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Open Letter to SYTYCD Producers: How to Fix SYTYCD

Dear SYTYCD Producers,

Here at PureSYTYCD, we’ve had several conversations lately about why ratings, Internet traffic and overall enthusiasm and discussion have been sinking season by season. Margaret says it can be traced to the infamous Fall season, Season 6, when our favorite show started changing swiftly and drastically. While some of the changes have been really amazing (All-Stars), some of them have been just dreadful (yes, I’m going to say it once again – the stage).

So Fox, Nigel, here are OUR pointers for how to fix the show (and readers, please, please add your own in the comments or tell us how you feel about ours and add your voice to the open letter).

1. Keep rotating judges and guest judges – just rotate Nigel right off the panel. We loved the guest judges this season (with the notable exceptions of Carmen Electra and Katie Holmes), especially the fact that we got a rotation of our favorite choreographers on the panel. We’ve learned that static judges are annoying, no matter who they are. Whether it was Nigel, Mary, Mia or Adam, we got tired of hearing the same voices when we already knew what they were going to say. Jean-Marc is a good (pervy) example of this on the Canadian show. However, Nigel almost never rotates out,  so we’re extra tired of him. If you need guest judges to replace him, we’ll make ourselves available. Hey, why not? Fans of the show are good judges, considering the best of the celebrity guest judges were the ones who were clearly fans.

2. Speaking of Nigel, let’s talk about his producing style. While we can’t say we’ve ever produced a show and we can only imagine the numerous concerns involved, we get a little annoyed by Nigel’s heavy-handed pulling-the-puppet-strings style. While we admire that he’s always willing to try new things and some of those new things have really been excellent, the best producing is the kind that doesn’t draw attention to itself. Nigel keeps insisting on shoving the dancers and the show into this perfectly produced package. (Can we talk about how the judges kept the elimination after Top 10 and it was never acknowledged on the show? And how the girls were “beasts” slaying the boys THE WHOLE SEASON, probably to compensate for the Girl Slaughter of Season 7?) Melanie got dubbed America’s Favorite Dancer (by the judges) in the auditions and was never truly challenged or critiqued (by the judges) during the whole season. It could’ve cost Melanie the win she totally deserved if she hadn’t been so adorable and talented. We’re getting tired of Nigel deciding who’s going to win and then trying to make it so. Is it America’s Favorite Dancer or is it Nigel’s Favorite Dancer? Guess which show we’re not going to watch next season?

So how do we fix this, you might ask? John suggests that we need more charismatic dancers who are really good in one style and have to fight to conquer other styles (like Ivan and Russell, who won his season). Marianya says she misses seeing the dancers really challenged at the beginning of the show. Fans of SYTYCD love watching the unexpected partnership and the unexpected dancer struggle and then achieve, making themselves our favorites in the process.

Margaret: Part of what makes those first few weeks so interesting, besides watching partnerships that we really hook into (Melanie & Marko) is wondering how other dancers would work together. If Kayla & Max/Ashley & Kupono hadn’t been in the bottom during week 2 of season 5, Max & Ashley may not have been eliminated at the same time and we wouldn’t have gotten to see the surprisingly great partnership of Kayla & Kupono—which means we wouldn’t have gotten “Addiction” and it’s rated as one of the best numbers the show has ever had, rightly so.

So one way to fix this would be to go back to SYTYCD’s roots. We’ve had some of the most technically gifted dancers the last three seasons and sometimes we could hardly bring ourselves to care because while there was nothing “wrong” with a dancer or a routine, we just couldn’t get excited. This might mean more bad routines and bad dancing but will make us so grateful again for the truly transcendent moments. Which brings us to…

3. We need diversity in dance styles and choreographers. Doreana Sanchez is not the only person choreographing disco routines and Nakul dev Mahajan is not the only Bollywood choreographer. Go to Canada if you don’t believe me. What would happen if there were only one contemporary routine on any given show or maybe only one contemporary routine every few weeks? What if we HAD to depend on Afro Jazz, House, all of the Ballroom styles, Bollywood, Pas de Deux , etc. to fill in the episode?

And for diversity, we don’t even have to look any further than the other SYTYCD franchises. Canada and UK have phenomenal choreographers (and dancers!), as did Australia. Those are just the English-speaking franchises. What wonderful choreographers could we find if the producers imported from the Ukraine SYTYCD or the Turkish or Polish versions?

