Hi all!! I can’t believe we’re just a few hours away from the last performance show of the season!! I’m here to add my thoughts on the highs and lows of Season 7 SYTYCD. I was reading Entertainment Weekly online last night and they have a post up now, “So You Think You Can Dance: 10 Ways to Improve It”. I’m gonna play off that, plus add some of my highlights and lowlights from the season.
Highlight: The Opening Number
Wade Robson, tragically absent this season, created a visual and aesthetic masterpiece. We were able to see glimpses of the incredible array of dancers and their talents. It was difficult to distinguish who was who at some points, there were 23 dancers on the stage, but it was quite a sight to see.
Lowlight: First three eliminated–all girls
One of the things I was looking forward to the most when I heard about the All-Stars was seeing Twitch, Neil, Ade, Mark, Dom, and Pasha dancing again. Fast forward three weeks, and the likelihood of that happened had drastically dropped when the numbers were 6 male contestants and 2 girls. Alexie, Cristina, and Melinda were beautiful dancers, but they didn’t connect with the audience. I think poor Alexie was done in by less than stellar choreography, and I think the judges may have reached a little putting Cristina and Melinda in the top 11. Nevertheless, it was troubling to see three girls get knocked off so fast.
PUT THE POWER BACK INTO THE VIEWERS’ HANDS
As host Cat Deeley regularly reminds us, SYTYCD is the search for ”America’s favorite dancer.” So why was America’s voice stifled for so long during season 7? SYTYCD’s old format actually worked perfectly: The judges exerted their control for the first five weeks of competition — ensuring that dancers who deserved a second chance outlasted those unable to measure up — then left the rest up to the audience. But this season, viewers had their hands tied until top four. The judges already have plenty of time to have their say (see: previous slide), so let us have ours again…earlier!
Highlight: Alex and Twitch’s hip hop
File this under the category of WOW. When I heard Alex was gonna be doing hip hop with Twitch, I was nervous for him. We didn’t see him do it in Vegas (I don’t think) so I had no idea what was going to happen. Needless to say, I had to surgically remove my jaw from the floor after watching that routine. Who knew that Alex would have a break out moment doing hip hop?!
Lowlight: Injuries, Injuries, Injuries!
It’s amazing that we’ve gone 7 seasons WITHOUT having a serious injury. Granted, Jessica from S4 did have to leave, but she was able to tour with her season when her rib healed. I felt so sad for Alex, because he was just started to scratch the surface on the show. Our thoughts are with him as he recovers.
From EW.com (I sort of agree with this one, not 100%)
GIVE US, YES, FEWER DANCES
With such a talented crop of contestants every year, it seems crazy to ask for fewer dance numbers on SYTYCD. But if season 7 proved anything, it’s that stellar choreographers often lose their touch when faced with the feat of creating a countless number of routines for the contestants. (Can you remember more than one Sonya dance?) And that hectic schedule is not only tough on choreographers, but the dancers as well — executing nearly four routines per week left many season 7 contestants sidelined with injuries. So let’s give them a (non-injury-induced) break, shall we? After all, the show is called So You Think You Can Dance, not So You Thought You Could Dance Before You Got Injured on a Reality Show.
Highlight: Cat standing up for the dancers
As you guys have probably read, I wasn’t AdeChike’s biggest fan, but I certainly liked him as a dancer and he seemed like a really nice guy. He didn’t deserve a lot of the bashing he took this season. Granted, some of it was necessary (Adam’s comments about him needing a looser center for African Jazz, I totally understood that), but some of it wasn’t (Mia: “I’m missing Alex Wong now. Hard). I was so happy to see Cat stand up for him after that Bollywood number, she really shows how invested she is in these dancers, how much she loves them.
SHORTER JUDGE CRITIQUES
Hey, I’ll concede that it’s tough to put on a two-hour show. But it’s also tough to maintain interest in said two-hour program when the majority of the airtime is dedicated to the judges’ critiques. (Especially when the contestants are only on stage for short, two-minute routines.) The dancers are the stars of the series — not a panel of judges more focused on thanking the choreographers than praising the contestants. You know the phrase: Keep it simple!
Highlight: Allison and Kathryn
These 2 girls took on an incredible number of routines this season. They danced almost every week, sometimes twice in one week with different partners. The best thing about them was that you could tell they were always there for their partners, 100%. Even when Allison was dancing with José, who, let’s face, she danced circles around, we could look into her eyes and see her commitment to him. I’m not taking anything away from the other All-Stars, they’re all amazing at what they do and a major asset to SYTYCD, but these two girls are my MVPs.
