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Dance War: Audition Show (season premiere)

by Kristin Sample, posted Jan 8th 2008 8:41AM
Dance War: Bruno and Carrie Ann(S01E01) So, thank goodness there is only going to be one audition show for Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann. On American Idol, the audition shows are usually the most entertaining to watch. In fact, I lose interest once those auditions are over until Idol reveals the finalists. But Dance War's auditions were just plain awful. The singing wasn't as good as American Idol and the dancing wasn't as good as So You Think You Can Dance. Is it really too much to ask for performers who can both sing and dance? Perhaps those people are already employed at real jobs on Broadway.

After the jump, I will go over some of the highlights from the auditions. I use the word "highlights" loosely here. Bruno, Carrie Ann and host Drew Lachey combed three cities in search of performers for the live shows: New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville. I'll also review the first performance from the lucky fourteen finalists.

Just a warning: my review is long but it was a two-hour premiere. I promise it will be shorter next week. Please leave your comments about the show or any of the contestants. I am interested to hear what you thought of Dance War.

In New York, we met Quandrell from Buffalo, NY whose mother was in the audience. He sang "My Girl" and did some interesting freestyle moves. However, Bruno and Carrie Ann thought he didn't have enough control (of both his voice and his body) or discipline to bring him to the final fourteen. Carrie Ann even cried when she broke the news to him. Watch it, Paula Abdul.

Another person who did well in the auditions but didn't make the finals was Anthony from North Carolina. He sang "Suddenly I See" (his own unusual stylized version that Bruno and Carrie Ann seemed to enjoy). Then he danced for them. Let's just clarify something right now. Throwing tricks is not dancing. Doing flips and back handsprings and aerials are all gymnastics. Sorry for the rant, I just hate when people try out for these dance shows and all they do is flip around. Anthony did dance a little but doing multiple fouette turns is not that impressive. (Note: Anyone who's watched an episode of So You Think You Can Dance has seen fouette turns. It's when a dancer turns multiple times on one leg and uses the other leg and his / her arms to propel himself / herself around.)

And then there was the hapless Ashley from Boston. Ashley sang very well. However she did combine two songs, "My Love" and "Baby Love." This would have been fine except I'm not convinced that Ashley knew that they were in fact two separate songs. Ashley's dancing was atrocious. I was dumbfounded as to how she even got called back for a solo when the first part of the audition was dancing.

In Los Angeles, we saw Shar from Washington, D.C. who sang okay and did some weird combination of breaking and lyrical dance. Then there was Kasey from California whose dancing was absolute crap. Bruno and Carrie Ann liked her voice but I thought she sounded like Minnie Mouse. Sorry, Kasey. But who cares about her anyway because she didn't even make the call-backs.

The pickings were so slim in L.A. that Dance War even had a short segment dedicated to the weather replete with "Singin' in the Rain" playing in the background. But all was not lost because in Los Angeles, Bruno and Carrie Ann found Zach, the student from Utah. His singing and dancing were both good and he wasn't too hard on the eyes either. I was not surprised at all when he made the show.

We also met Elizabeth from California and Angela from North Carolina at the Los Angeles auditions. The latter didn't make the final fourteen because she couldn't sing if her life depended on it. I didn't think her dancing was that hot either. She looked like a crazy cavewoman cavorting around the stage. She was, however, the most endearing and funny of all the contestants. And Carrie Ann was right--Angela's voice had really improved from the first audition. The former could sing quite well but didn't do much dancing (unless doing sexy walks around the stage counts). Elizabeth did make the final fourteen so I'll be interested to see how much her dancing improves.

In Nashville, three friends from Louisiana did solos for Bruno and Carrie Ann and all three were mediocre, especially that last one, Mary Alice, who sang "Knocking on Heaven's Door." She didn't make it to the thirty semifinalists but her other two friends did. Aww. Wait, no, why would I feel bad for a person who can't carry a tune but insists on singing such a difficult song?

Nashville did produce a few hopefuls though. There was Charity from Antioch, TN who could clearly sing and dance quite well. Lacey from Jackson, MS also performed great and had real stage presence. Like Zach, I was not surprised that Lacey made the final fourteen. For the boys, there was Maxx who reminded me of a Garbage Pail kid (remember those?) and who sang like Michael Jackson according to Carrie Ann and Bruno. His dancing was pretty good too. But, I am so over fouette turns and if you are going to them, point your working foot and straighten your standing knee. I might get arthritis just from watching that guy turn.

The performance of the thirty semifinalists to "Dance to the Music" was a total joke (except for Lacey and Zach). Do you think that Simon Cowell would stand for that crap? I hope someone interviews Simon about this show. I would love to hear his thoughts.

At the end of the show, the final fourteen performed "Let's Get Loud" which had its strong moments but wasn't amazing. One totally awesome thing did happen though. I think it was Kasey (not sure) who did a back handspring in high heels (well, ballroom shoes, but still). I know I said I didn't like the tricks but she did it in heels. I have to give kudos for that!