4. And speaking of one big happy family, why not create another Fall show, but make it different, perhaps a shorter super competition? What if we had SYTYCD SuperStars and all of the previous contestants from ALL of the franchises were eligible to come back and compete for the “World’s Favorite Dancer” title? Maybe this show is 2 episodes a week for only 4 weeks, just to make it special and so that it might not overlap with the World Series again? Dancers featured on SYTYCD don’t have a potential “product” like American Idol singers do when they release a cd, so anytime the producers can create a vehicle for these dancers that doesn’t overshadow the current cast, they’re helping create more of a career and presence for the dancers. The great thing about this idea is that it totally supports this next point…

5. Ditch the musical guests. Or ditch about 90% of them. Keep the 10% that are willing to use SYTYCD dancers for backup dancers (including the current cast! didn’t that happen one season?). Maybe the musical performances bring in money, or maybe you producers only think they do. The reality is, they usually suck and I’m only watching the dancers anyway. It’s like, on Dancing with the Stars, the ONLY reason I watch the musical performances is to catch the dancing that happens at the same time. I would MUCH RATHER see dance performances. It’d be a good time to show us alumni dancers re-dancing their iconic numbers as much more evolved dancers (think Kent and LoFro doing the prom number – it was only 8 months later and they’d already become such different dancers). Bring in performers from all the other SYTYCD franchises, like you did with UK’s recent winner Matt Flint. Pairing him with the all-too-soon-eliminated Nick and Jess in a tap routine that THEY choreographed? BRILLIANT. Easily one of the highlights of not just the finale, but of the season. Do it more. That’s the key to re-building your audience: when you do something we like, do it more. When you do something we don’t like, stop doing it.

6. Which means, bring back the smaller and more intimate stage. Season 8’s stage (or the camera work and lack of distracting backlights) was better than the Seasons 6 and 7 monstrosity, but only by a bit. Watching SYTYCD Canada reminds me of how amazing the original stage is and you really need to listen to us and bring it back. It was a big part of why we fell in love with the show and the Seasons 1-5 dancers. Do you know why? We were closer to them. There were more physical possibilities for the choreographers when it came to moving the dancers around the stage because it wasn’t a giant, uniform thing. When it comes down to it, the stage represents the entire SYTYCD producers vs SYTYCD audience disagreement. With this big uber stage (since S6), you are focusing on the package, the spectacle. The more intimate circle stage that we love and still mourn focuses on the dancers.

Margaret: I miss my stairs! There was something about the old stage and how it was round that made the dances feel like stories, not performances for an audience. We were able to get more closeups, feel the emotions, and the set was about enhancing the dancing, not enhancing the spectacle. My best example came from, oddly, the guy I think used the stage the best during his time with SYTYCD, Wade. With “Ruby Blue,” Brandon and Janette entered the story by popping up from behind a wall and coming down the stairs, and their ability to use the stage in that entrance played a major role in the believability of the movements. But, in Season 6, with the “inside Van Goh’s head” piece Wade did for Peter and Pauline, the ridiculous fractured painting that rotated and flipped on the projecting screen was super distracting and took away from what was actually a really well-danced piece, especially from Peter. It was a very cool routine and they danced it really well, but their technical success was overshadowed by the “overdoneness” of the set.

7. Instead of spending the money on the bigger stage and a lot of flash, we would rather that you spend the money to figure out how to release SYTYCD DVDs so we can re-watch our favorite seasons without resorting to YouTube and other means. There is a market for it, so figure it out. Whenever you focus on the dancers–current, alumni, International franchise dancers, whatever–you can’t go wrong with us. That’s the simple fact at the heart of the matter.

And now that we’ve critiqued you quite a lot, here’s a list of what we like and want you to keep.

1. The All-Stars – having them arrive at the Top 10 is the perfect marriage. Keep it up. Only, we want to see them re-dance their iconic routines and you missed a lot of opportunities to do this during Season 8. Fix that.

Margaret: Not only does this give us the chance to see dancers we love again, but use this as a way to plug their success. Allison & Ivan were All-Stars in the same week, how were they not asked to dance together?! Same with Chelsie & Mark! Those are two of the most successful partnerships, and some of the best personalities, the show has ever had, be proud of that, they are SYTYCD success to the highest degree.

2. The Meet the Top 20 performance – sheer genius. It’s been a highlight of each season you’ve done it. Especially since we get to see the dancers twice on the live show before anyone’s eliminated. Keep that.

3. We like the dancers you pick! We just want you to cut back on the contemporary/jazz and pick some dancers with different backgrounds. We want them to be challenged more and truly judged, all of them and fairly. And clearly they’re talented, because they’re going on to dance in movies, commercials, music videos, music tours, Broadway shows, Glee and DWTS.

Margaret: We also love underdogs, they’re fun to root for. Give us more Tads, Russells, Dominics, Jeanines, Evans, Nicks, even Lauren Froderman floundered her 1st week and was in danger of going home!

4. Cat is the one thing most of us can agree on. She smooths over the awkward moments and she uses her great sense of humor to keep things rolling. I love it when she gets to pick dances for the finale show.

Remember, no matter what, we love the show. We only want to like it again.

Sincerely (and xoxo),

SYTYCD Fans/PureSYTYCD writers

P.S. Sorry this is a little long – clearly we had a lot to say.

