What the live studio audience sees on Dance Monsters is slightly different from what at-home audiences see, but they do watch the CGI monster performances on big screens.
Netflix’s new show, Dance Monsters, is unlike any other dance competition show on television. The show disguises its contestants as monsters using CGI.
Audiences at home can watch these monsters and the real dancers in their performance-capture suits. The live studio audience, on the other hand, can only see a video of the monsters dancing while the backup dancers and props are on the stage.
What makes Dance Monsters unique?
Performance-capture suits and CGI characters are by no means new to the world of television production.
However, Netflix’s newest reality competition show, Dance Monsters, uses these technologies in an entirely new way to bamboozle the audience and judges on the show by hiding the true identity of the performers.
The dancers who appear on the show perform on a separate stage wearing specially designed performance-capture suits.
This footage is then captured, reprogrammed, and edited in real time so that a CGI monster version of their performances can be shown on the main stage.
What does the audience see on Dance Monsters?
If you have watched any of the episodes of the first season of Dance Monsters on Netflix, you will know that viewers watching from home get to see the monster dance performances.
They also get to see some behind-the-scenes snippets of the real dancers as they perform on the secondary motion-capture stage.
However, you will then also know that these CGI monsters not only perform in front of the celebrity judging panel, but also in front of a live studio audience.
Although this live studio audience has no real input in the judging or ranking of the contestants, it can still be utterly confusing to try and figure out what the audience actually sees on the main stage while the dancers perform.
Since the show started airing on 16 December 2022, fans have been wondering about this exact thing and this has even led to some rumours that the audience’s reactions are faked.
In an attempt to clear up some of these rumours, Netflix has explained that the judges and the live studio audience see a video representation of the CGI monster performance while the real dancers perform backstage.
This means that the audience may be seeing the performance on a big screen instead of seeing a hologram-like avatar physically moving across the stage the way that it appears once the episodes have been recorded.
But they are really watching the CGI monsters perform and they are reacting to these performances genuinely.
What about the backup dancers and props?
There is still some ambiguity about what the live studio audience sees when the Dance Monsters episodes are recorded.
However, the one thing that has been cleared up is the fact that the backup dancers and all of the set pieces and props really are on the main stage in front of the judges and audience.
This means that, at the very least, the live studio audiences are truly watching and reacting to the backup dancers’ performances.
What if the dancers mess up their routines?
Chelsea Cushing, who was a contestant on the show, has explained that unlike other dance competition shows where contestants only get one chance to perform on stage, the contestants on Dance Monsters would get 30 minutes to rehearse their performances before the taping began.
This is because it can take some time for the contestants to adjust to the performance-capture suits and to the way their movements appear once they are in their CGI monster form.
However, once the taping of the performances started, it would be just like any other show. If the dancers messed up their routines, the audience would see their CGI monster mess them up as well.
Why does the show go to so much trouble to hide the dancers’ identities?
Reality competition shows often offer their contestants a chance at living their dreams and becoming famous, along with the standard cash prize for winning.
However, on Dance Monsters, it seems like the show is doing the exact opposite of giving the contestants their 15 seconds of fame by going to extremes to hide their identities.
Fortunately, there are benefits to hiding the true identities of the contestants until they are eliminated.
Disguising the dancers in their CGI monster forms gives the judges of the show the opportunity to focus solely on the dancing and to critique only this aspect of the performance.
It also allows the amateur dancers to perform without the fear of judgement or stage fright getting in the way.