Harold Van Buuren - the Only Superstar of Dance on the Show

I tuned into Superstars of Dance to watch LordoftheDance's Michael Flatley and his "brogue" -- you know he was born in Chicago, right? -- fawn over the dancers. But I stayed for my new favorite mean judge of all time, Harold Wayne Van Buuren, of South Africa.

Sorry, Simon, there's a new truth teller in town, and he has fierce stenciled-on facial hair.

Like American Idol, most of the Superstars of Dance contestants were middling talent exhibitionists, as excited to be on TV as to dance. Big Yawn, unless you're into marveling at the display of expert-level hair removal dancers endure. No follicle left behind!

The real fun of Superstars of Dance was watching the judges -- all except for HVB -- succumb to peer pressure and feel-good score giving.

For those of you who didn't watch, here's quick primer on how the "contest" worked:

Dance teams from eight countries -- Argentina, India, Ireland, China, Australia, Russia, U.S. and South Africa -- competed in group, duet and solo categories

  • After each performances, seven out of the eight judges gave a score from 1 to 10
  • The judge from the dancers' country didn't get to vote
  • The judges said their scores out loud, in front of everyone, so practically every competitor received the "don't hate me 8"
  • In a hybrid role of Paula Abdul/Ryan Seacrest was Michael Flatley, who stood with the contestants while they got judged, and consoled them with his love. Mr. Shoes of Flame seemed to especially enjoy consoling the women.
  • The judges were hilarious, stereotypical representatives of their countries:
    • Haughty Tango Queen Argentinian
    • Affable Bollywood Indian
    • Slutty Modern Dance Australian
    • Vanilla Trust Fund American
    • Silver-tongued Joker Irishman
    • Mr. Big Emotions Russian
    • And a Saffron Robe Wearing, Silent, Chinese Monk -- seriously, in all of China they couldn't find one dance judge who spoke English?!
      The only judge who trumped his nationality stereotype was South Africa's Highly Critical Dance Diva, Harold Van Buuren. Of course, I'm not even sure what his stereotype would be -- Racial Segregation Demanding South African? -- so maybe he's a self-made man out of necessity.

HVB has a dazzling personal aesthetic that harks back to the dramatic days when Jermaine Stewart ruled the dance floor. Flatironed hair, what appears to be a large chin piercing, and a bold hand with the cosmetics.

He also has a bold tongue. While the other judges all wuss-ed out with apologetic "great effort, thank you for bringing your energy here," comments, HVB called it like he -- and the rest of us -- saw it.

Here is a totally paraphrased but absolutely real re-enactment of HVB giving scores and feedback:

"That was terrible. This is a dance competition, and you did not show me anything about the feeling of the dance."

The audience boos, but HVB doesn't deign to acknowledge them with even an eyeroll. Pointing at the dancers, he continues.

"The boy dancer had no masculinity. Partner dance is the balance of male and female. He failed to balance her beautiful strength. You must work on that."

More boos. Michael Flatley gets the "keep it moving, champ!" sign from the producers and jumps in with, "Tanx for dat lovely feedback for the dancers. And what 'tis your score for this couple?"

"You were much worse than the previous couple, and I gave them a 5, so I'm forced to give you a 4.

The audience goes crazy booing and HVB finally dismisses them with a delicately arched eyebrow.

I know it's a stretch, but how cool would it be to have HVB as a guest judge on Dancing With the Stars? Magic like a unicorn, right?

Article: Wishboneclover, Photos: tvsa.co.za