It’s not just has-beens making humiliating appeals to reality TV show audiences to keep themselves in the public eye these days. It’s future has-beens -err, today’s pop up-and-comers. On this week’s finale episode of Bravo’s latest Project Runway-style competition Step It Up and Dance, hosted by Elizabeth Berkley (speaking of has-beens making humiliating appeals to reality TV show audiences), the guest judge for a preliminary challenge was none other than budding hip-hop mogul Akon.
Joining Akon was his protÃ©gÃ© Colby O’Donis (the show’s captions flatteringly identified him as a singer-songwriter) who wears a look of permanent bedazzlement and vacancy (think Lance Bass without the boy band to hide himself in). Colby O’Donis wasn’t there to judge. In fact, like a proper trophy boy, he barely spoke a word. And as it turns out, Colby was, in fact, the prize for this challenge. The winning dancer would appear in the, ahem, singer-songwriter’s forthcoming video, scheduled to be filmed in a couple weeks.
The challenge involved the final four contestants – Cody Green, a Stepford dancer (from Canada!) with a respectable Broadway resume; Miguel Zarate, a flamboyant drama queen who bares a passing (from a distance, in the right light, if you squint really hard) resemblance to Prince, circa 1991; Michelle “Mochi” Camaya, a slinky, wildly versatile Filipino with a confident stage presence; and adorable underdog Nick Drago, the token straight guy with a chin like a cartoon robot – performing a sequence assembled by Rent choreographer Vincent Patterson set to Fergie‘s “Labels & Love” from the Sex and the City soundtrack. The sequence itself was a sort of razzle-dazzly number which had the dancers shopping for clothes like the Sex and the City foursome, only three of them were men, and a number of the moves were clearly meant to be danced by women.
While all four performed the number respectably – even the hapless Nick, whose schtick was compared to Gene Kelly (“he’s a guy“) by one of the judges, was game for some awkwardly homo-but-not-really-erotic pairings – Mochi, as the only woman among them, had a clear advantage both in terms of the dancing, and, of course, the judging. While Akon was clearly impressed with the skills of Miguel, it was also abundantly clear that Miguel would not work in a Colby O’Donis video. It’s not just that Miguel could set off the gaydar of a small woodland creature 500 miles away: Miguel is, quite simply, a bigger star than Colby O’Donis. Mochi won the Akon challenge, and one can only guess that Colby O’Donis now sits on her mantle. Much to Miguel’s chagrin, Cody Green ultimately (and probably rightly) took the series’ $100,000 prize.