The Grand Finals of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) Malaysia Season 2 was held on August 1 2008 in Kuala Lumpur. The title of "Malaysia's Favourite Dancer" was won by C C (real name, Yong Ling Shi). Nicknamed "Sizzling C C" by her friends, she more than cooked up a storm when she was announced the winner! There was a barrage of comments regarding her victory on the internet soon after the show. Many were of the opinion that she did not deserve to win and that any one of the other 3 competitors namely Black, Sim or Hong were more worthy contenders for the crown.
SYTYCD Malaysia is a spinoff version of the American SYTYCD television reality show and which was a big hit there in America. The preliminaries for SYTYCD Malaysia Season 2 started in May 2008 with auditions in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. More than 1000 hopefuls attended the auditions, and eventually 20 (10 guys and 10 girls) were selected by the panel of judges comprising of Ramli Ibrahim, Pat Ibrahim and Judimar Hernandez to compete in the the Top 20 finals.
During each episode starting from the Top 20, the competitors had to dance with a partner, and two (one guy and one girl) of the weakest or least popular dancers were eliminated until the Top 4 were chosen for the Grand Finals. The competitors got to dance with their same partners and had to change partners twice during the competition; once when they were in the Top 10, and during the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals, both the guys also had to dance with each other and likewise for the girls. All the grand finalists were also required to perform a group dance as well as dance solo.
The dances that were performed this season included hip hop, contemporary, jazz, broadway, salsa, mambo, conga, rock 'n' roll and argentine tango. The ballroom dances selected were the waltz and the Viennese waltz whilst for the latin they were the cha cha cha, samba and paso doble. Many of the performances were actually a fusion of two different genres as for example the Viennese waltz would be danced together with a contemporary number and which sometimes posed a problem for the dancers. I was disappointed that bubbly and energetic dances like the quickstep and jive were not performed by the competitors here unlike in SYTYCD America where these dances are such a joy to watch.
During each episode, the competitors were judged by a permanent panel of judges consisting of the threesome of Ramli, Pat and Judimar. A guest judge was also invited to sit in during each episode. Among the guest judges invited were well known choreographers like Yannus Sufandi and Manuela Oliviera. One excitable guest judge, Aida Redza brought much excitement during one episode with her unbridled enthusiasm and exuberance. Of all the judges, I find Ramli Ibrahim to be the most objective, candid and professional in his critique of the dancers and their performances. Trained in ballet, contemporary and Indian classical dances, Ramli is renowned for his Odissi and Bharata Natyam performances.
Ramli had a way with words and could use poetic language to describe the dancers and their performances. In one episode he remarked that the dancer captured the moment and in another, he compared one dancer to the late Hong Kong diva Anita Mui! Not one to mince his words, he could be very frank and call a spade a spade. In one episode, he called the performance of the Viennese waltz "a total flop". During the auditions, one dancer fumbled on stage and was struggling with her dance. When asked by Ramli what her problem was, she replied that she had trouble memorizing her dance steps. Ramli retorted by saying that "Dancing is not to be memorized, it is to be done!" His sermon was so philosophical; almost Zen-like. Ramli certainly knew the Tao of Dancing!
Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance Malaysia has finally come to an end. Let us pray that the next season of So You Think You Can Dance Malaysia will be more entertaining with more exciting genres of dances instead of the usual hip hop and contemporary. I also hope that Ramli Ibrahim will once again be in the panel of judges next year. In the meantime it is my fervent wish that 8TV will broadcast the latest season of So You Think You Can Dance America. I am becoming addicted to this television dance reality show!
Best Wishes As Always,