We’re a short while away from the Season 7 premiere of my absolute favorite reality show SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (Thursday, May 27th). While I’m as excited as I always am, I’m a bit confused by the format changes.


We’re a short while away from the Season 7 premiere of my absolute favorite reality show SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (Thursday, May 27th). While I’m as excited as I always am, I’m a bit confused by the format changes.

If you’re one of the few people who haven’t heard yet, only five male and five female dancers will make it to the performance show and will be randomly paired with a different series “All-Star” every week. The genre performed will match the specialty of the All-Star and one dancer will be eliminated every week. Said stars are last season’s Kathryn McCormick; Ade Obayomi of Season 5; Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Comfort Fedoke, Courtney Galiano, and Mark Kanemura from Season 4; Anya Garnis, Lauren Gottlieb, Neil Haskell, Pasha Kovalev, and Dominic “D-trix” Sandoval from Season 3; and Allison Holker from Season 2. I’m extremely excited to see six of these folks returning, three are undeniably talented but I can think of other dancers I like more, and one…well I’m mystified by their presence. Not because of ability but because she’d been in the bottom more than any other contestant on any season. In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about Lauren. Her “Popozao” elimination dance still haunts me.

I’m not sure exactly what prompted the huge changes but it had to have something to do with Season 6. Airing the show in the Fall threw a few things off and the whole season was a little…off. The Top 20 had a lot of potential but there weren’t many incredible/memorable performances, partly because of choreography but often because of execution. Then there was playoff baseball preempting the first two weeks of voting. I haven’t talked to a single person who liked being robbed of their call-in opinion. Surely if the audience were allowed to vote the first two elimination weeks the early results would’ve been much different. The most notable change being that tapper Bianca Revels, a contestant who finally made the top after several close calls, would’ve lasted longer. Both because people at home have been rooting for her for seasons and her early versatility was impressive. It’s not her fault she got a Tyce D’Orio sabotage number in Week 2. I also found having a finale with a Top 6 a bit strange but understandable since they didn’t want to keep the dancers there near Christmas.

The only real problem with the format has been how less popular and/or less relatively talented dancers make it further than they should thanks to being hitched to a universally loved partner. Or, worse yet, there’s the “Partner-Killer” – a person who repeatedly ends up in the bottom yet it’s the dancer paired with them that goes home. The fix for this is simple: make it so the viewers are voting for individual dancers from the start. Keep the introductory showcase show (which is a great idea) and mirror the AMERICAN IDOL model by splitting the Top 20 into two performance nights until we get to the Top 10. Results night will see the bottom six dancers, regardless of gender, “dance for their lives” with two eliminated. The re-pairing will occur as it had before except with the exciting prospect of female/female or male/male partnerships. That would certainly spice up the proceedings and serve as an interesting creative challenge for the choreographers.

But let’s not let my pondering on the changes that could be distract from the changes that are. While I’ll miss getting to know twenty new promising dancers, I do rather like the idea of seeing how the newbies will do when matched with SYTYCD veterans in their specialties. It’s a test of both ability and star power considering how brightly many of the All-Stars shine. The most interesting x-factor in all this is whether teaming with one of the more popular graduates, like tWitch, will affect voting in any way. Theoretically it shouldn’t since dance ability is key but stranger things have happened.

So what do you think of the new season? Excited or disappointed by any of the changes or All-Stars?

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