There has been a steady wave of dance competition TV shows produced post-2000 including Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, and Your Chance To Dance. However, very few (that we’re aware of) have added the romantic component and certainly none have built the foundation of their show on Salsa.
NUVOTv and Executive Producer, Mario Lopez, have introduced a new dating competition called Love and Salsa. The show premiered on May, 6th, 2014. NUVOTv is an English language entertainment network catering to “modern Latinos”…also known as hispanics 18-34. The show, hosted by Mario’s wife Courtney Lopez, features “a sexy single” who must choose between three different suitors. The single finds his first two dates based on a series of match making questions, ala The Dating Game.
If you’re younger than 40-45 and have never heard of The Dating Game then you can watch old episodes on YouTube.
Anyway, the couples then compete in a live salsa dance off and the audience determines the winner based on which contestant they feel has found ‘true love’.
In the first episode we are introduced to a writer from Florida named Randy (who has never danced salsa), and the three contestants he must choose from. The contestants are Evelyn from El Salvador, Taujma from Belgium, and Erica from…somewhere. And, surprise, they’re all young, pretty, and wearing short skirts. At least they weren’t all wearing the same color. Unfortunately, the remainder of the show is pretty lame and comical with plenty of cheesy post-production “woo” sound effects, staged tension, and gratuitous booty shots.
Randy interviews all three ladies with typical dating show questions. Our favorite moment occurred when Randy asked Evelyn what super power she would want, and why. Her response…”I’d want the ability to teleport myself. So I can be wherever you are when you’re missing me.” Dance Planet Daily laughter ensues.
Randy chose Eveyln and Erica to advance to the finals and compete for his affection. They are given salsa instruction and choreography from dance professional, Rodrigo Guzman. We find that Randy has an incredibly low level of rhythm, let alone salsa skill. The ladies do have salsa experience, but seem to be on the show to get their 15 minutes of fame.
The salsa competition turns out to be a heavily edited dance off with virtually no salsa…mostly because Randy can’t dance. After the second performance, Courtney lauds Randy by saying, “Wow Randy! In that performance you were really giving me sex”! Awkward compliment. Randy chooses Evelyn, but the audience disagrees and votes for Erica. The ‘soon to be newlyweds’ receive nothing for their efforts. The prize was an all expense paid night on the town…which probably wouldn’t have included salsa dancing.
The end. Now we wait with baited breath for TMZ to tell us if they’re still together.
Our conclusion is that the show is…not Salsa, its queso. Twenty-four minutes of cheese. If you love salsa/mambo then this show will probably offend your dance sensibilities, and will have your eyes rolling more than bowling balls. If preserving the honor of Salsa isn’t a high priority for you then the show could be right up your alley.
Mario Lopez may be on the fast track to becoming “the Hispanic Ryan Seacrest”, but this show has the production value and feel of a program done by high school teens like A.C. Slater.