When 40’s Sound Meets Modern Street Dancing

A big confession here: in spite of all the time I often spend ridiculing shows like American Idol, there’s one show in that vein that I’ve taken a real shine to in the past couple of years, and that’s Britain’s Got Talent. For me, it’s set apart from many of its kin by the sheer variety of acts (impressionists, ventriloquists, mimes, dancers, singers, magicians, comedians, and often many of those things rolled into one) that not only enter the competition but frequently do quite well. It puts me in mind of the vaudeville shows of the early 20th century, and the variety shows inspired by vaudeville that inhabited radio and television for many decades after that. Plus, anything hosted by Ant and Dec is always funny and entertaining.

I’ve been trying to watch clips of the current series, going on as we speak, on youtube, and I discovered a real gem of dance performance that I have to pass on to those of my friends who like that kind of thing. I’m not usually much for dance acts but this one was tailor-made for me: three guys in retro attire dancing to soundtracks from the 30s and 40s. And not for the novelty of it either; they clearly understand the entertainment sensiblities of that era. I think this is the kind of act that would have been wildly successful back in those days if people had conceived of the idea of athletic dancing as an art form at the time.

Anyway, their audition, in the video above, was very well received, and I just finished watching their semifinal performance, seen below.

I was dismayed to discover that the judges somehow thought the second performance was a letdown. I can’t fathom why. I really was quite crazy about it (and besides, how could an act called “Two and a Half Men” not be “winning”?) So I’m sharing it here to help dissipate some of my frustration on their behalf. I hope the exposure will help them find and book some exciting gigs at some throwback jazz clubs in the future.

As for Britain’s Got Talent this season, since the magicians (who weren’t THAT good) got sent home, I guess I’ll have to throw my support behind the impressionist. Brits love impressions of other Brits, in my experience.


Oh, and side note: I have GOT to get myself some suspenders.


About Colin West
Colin West is a graduate student in quantum information theory, working at the Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University. Originally from Colorado (where he attended college), his interests outside of physics include politics, paper-folding, puzzles, playing-cards, and apparently, plosives.

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