While there must be many, many Justin Bieber fans in the world (apparently 52 million of them, judging from his Twitter feed), it seemed that just as many haters popped up when when it was announced that the singer would be appearing on the first four episodes of "So You Think You Can Dance." Dance fans were upset that Bieber would be taking away the spotlight from hardworking, under-appreciated dancers. I'm sure someone, somewhere started an online petition. Toe and tap shoes were surely tossed.
Ultimately, it turns out that Bieber didn't steal too much of the spotlight from anyone. When the show debuted on Wednesday night, the segment featuring Bieber and his choreographer Nick DeMoura was a whopping four minutes.
Oh, and he showed up for another few seconds at the end of the show to say "this is where the voting stands now." So, let's round it up to four minutes and five seconds or so.
Bieber wasn't even in all four of those minutes, as he and DeMoura simply introduced two dance crews, who then appeared in pre-recorded segments. I'm sure fans will be upset at the show (and by extension, FOX) for burying the part they'd been waiting for an hour and twenty minutes into the program (while slapping convenient COMING SOON text on the screen so they didn't tune out). But, if four minutes is worth it, they can look forward to three more weeks that probably will be just like this one (and it doesn't seem like a huge leap to think he'll be on the finale, when the winning dance crew performs).
Dance fans may not be thrilled about this addition to the show, but maybe they should be. Whether or not you like Bieber, he bring an audience with him -- and "So You Think You Can Dance" needs the help.
As judge/executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told the Toronto Sun earlier this week, “It’s desperate times almost for all of the broadcasters with the web coming so strongly through and the cable guys coming through...It’s tough times all around. So we are just going to have to do really well [in the ratings]. But like most shows, we’ve been losing viewers and the viewing figures have been going down. I would certainly like to bolster them up, if not keep them the same as last year.”
What distinguishes "So You Think You Can Dance" from other competition shows is that it really is about the dance -- while celebrity judges pop in here and there, the show mostly tries to keep the focus on giving talented people a chance to do what they love.
Bieber's inclusion in the show may seem like a step away from that focus, but not really. The segment was basically the length of a commercial break, and it wasn't about Bieber dancing on the stage or singing his latest single (that's more of a "Dancing with the Stars" move anyway). Bieber knows something about dance, anyway, and the popping, locking and hip hop styling you usually see in dance crews is right up his alley. Not that he's voting on this mini-competition anyway -- that's up to voters at home. The only thing that's at stake is a chance to perform on the show. It's one step up from bragging rights and a six pack.
If Bieber's fans give the show a ratings uptick, there's really no downside -- his fans (and lots of other people) get the chance to see dance (and now a few dance crews, which usually only pop up far later in the season for "special appearances" to fill out the show as people are sent home) and that could buy "So You Think You Can Dance" a little more time on the FOX roster. Plus, tonight we saw a tap dancing, all-female dance crew -- Chloe Arnold's Synopated Ladies -- and Poreotics' popping and robotics. Nothing wrong with that.
It may not make you a true Belieber, but hey, if it really bugs you, fast forward and remember, it's all about the ratings.
Do you think Justin Bieber is a good addition to the show or a bad one?