Sunday, May 25, 2008

So You Think You Can “Dance” Highlights…

And by highlight I mean:

My favorite show (yes, it’s official now, this is my favorite show) started up again last Thursday, and even though I totally forgot about it and had to catch it the next day on YouTube, which kind of took some of the magic out of it, I’m ready to let it take over my entire life. In fact, I go willingly.

One thing this show does better than all the rest is introduce us to the contestants. I don’t know if it’s Cat Deeley’s superior interviewing skills or what, but I feel more connected to the people trying out, whether they’re good or bad, which makes the viewing so much more satisfying. I’m usually overwhelmed and exhausted after the American Idol auditions, not only because they spend too much time highlighting the atrocious people, but also because the little time they do spend with the good singers seems shallow and one-dimensional. I don’t expect perfection… after all, these shows have to edit an entire two days’ worth of auditions into two hours (more or less), but all I’m saying is this show seems to do it better.

There were many memorable characters on the premiere episode, but one in particular really touched me. Meet Jonathan Anzalone, a 21 year old “professional dancer” from Italy.

Well, obviously, he’s hot as hell. But he isn’t just a pretty face. In his brief, yet undeniably sexy, audition segment, he scandalizes Cat Deeley, teaches us important life lessons, takes off all his clothes, puts them back on again, does a bad Michael Jackson impression, forces Mia Michaels to humiliate herself, pisses off Nigel Lythgoe, and flirts rather aggressively with the camera crew. Indeed, he had a busy day.

Judging by the reactions on the blogs Friday morning, Signor Anzalone certainly made quite an impression. The consensus seemed to be, and I’m paraphrasing, “He is soooo hot. But also… jackass.” While he did come off as rather, shall we say, cocky (no Mia, that is not a Freudian slip), I think he’s being judged unfairly. There’s an old saying that goes, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and I think it applies here… except it would go more like, “Don’t judge an Italian Stallion by his very pronounced bulge.” In that spirit, let’s examine his misadventures to understand him a little better.

The very moment the camera finds him, he pulls out this little number from his bag of tricks.

So, we already know he’s very flexible, although… I’m not sure that’s a dance move as much as it is porn. And even though his leg is awkwardly twisted around his head, and he looks very uncomfortable… it’s kind of hot. I can’t lie about that.

Moving indoors, Cat Deeley corners him on the staircase to ask him how American men are different from Italian men. Since the question was stupid, Jonathan gives the stupid answer, “we’re hairy,” even though he proves the statement false. Cat Deeley, observant as ever, points out Jonathan’s immaculately shaved chest, which is gorgeous, by the way, to which Jonathan responds, “Oh, you noticed.” Of course, it’s impossible not to notice his chest, considering his shirt is conspicuously (deliberately) unbuttoned. I’m not sure why Cat Deeley walked right into that set-up so blindly, unless the whole thing was scripted (which it very well may have been), but the whole exchange is indicative of whom we are dealing.

In between various shots of Jonathan hip-thrusting and posturing around the building, he tells us (sexily) that, “(he) likes (him)self, and (he) likes to show that to people.” All of this we know, but that won’t stop him from showing us again and again and again.

He shows us his abs in the lobby.

He shows us his (CENSORED) in the warm-up room.

He shows us his delicious pelvic bone area backstage.

Basically, he shows us just about everything… except any dancing abilities. He doesn’t want to waste our time. That crap is reserved for the judges.

Before going into the audition, Cat Deeley finds Jonathan more reserved and quiet, and he explains that his reticence can be attributed to the fact that he’s, “thinking about something else.” Cat Deeley, still stumbling blindly into his traps, presses him further, “what are thinking about?” He reiterates, whilst looking deep into her eyes, that, “he’s thinking about something else.” After a pause, in which we can only assume that Cat Deeley finally gets it, and then fumbles in her pocket for her rape whistle, asks him, “Are you being very Italian at this precise moment?” Jonathan, not to be swayed by hurtful stereotypes, quickly responds, “no,” because being creepy, aggressive, and inappropriate on television isn’t a trait reserved solely for Italians, which everyone knows thanks to shows like The Real World. Remember when I praised Cat Deeley for her superior interviewing skills? Well, I take it back. But not for long… I’m sure it’s hard for her to concentrate while Jonathan molests her with his eyes.

As he makes his way into his audition, he leaves Cat Deeley with one more quick look at his abs and some friendly advice on how to work off the raging lust within her after sitting next to him for 10 minutes. Cat Deeley’s only response is…

I think she speaks for us all.

In the audition, he’s spectacularly bad, but in such a hot way. He even does the whole lick-the-fingertips-touch-the-nipple move, which is just so very Showgirls and… well, I’m turned on.

The judges are confused, bemused, and amused, all at the same time, but they still can’t manage to turn away.

That’s called being dickmatized, and clearly, Jonathan has the power. To be fair, Jonathan does have some moves, well… he has one, which he performs only after removing his shirt.

Afterwards, Nigel asks Mia if she thinks Jonathan will be successful as a dancer in America, and Mia, all full of serious, says, “No, I don’t think he’ll be sex… sucsex… SEX!” and the whole auditorium goes wild, because she just said what everyone was thinking.

"Yeah, you TOTALLY said it!"

Nigel feels badly for the confused-looking Jonathan, so he takes a moment to explain the ‘Freudian slip’ to our sexy friend while Mia tries to pull herself together. Eventually she does, no thanks to Mary Murphy, who is doing her usual bansheeing and crazed cackling (oh, how I missed it), and she tells him that he won’t be successful because his technique isn’t quite up to par. Of course, Jonathan isn’t really interested in what she has to say, having already achieved his goal of dazzling her with his sexy, but he accepts her criticism with good humor and a killer smile, probably because he doesn’t really understand what she’s saying anyway. Mary continues by saying that the dancing was weak indeed. There was nothing about his performance that would make people want to get on the phone for him. Then she checks herself to admit that there might be some people out there who would get on the phone for him on account of how epically sexy he is, and even though we can’t see it, I’m sure there are about 20 people raising their hands in the audience to back her up on that one. But mentioning his incredibly good looks is really the perfect thing to do because it’s equal parts criticism and compliment, very much like Paula Abdul telling someone how good they look tonight.

