Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:May 28th, 2007 16:10 EST

AMERICAN IDOL - Why do we watch Dancing and Singing talent shows?

By Carolee Kaufold

There a thousands of young adults who can sing and dance. They wait in line, in the rain, in the heat and in the hope they will get picked to be on either of Fox's top rated talent shows Fox Broadcasting Company: So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol: Official FOX Site. They want to be the next Carrie Underwood, or Benji Schwimmer. Their friends and family encourage them to try out, some of them are real good and others ... well, then there are others. In the never-ending race of ratings, the producers of these shows focus more on the bad than the good in the first weeks. It is not really kind or funny, but they think it is. The good ones stand out and you remember what city they started out in as they carry out the accepting letter to go Hollywood and be in the finals. 

So in the interest of time, I skip to the last weeks of the finals, when it gets down to 12 contestants in each show. I root and rave about my favorite. I wanted to be a Broadway dancer, so dancing makes me smile. As far as a singer, that was never encouraged by my family, so I would never have to be profiled on the bad entries. Each week, each show spotlights different genres-- Hip Hop, Waltz and Free Style-- on So You Think You Can Dance. On AI, they have Bon Jovi, Blues, or Pop music. It gives the group of hopefuls a chance to show their range of talent. While one may be great at Hip Hop or the Blues, they don't do well at Waltz or Bon Jovi.

What the producers want is an overall talent that transcends all the genres. They want the American standard. The triple talent. One that can sing, dance and have that special something. The thing that makes them shine. The thing that makes us fall in love with them. Each season, as the final show arrives, the winners from previous years are brought back to show how they fared. Every now and then, there may be someone that fans forgot, but they get their moment in the sun again for 15 more minutes.

This week on AI, voters picked a new winner. With far more votes than in any American Presidential Election that I know of, over 70 millions viewers voted and Jordin Sparks won over Blake Lewis. Two very different singers appealing to different fans. In fact, the last 4 or 5 finalists will do well. Remember Clay Aiken or Chris Daughtry? 

ON SYTYCD, last years winner-- Benji Schwimmer-- is not so famous. But he was one heck of a dancer and very much liked by this old gal. Thursday, Fox starts a new season of the dancing show and I will be dancing along with it. But this show can not compare to ABC's Dancing with the Stars. The kids on So You Think You Can Dance have done nothing else but train to dance all their young lives. They eat, sleep and dream dance. They don't have famous friends to cheer them on. They rely of the extra job their parents take to afford dancing lessons. They stay after school to use the Gym. They use baby sitting money and after school jobs to buy their dance shoes.

Dancing and singing is a God given talent, so I stand up and cheer for each one that gets a chance to share that talent with the fans. Each final show brings me joy in seeing a young adult get a chance to make their dreams come true. We watch to see the kid next door make good. To see the pride in their families for all the hard work that brought them to this time and place. We watch because this is reality TV. Nice things happening to nice people. Not like a Jerry Springer show that rips people’s lives apart as the crowd cheers. I only cheer for winners and the talent shows are the ones to watch, for me.