Elizabethberkley_stepitupanddance_2 I’m a big supporter of Bravo reality shows. Hell, I even liked Shear Genius and tolerated the yawn-inducing Top Design. So when I heard about Step It Up & Dance, I decided to overlook the horribly clunky title and check it out.

My verdict? Eh. Not bad, but I’m waiting to be wowed. Meanwhile, you can enjoy my spoilers.

OMG! It’s Elizabeth Berkley of Showgirls fame. Will she always conduct her hosting duties sideways to better accentuate her svelte figure? (Okay, forget the title. This is the cheesiest theme song ever … after the Paradise Hotel 2 one.)

The 12 dancers converge in a Downtown LA dance studio where at least two of them (yeah, they’re gay men) are besides themselves when La Liz enters. Michael even does the signature Showgirls hand gesture, which she returns. Okay, points for that. She may be cooler than I think. Oh, and Tony-winner/mentor Jerry Mitchell is also there.

Is it just me, are do most of these people look way older than they are? I mean, they’re obviously fit, but even 18-year-old Janelle looks like she’s in her 20s. And don’t get me started on Mochi (30), Adriana (25) and Miguel (24?!?). Why would dancing take a toll on their faces?

Nicole After the "get to know you" phase, the dancers get treated to a night on the town. Okay … has none of them watched a reality show? They must ALWAYS be on. Sure enough, after dancing freestyle at a club where Nicole shows off her go-go dancer moves and Oscar *gasp* takes off his shirt, the background extras leave and they face choreographer Jamie King (not to be confused with the actress formerly known as James King).

Audition – They must dance on command, switching their dance style whenever the music switches to a new genre. It’s pretty amusing, if somewhat embarrassing. King splits them up into two groups: the winners and the losers, aka the elimination group because one of them will go home. Each group has to learn a separate routine from choreographers Nick Florez and RJ Durell to the Spice Girls’ "Spice up Your Life," Miguel’s favorite SG’s song ever. I had forgotten that song. Maybe I never knew it.

Meanwhile, the go-golicious Nicole has been feeling crappy since the previous night because of a bad footwear decision. It’s even worse now, and after going to the hospital, discovers it’s a muscle tendon tear. Sadly, she’s out, done in by fashion. But hey, there’s still an exciting elimination ahead.

As an added twist, each of the dancers have to do a freestyle that best expresses them to two eight-counts at the end of the routine. Miguel isn’t happy. I don’t get it. Isn’t a dancer supposed to enjoy expressing themselves?

Cody Finally, it’s performance time, and I think the losers’ routine is the better of the two. Nick and Cody have no reason to be in the group. I hate to say this, but true to form with many Bravo shows, the women are lackluster.

Performance Breakdown:

The Winning Group

Jessica – The poor girl ran out in the middle of the performance! If I were Miguel, I’d bitch slap her. I mean, she’s cute and willowy, but I have serious reservations about her ability to handle stress. She’s always crying, even when she’s happy. And for that, I hope they keep her around a while.
Mochi & Janelle – I agree with the highly annoying judge/choreographer Vincent Paterson. They’re both dancing like angry men. They’re about the sass, and less about the spirit and energy.
Michael – He makes no impression on me. That’s not really good.
Miguel – Okay, he and James being the Plastics from Mean Girls is just annoying. His ability to irk me carries over into his dancing. He does have the first best line of the night though when judge/choreographer Nancy O’Meara says he needs to butch up his dance. "Did I look like a f*g on stage?"
James – Actually, I dig his style. It was cool and unique, and I thought he should have won.

The Losers

Cody – Yeah, he’s a star, but was there any doubt, considering his experience? Lovely extension. If he doesn’t make any big mistakes, he should get to the finals.
Nick – Because he always looks AND sounds like he’s making a joke, I like him. Add to it that he’s a pretty snappy dancer, and he’s my favorite so far. I could do without the neckbeard though.
Oscar – Eh. I agree with the judges. He was soft.
Adriana & Tovah – I thought both of them were a mess and fell behind. When Tovah tries to say that she’s bad at hip-hop because she’s more ballet, she prompts the second best line of the night from guest judge Mel B.: "You’re black! Come on. What are you talking about?" And let’s not forget that Mel herself learned a new dance style on Dancing With the Stars.

Adriana_3 In the end, the judges say "step it up" way too many times, Janelle wins (when it should have been James), and Adriana gets the well-deserved boot. Thankfully, we are not subjected to a last dance.

Who do you love? Who do you hate? What dance styles do you want featured?

Posted by:Hanh Nguyen