. The judges choose to eliminate Adriana. Her dance ends here.
-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of Bravo)