NBC’s World of Dance – Looking Forward to Season TWO, What Would YOU Fix?

It’s funny. I have a twitter search for World of Dance so every week I see people claiming it’s “rigged” or “fixed” or the “judges suck”.  It’s always fans of people or groups who were eliminated.  Is this what our society has come to: when things don’t go your way, it’s all fixed or rigged? I guess when you look at the White House…well, that mentality trickles down into everyone after a while, unless you keep your brain engaged and really THINK about the issues that surround the country. That mentality is VERY immature. But I’m not here to debate politics, only a silly dance show.  And the squeaky wheels on twitter are often mental midgets in any case. 😉

Is World of Dance “fixed”??  No, I don’t believe so – not in the real definition of that word in this context: meaning that when the show was cast, they already knew who the winner was going to be. THAT would be “fixed”. Is it produced and manipulated? Of course – it’s TELEVISION. If you go into watching a show like this and don’t expect some sort of manipulation then you’re just being naïve.  The editors and producers job is to make a TV show that people want to watch and for that there needs to be a bit of drama and suspense – they’ve learned that from other dance shows.  It has to be entertaining! And honestly, righteous indignation over your favorite being eliminated shows you CARED. That you’re invested. Mission accomplished.

Do the judges have favorites which may make them biased in one direction or another?? Probably. They’re human beings. That’s how human beings work. Don’t YOU have a favorite?  I have several. Otherwise, what the hell’s the point? People have favorites. Judges are people too. This is not hard to figure out.  Does one judge pick people she wants to work with in the future and score them better than others? Well, seems likely – but that’s all part of them being her “favorites”.  Is it crappy? Yep.  Of course. That’s why there are three of them.  To get your way, you have to be obvious – and take the heat. 😉

What makes a “great dance” is highly subjective. What I think is fantastic another person will think is just okay. The three main writers on this blog don’t always agree from one week to the next on which dances were the “best” or who should have gotten eliminated.  The judges can’t be any different. Derek said “There’s something about ballroom.”  Of course, that’s his main style. And because of that, he tends to score them TOUGHER than other acts, while he goes very easy on contemporary dancers. Ne-Yo seems to not care for the softer, lyrical dancers in a hip hop genre a lot of the time – like Ian Eastwood and SuperCr3w. He doesn’t seem to like when they break their own mold (Jabbawockeez too).  Jennifer isn’t as easy to figure out – I personally think the 90 she gave to Keone and Mari was massive underscoring to benefit Les Twins. They were her FAVORITE.  And that’s part of the game, like it or not.  Everyone wants their favorite to win. That doesn’t make the show “rigged” or “shady” or whatever. It means Jennifer wants her way. 🙂

And be honest with yourself – the acts that performed on this show were nearly all freakin’ amazing. I mean really – the best dancers in the world at the top of their games.  NOT EVERYONE CAN WIN. Someone HAS to go home every week.  The decisions are impossible from where I sit.  Even if every single one of my favorites had made it out of the duels, I would STILL be losing some in the cuts. And the Division finals. That’s the nature of the beast.

Is this show perfect? Of course not!!  There are quite a few things that I would fix…but I would absolutely renew the show for a second (third and fourth) season, provided that they can make the fixes. Hell, maybe even without the fixes.  This show fills a void – you see all kinds of dance by dancers at the very top of their game.  What are your other choices? “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars” – two shows that I also watch and one of which I blog about.  These two shows have far more issues that WoD dance does.  DWTS is probably the most highly manipulated reality show on TV besides the Bachelor and it’s far worse because people actually VOTE. To top it off, DWTS isn’t even GOOD at the manipulation anymore. 🙂  You can see the man behind the curtain all too often.  Each of these shows have their appeal – you get to watch (mostly) untrained celebs learn how to dance or you get to watch new young dancers try to excel at something they’ve been working on and love.  So, instead of incessant bitching and whining about a show that is attempting something new (and that had to get great ratings so it can continue to exist), how about enjoying it for what it is?  As much as people complain about how it’s working, do you honestly believe that Ian Eastwood or Kyle Van Newkirk or The Lab would give up a chance to appear on TV for a few weeks and gain a possibly massive audience and name recognition??  They would be foolish if they did.   I will just say: if you throw up your hands and say “I’m never watching again” because your favorite got voted out, you’re not a fan of dance.   Every act that has appeared on this show has been worthy of my attention. Some I like better than others, of course – but all were worthy of being there.