Lowlight: The judging
What can I say? I fastforwarded through a lot of the comments this year b/c they either didn’t make sense or they just went on FOREVER. Mia’s a great choreographer, but I kinda can’t stand her as a judge. Her noises and made up words made her sound uneducated, like that’s the best you can come up with while praising (or critiquing) someone’s dancing. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…bring back Mary!!
BRING BACK MARY
With all due respect to Mia, the panel already has two industry vets who can wax poetic about technique. What was missing on the panel during season 7 was a healthy dose of crazy. (And what was missing on the stage this year was some Mia Michaels choreography.) Sure, Mary Murphy has all but ensured that SYTYCD fans will give the hearing aid industry a boost in 20 years, but we’ve missed being able to board the hot tamale train. Or crazy train, whatever.
Highlight/Lowlight: Getting reintroduced to the All-Stars via Classic Routines/Not getting to see everyone dance routines
This could have been amazing, and it kind of was. Getting to see “The Garden” “Forever” “Night of the Dancing Flame” and Anya/Pasha’s audition number was fantastic. Not only did we get to see these classic routines again, but we got to see how much these dancers have improved since their seasons. After those routines were over, the dances stopped! What about Ade, Kathryn, Dominic and Allison?! Four incredibly talented dancers who have memorable dances of their own. Why not show the routines on the big screen, then have the dancer do a solo on stage. That way, we could have seen the routines (most likely, “This Woman’s Work” “Fear” or “At this Moment” “Make it Work” and “Why”) but also gotten to see the dancers do a solo.
Highlight: “Boogie Shoes”/”Mad World”
Finally, Billy Bell got a breakout routine!! This was one of my favorite routines of the season and I’m excited to see it on tour. We finally got to see Billy loosen up and have some fun. He got the groove of the dance. With Mad World, everything just came together. Stacey Tookey has really elevated herself into that elite group of choreographers on the show with this number. Billy was fantastic.
Highlight: Robert’s Week 8
My pick for the win, he had an incredible week. Both dances were top notch, and everything just worked. I was so happy to see him make the finale, because his growth over the season is really starting to culminate at the right time.
Lowlight: the stage, again
Getting rid of the annoying screen from last season definitely helped, but not totally. When the camera hit the lights at certain angles, it sometimes washed out the dancers. The solution that really needs to happen…
RETURN TO A SMALLER STAGE
In 2009, SYTYCD announced two big changes: The series would boast a new fall season — which would take place on a much larger stage. Unfortunately, both ideas flopped. Though the producers wisely ditched a fall season after it proved to be unpopular, the expansive, impersonal stage remains, frustrating viewers who prefer an intimate dance experience. Remember, Nigel & Co.: Bigger isn’t always better!
Here are a couple of other ideas from EW.com that I really like:
HAVE THE DANCERS PERFORM CLASSIC ROUTINES
For every ”The Bench” routine on SYTYCD, there’s a ghastly disco dance. So instead of reaching in order to showcase new choreography, why not allow one contestant a week to perform a classic, well-known dance number? Sure, they’ll never measure up to the legends that made the routines famous. Still, after seeing Kent ace a Spencer Liff Broadway routine this season, who wouldn’t want to see what he could do with, say, Singin’ in the Rain’s ”Make ‘Em Laugh”? gusty, but could be fabulous
TAKE A PAGE FROM IDOL — RECRUIT SOME GUEST MENTORS!
Sure, great choreographers like Sonya Tayeh, Mia Michaels, and Wade Robson (who’s been tragically MIA during season 7) already act as mentors by default for the SYTYCD contestants. But the show could use a new jolt of star power. Not only would contestants welcome the weekly guidance of some legendary dancers, like, say, Alvin Ailey’s Judith Jamison (pictured) or American Ballet Theater’s Ethan Stiefel, but any dance fan would also be fascinated to hear icons share their tricks of the trade. And think of the results-show guest performances we all saw how excited AdeChike was to be dancing for Dwight and Desmond, this could be really cool. Plus, Ethan Stiefel is better known as Cooper Nielsen from the dance movie Center Stage, and I, for one, would LOVE to see him on SYTYCD!
okay guys, these are my thoughts. Agree? Disagree? Fire away!!