So after two negative reviews, Jonathan assumes he has been rejected and dismissed and turns to leave the stage, but Nigel stops him angrily because NIGEL ALWAYS HAS HIS SAY! Jonathan tries to defend his behavior by claiming that if two judges have already said no than he’s done, but what I think is happening is Nigel has no boobs or estrogen and is therefore immune to Jonathan’s powers, which means Jonathan has no desire to deal with him. Nigel berates Jonathan for assuming anything at all (especially the estrogen part), praises his psychotic level of self-confidence, and invites him back for the choreography round. Mary agrees, and so does Mia, but only to a point, because she says that she would be reluctant to work with him because he’s a nightmare, which in her world means ‘so unbelievably hot that it’s impossible to concentrate.’ I think Cat Deeley would agree.

Later on in the choreography round, we watch as Jonathan totally botches the routine by completely ignoring his partner until the poor girl is forced to improvise by throwing herself crotch-first onto his muscular, rippling body, which Mary explains is totally understandable, which is funny because it’s true.

You can’t blame her.

After the judges let him down easy (and I’ll admit now that I was really disappointed), the camera crew follows him into the street. Jonathan, undeterred by his previous rejection, invites (nay, begs) the camera crew to come home with him. Even though the crew was probably very tempted, because GOD who wouldn’t be, we watch Jonathan’s high, tight ass disappear into the hot L.A. night.

So what do we think? When I watched the show on Friday, my opinion on Jonathan was much like everyone else’s. He’s unquestionably gorgeous, but also smug, arrogant, kind of smarmy, and really full of himself. But after watching the clip a few (hundred) more times, I found my impression changing.

Here’s my theory, and I think this will clear a lot of things up… I’m pretty sure he was trying out for a different show. Hear me out. Point 1: He’s Italian, so English is obviously his second language, right? Point 2: the word “dance” is kind of broad. It can mean all sorts of things, and all different kinds of dancers call themselves dancers even if they are working in completely different industries (think: exotic dancers). Conclusion: I think Jonathan thought he was trying out to be a stripper. Ok, ok… that’s probably a giant leap. I mean, he had to have at least seen the other people trying out and figured they weren’t all strippers. And I would hope he talked to some people and asked about the show. But after watching the video with my theory in mind, I’m convinced he thought the show was So You Think You Can Strip, and in that light, he comes across perfectly, like he was made for the role. From the aggressive flirting with every female, to the outrageous displays of his body and his ego, to the moves he chose to audition with, to the way he had eye-sex with the camera… I mean, IT ALL FITS!!!

Or not. But, you know, I just can’t make myself dislike the guy. And it isn’t just because he’s the hottest guy I’ve seen on T.V. in a very long time. He IS very arrogant, but... umm… if you looked like that, wouldn’t you be? I’m not one to sympathize with pretty people often, especially when they use their looks to get anything they want, but I can understand how pretty people are often judged prematurely and how frustrating that can be. It’s clear from watching the video that he knows he’s an incredible specimen, but there’s a pandering way about him, a desperation, that makes me think he might be… I don’t know… lonely? Alright, I’ll stop reading into things, but don’t you think it’s possible, now, after reading all of this, that his whole segment might have been a giant misunderstanding? Decide for yourself: the video of the whole affair is after the jump.

Well, I hope for his sake that one day there IS a show called So You Think You Can Strip, because, honey… straight through to Vegas.


Erin G said...

THIS is your favorite show? I love it, too, and I do take partial credit for getting you interested last year.... but this is NOT better than the antics of Marc, Amanda, Betty, and WilhaMEANer. Heretic!

I didn't love Jonathan the way you did, and I'm kind of glad I don't have to watch him anymore. There will be other hotties who are far less obnoxious.

Reeva*Dubois said...

OMG SORRY! You're right - I should have been more specific. This is my favorite "un-scripted" show. Phew... I don't want to be burned at the stake - thanks for calling me out!

Of course you didn't like him. You're not as shallow as a kiddie pool like me. You have standards! ;-)

emegrande said...

Hi from Spain!
First of all, sorry for my english, but I think I've got some information you should find interesting. Jonathan now is in Spain, he had been participating in a Talent Show called "Fama" (Like Fame in english) wich finishes on sunday, and he is doing really good perfomancers as a dancer. This talent show offers dancers lessons to twenty learning dancers who lives in a school during 4 month working in pairs. You must look for it. The TV show is called "Fama a Bailar" the third edition. ;-)

Anonymous said...

FYI, last night Jonathan Anzalone actually won "Fama a Bailar!" in Spain. The most controversial of all the contestants to have passed through the program (and the least liked by the majority of his fellow contestants, though loved by the audience), Jonathan has evolved tremendously as a dancer, evoking Gene Kelly in his movements. As a dancer he has demonstrated rapid assimilation of dance steps, lovely footwork, tremendous elasticity, full control of his core muscles, strength and style. Anzalone was such a diamond in the rough and "So You Think You Can Dance" was unable or unwilling to polish him. In "Fama a Bailar!", in addition to a new language (Spanish), Jonathan has also acquired discipline, tolerance and interpersonal social skills. The sensuality and stage presence that he emanates can be intimidating, but his sheer genius is unquestionable. Anzalone is a real stage animal and a bright future awaits this young fighter.