Reality Check: That Special Something on 'Dance,' 'Paula' and 'Talent'

There was a lot of talk on "So You Think You Can Dance" this week about how important it is to have a magical quality, which the judges all essentially noted that Danny Tidwell lacked. To me, this seemed like a nice way of saying that he comes off like a jerk.

Guest judge Adam Shankman (the "Hairspray" director) was close to identifying the real issue when he called Danny arrogant, but Nigel threw such a hissy fit about the word that the amiably catty director retracted his statement the next night.

It's too bad, because as magnificently as Danny pirouettes, his manner is so holier-than-thou that it leaves me desperate to root for him yet oddly unable to.

Nevertheless, it was Cedric and Shauna that were ultimately the ones to leave, despite the fact that Anya's crazy tiger-spot stripper outfit was too distracting for me to even pay attention to her solo, and Jaimie and Hok's waltz was widely reviled by the judges. (A word about Jaimie and Hok: when couples on reality shows are actually hooking up, they're far coyer than these two are being. I say they're faking us out.)

Meanwhile, we saw a whole lot of people that most definitely did not have a special something on "America's Got Talent." The variety acts on this week's callback show were so embarrassing that the Hoff actually took to the stage at a certain point to make an impassioned speech about how they all needed to up their game.

Yet amazingly, the guy who really did — a 37-year-old baton twirler who managed to make baton twirling something you'd actually want to watch — was ousted, while a chubby male cross-dresser who simply went by "Boy Shakira" and whom Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne were championing was sent onto the next round.

Which means that either Piers and Sharon are having simultaneous breakdowns, or the Hoff and I simply lack the ability to recognize magic when it's there.

And speaking of not seeing things clearly, how on earth could Paula Abdul have as many people working for her as she seems to and still not be aware of the fact that "Hey Paula" is doing more to tarnish her reputation than a year's worth of insane satellite interviews ever could?

Whether she's complaining ceaselessly about being hungry, tired, cold or sad, yelling at assistants for making what seem like minor mistakes or breaking down in tears during routine business negotiations, Abdul comes off like such a straight-up prima donna that she makes Danny seem like Gandhi.

In other words, thank God for Paula and Danny. Because the kind of special qualities they have are the most important that exist in reality television land.

Anna David is a freelance writer. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is in stores now.