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Friday, 19 February 2010

#SYTYCD So You Think You Can Dance: Did Charlie deserve to win?

The day after the So You Think You Can Dance final aired I was checking the site analytics for TooMuchFlavour. One of the search queries for the site was "did Charlie Bruce deserve to win?"

It's one of those questions everyone who opposes the public's decision tend to ask: "Okay, they gave us a winner, but let's look at the alternative," like "Should Susan Boyle have won, or Diversity?"
Okay, let's not go down that road...

The So You Think You Can dance final was an interesting one, in part due to the fact that Robbie suffered a dislocated shoulder putting him out of the competition for the final and slightly throwing proceedings off track as producers figured out how to cover Robbie's non-participation.

That left - and what a story for TooMuchFlavour - two hip hop dancers against a training dancer.
Technically (the dance term, not a superlative), in the critical eye of a dancer, Charlie wasn't the best choice.

Her 'storyline' in the series was the baby of the series. "I might be the young one, but I want to show everyone what I can do." Cue the emotional music and reflecting back on not getting West End auditions; how she wanted to be taken seriously.

Even Arlene, one of the judges was quoted saying to Charlie:
"You have just changed through the night and grown through the series. What you have done tonight is mega, honey, mega."

Lizzie's storyline was the shy individual but confident dancer. Tommy the lonely Swede with no family in England to root for him. Despite both of the programme storylines, Both Lizzie (click for biography) and Tommy (click for biography) have had successful and varied careers.

Come the night of the final, the judges had no choice in the final decision. All of the dancers pulled their fingers out. Tommy's solo was impeccable.

Yet despite the "you've grown" narrative, and Arlene's "that solo was one of your best, it wasn't necessarily your best" (WTF?!) comment, her solos have been consistently weak: show me one moment where she listened to the music in her solo routine:

This was a competition to find Britain's best dancer by testing them in all styles, yet Charlie hasn't left her comfort zone and tried anything new, limiting her repertoire to flexible leg lifts, no handed cartwheels and splits with the odd rump shape: disco dancing and gymnastics.

However, this was also a competition where voting where the public phone vote decides. Maybe the storylines worked in influencing people's choices. Maybe people could see Lizzie and Charlie's competencies and voted for the underdog?

Tommy Franzén's fan page on Facebook reported (rather, questioned) whether fans had encountered a busy tone when calling in to vote for him. Guess what? The BBC removed the comment.

Fair or unfair editing to create unbalanced storylines, rumours of phone line problems and fixing, or bad losers?

Either way, Charlie won the £100,000 prize and will be dancing in Hollywood. The other competitors will no doubt receive plenty of work offers.

The truth is despite her competencies in classical styles of dance, she'll need to up her game and expand her repertoire for the American version of the show - out there, home of studios like Millennium Dance, the competition is a lot higher.

We wish Charlie the best of luck in her future career, but for goodness sake, work on your musicality!

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