Final Thoughts about Dance War:

  • Bruno Tonioli is a complete headcase. I loved how he talked during people's auditions. He's no Simon Cowell or Nigel Lithgoe but I think he will bring his own brand of crazy to Dance War.
  • I wish that Bruno and Carrie Ann were real rivals and actually despised each other. That would be awesome. On Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra, you could tell that Matt Hughes and Matt Serra really disliked each other. Maybe ABC will just replace Bruno and Carrie Ann with Matt Hughes and Matt Serra (no, that would be silly...or would it?).
  • Did you think that Carrie Ann was too nice to the contestants in the initial auditions? I didn't like how she consoled that girl Sasha who sang Amazing Grace (and probably killed some small helpless animal doing it).
  • What was with the laugh track throughout the auditions in the first half of the show?
  • Lastly (I promise), I didn't like how when the contestants danced, Dance War just played some random song. I would have rather heard whatever song was really being played while they were dancing. I doubt that that many people picked "Burn Baby Burn" or "La Vida Loca" for their audition.
What did you think of Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann?
I loved it.112 (40.0%)
I don't know yet.108 (38.6%)
I hated it.60 (21.4%)

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It truly is ashame that Bruno is so caustic and rude. I have done a checking with many friends and they agree Bruno is the loser and is the cause of his not getting votes. It so sad that because of his actions some very talented people are leaving the show because of Bruno's lack of talent

February 05 2008 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jamie wilson

it is jan. 28 and i began calling after dance wars ended and i cannot get thru on brunos line to vote. it is 9:30 pm eastern time and it is still telling me it is to early although carrie anns line is working perfectly. whats going on?

January 28 2008 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Maryann Miller

The show is a big disappointment. It's supposed to be a Dance war. They picked singers who can move well, instead of dancers who can sing. Its on the same level as a good dance school's intemediate dance team(not even close to the advance level). They should check out the national dance competitions, those high school dancers would blow the show's competitors out of the water.

January 27 2008 at 8:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These comments go to show everyone is a critic... oh, wait, no they don't! A real critic would gather more than 20 minutes, or even one or two episodes, of exposure before casting stones. That's right. What this really goes to show is how incredibly shallow we can be. Coupled with trigger-happy judgments, and a level of perfectionism we DEMAND RIGHT THIS INSTANT, I'm simply astounded... in a reality-check-needed sort of way.

With that out of the way:
The show's premiere may have got off to a rough start, but the potential is obvious, in my opinion. The point of the show is not to bring in professional, Hollywood-hardened dancer-singer superhumans. It is an experiment on human potential -- the cocktail of hard work, raw innate talent, and determination that results in... question mark.

I'm going to give the show a chance. I've already been entertained, and I doubt it could go too far down hill from here.

January 25 2008 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, I'm disappointed..... I watched the premier and really thought I'd love watching the full series.... BUT....after watching the second installment for a WHOLE 20 minutes, I couldn't take it anymore! Whoever is in charge of the audio track should be tarred and feathered! ALL I can hear is the screaming audience...no music...no vocals...just screaming! I know they're singing...I can see their mouths move...and I assume they're dancing to music, that's the wsay it usually works..... but I can't actually prove it.

Sorry, guys...... I'm off to another channel! Bye!

January 14 2008 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
karole riippa

I got through 35 minutes which was more than enough to know that I wouldn't waste another second on this appalling mess. And who decided to let that poor girl who sang Amazing Grace torture the audience and humiliate herself. Apparently the creative people think that's entertainment. No, folks, it isn't.

January 09 2008 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gray Miller

Yeah, these two-hour premieres do make for long reviews, don't they? Mine's at http://www.fameorfamine.com . I agree with most of your points, though one thing in particular I disagree with: the fouette turns. Yes, doing them the way we saw them on Dancing With The Stars is not that hard for a trained dancer...wearing dance shoes on a dance floor. The ones Anthony did were in bare feet on dance marley. That is really hard on the skin, I can tell you from experience. The boy must have callouses from hell.

Also, I think that I'm not as bothered by the lack of talent as I would be in something like Dancing with the Stars. They aren't billing this as "the greatest performer" - they're billing this as the contest to see who between Bruno and Carrie Ann can build and train the best group. I will give the two of them enough benefit of the doubt that they saw something in the people they picked that they thought they could work with. Though, as I wrote, giving up Quandrell was a huge missed opportunity.

January 09 2008 at 9:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would like to know how I can see pictures of all of the dancers that tried out. I know that some reality shows post the pictures and they are available on the internet. I've gone through about 10 links already trying to find the pictures of the dancers. I don't want Carri Ann and Bruno pics, enough of those! lol

January 09 2008 at 2:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wasn't sure if I would like it, especially being a die-hard fan of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," but I actually enjoyed it.

I agree that Zack (who, coincidentally, is Julianne Hough's ex-fiance) and Lacey were, without question, two of the very best. I also like Chris and Mariel. They're my top 4 so far.

January 09 2008 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's right. They kept saying they wanted singers that could dance and dancers that could sing. They even commented about that girl Monica and said she had the whole package, but she didn't make the final 14. What's up with that? I thought this was a talent show.

January 09 2008 at 12:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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