So, what would I fix?? Well, first off, NOT THE SCORING. That scoring system is the best on TV for a reality TV show and not just because I had a similar idea for scoring DWTS years ago. 🙂  It makes it as logical and fair as it can.  Do you honestly think that Carrie Ann Inaba holding up a ten because of a shirtless hunk is a BETTER option? 😀  Anyway, here’s what I would change, in no particular order:

  • The show has GOT to be longer than an hour. An hour with only 10 weeks and 45 acts?? Impossible and it guarantees heavy editing right up to the Division Finals. And that editing is pissing a lot of people off. I get it – it has to be done from a time stand point. There isn’t much fluff to cut – and remember, some fluff adds to the “tv factor” (plus, I think Jenna is a fantastic addition and I would hate to see less of her). But if the show goes to two hours, we get to see more of the dancing and more of the acts. Also, the editing can lend itself to people believing there is more funny business going on. Right or wrong.
  • I think at least the second half of the season has got to be live and not pre-recorded. Thanks to the schedules of the judges, I doubt that I will get my wish on this one, but I think it’s critical. Not only does a live show prevent the producers and editors from getting carried away and substantially changing how the show looks and what appears versus what actually happened, but it increases the confidence of the audience. It’s very hard to argue with the results of a live show. Or course, some will still try, but they will look foolish. 🙂
  • ALL unknown or little known acts. Jabbawockeez? Seriously? If you already have a Vegas show, you can’t be on this show. I would include Fik-shun and Les Twins in this but I don’t think they’re that well known – not to the average TV viewer.  I guess you can be Youtube famous and still be on the show – it certainly hasn’t helped people win DWTS.
  • If you had all unknown or little known acts, I would be open to using the same scoring from the judges but having it only count for half, like DWTS, and make the other half a viewer vote. That removes some of Jennifer’s power to underscore some (Keone and Mari) and overscore others (Les Twins) – which took away Ne-Yo’s and Derek’s say on who won that Division, IMO. That type of system would not only increase the ratings (audience participation is a big deal), but it increases the fairness. However…
  • If you allow audience participation you INCREASE the likelihood that the producers will get even more manipulative. There might be producers with an agenda who want some acts to stick around longer for reasons known only to them – see DWTS and SYTYCD. The way it stands now, the manipulation is lighter, to make good TV, and has NO impact on who wins.  Remember, the winner has already been determined by the time the show airs (and is edited), so they are not influencing the outcome. If the show were to include an audience vote, that would change. Their manipulation could get bigger and it could influence the outcome.  Am I willing to take that chance??  I think that maybe I am.  The question is: which is worse? A heavily edited, pre-recorded show where you question the agenda and results, or a partially live show, less heavily edited with an audience vote where you will still question agendas/manipulation/production but know the audience actually has something of a say in who wins?  I think I pick door number two, Monty.
  • How about adding a “save” of some sort at various points in the competition? I’m thinking mainly of Jennifer putting a NINE point difference between Les Twins and K/M the other night – ridiculous. Mind-boggling. Transparent.  If each judge had a save they could use up through the cuts…or even the duels…that might make it more interesting. Of course, to do that, they would also need a longer show.
  • How about adding a fourth judge – someone like one of Nappytabs, or Travis Wall or someone with true, current hip hop experience – a choreographer like Derek. Here’s my idea – if you add a fourth judge not only does it increase the points going into an average (thereby, cutting down on the impact of a JLo massive underscoring issue) but it increases the “experience” of the panel.
  • A slightly different option to the one above…add a fourth judge and throw out “outlier” scores. Majority rules. That is, if Ne-Yo gives K/M a 100, and Derek gives them a 96 or a 97, and judge three gives them a 95 and JLo still went in with a 90? Her score would get tossed. That would never fly…but it would keep everyone honest. 🙂 Might not be necessary with a fourth judge because four numbers going into an average means that one person has less of an impact.


So, what do you all think? What would you change?  Or is the show perfect…or need to be cancelled? Who would you hire as a fourth judge?