September 6, 2011 I Written By

SYTYCD rumblings

What a great show last night!! I sprinkled my thoughts here and there on other posts but overall I was really impressed. I thought I’d bring you all a smattering of SYTYCD news that I’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. Much of it comes from our friends at Entertainment Weekly

*added 6/24
I haven’t had the chance to read some of your comments about the results last night, but Kate Ward, a writer at EW.com has written an article aptly titled, “SYTYCD results make fans angry. you won’t like them when they’re angry”

I have to admit, I was pretty annoyed to see them keep Ryan after her abysmal “dance for your life”. I was watching the live feed online and it shorted out so I missed Missy’s and Iveta’s but from what I’ve heard Iveta’s was better. I saw all the guys and I thought Ricky really made his case to stay, his solo was great. Frankly, it’s not his fault Ryan seems to rather look at the camera and mug than connect with him. One of the posters recommended that they should have let all three girls and one of the boys go and kept Nick and Ricky or Nick and Wadi. I agree that Nick had a great personality and I would have loved to have seen him do contemporary with his long limbs to really see what he can do.

thoughts on this? I think it’s pretty interesting…

————

They’ve recently released their list of the 25 greatest SYTYCD performances of the past 7 seasons.

25. Kathryn and Ryan’s cha-cha (Season 6)
24. Pasha and Sara’s “Rockafella Skank” (Season 3)
23. Lauren and Twitch’s “My Chick Bad” (Season 7)
22. Lacey and Kameron Week 1 (Season 3)
21. Jakob and Ashleigh’s “Hit Me With a Hot Note” (Season 6)
20. Tranji’s “Gyrate” (Season 2)
19. Melody and Nick’s “All That Jazz”
18. Ellenore and Jakob’s “Tore My Heart”
17. Jeanine and Jason “If It Kills Me”
16. Brandon and Jeanette’s Disco
15. Katee and Joshua’s Bollywood
14. Jaimie and Hok’s “Hummingbird and the Flower”
13. Robert and Allison’s “Fix You”
12. Brandon and Jeanette’s “Ruby Blue”
11. Chelsie and Mark’s “Bleeding Love”
10. Ade and Billy’s “Mad World”
9. Danny and Lacey’s “Hip Hip Chin Chin”
8. Allison and Ivan’s “Why”
7. Kayla and Kupono’s “Addiction (Gravity)”
6. Heidi and Benji’s “Black Mambo”
5. Allison and Alex’s “Hallelujah”
4. Neil and Sabra’s “80’s Power Lunch (the table dance)”
3. Travis and Heidi’s “The Bench”
2. Katee and Joshua’s “No Air”
1. Alex and Twitch’s “Outta Your Mind”

This is a pretty stellar list, I must say, but there are a few glaring omissions. Where is Will and Katee’s spectacular pas de deux from season 4? Or Kayla and Max’s incredible WEEK 1 samba from season 5? I know this doesn’t include solos, but I don’t think anyone has topped Blake’s amazing solo from top 6 week in season 1, I’ve rewound it 100 times at least and still can’t figure out how he switches directions in his back handspring!

any other routines that didn’t make the cut?
Read more..

June 23, 2011 I Written By

Personal Favorites From This Season of SYTYCD

Hey everyone! It`s been a really long time since I posted last, so I just wanted to say congratulations to John and his adorable new baby! I wish you and your family the best and may you all be happy and healthy!

This season of So You Think You Can Dance was really one of the best, with so much talent and many awesome dances. There were such amazing dancers that after the Top 12, I didn`t want anyone to leave! In this post I wanted to highlight my favorite performances of the season, and want to hear all of yours as well. 🙂 You can also take a look at Amanda’s post about the judges favorites.

Although each dancer possessed so much potential, I did have my favorites that I rooted for until the very end.

Kayla was by far my favorite and one of the most talented. I know I`m not the only one who feels this way, a lot of the people I have talked to have also voiced this opinion. She should not have been the first to go at the Finale! Her lines were definitely the prettiest, and in all the partner dances, I couldn`t take my eyes off her. I found a lot of the time that the guys she was dancing with had a whole barrel of trouble keeping up wit her and matching her strength. My only problem with her was that her solos were often very desperate and repetitive and a lot of the times I was worried she was going to be booted off because of them. Otherwise, her technique was flawless and she was very purdy. 🙂

My second favorite of course was Jeanine, for obvious reasons. For one, her solos were the greatest. They possessed a quality none of the other solo`s did. Musicality. That may seem like a small thing, but it really makes a huge difference. Those dances are way more appealing and probably one of the reasons she won. In the partner dancers, she was SO hard hitting, and almost always outdid her partner, whoever it was. I`m really happy she won. There is nothing bad I can say about her.

Favorite Solo this season:

My least favorite dancer was probably Vitolio. He was not dynamic or versatile whatsoever, and he didn`t have much of a likeable personality. I was really glad when he got the quickstep, but I loved Karla, and was really sad when she was partenered with him.

Now, onto the performances that I loved the most.

This season was a super good season for Contemporary dances. There were so many good ones, but my favorite one hands down was Evan and Randi`s Contemporary by Mia Michaels. This piece was full of fun, butt 😉 equally balanced out with superb technique and complex sequences. The music only added to the fun atmosphere and if I don`t watch this piece at least 3 times a day I don`t feel right.

Some other noteworthy pieces include:

Jeanine and Jason to If It Kills Me Jason Mraz - We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things - If It Kills Me (Jason Mraz) by Travis Wall

Kayla and Kupono to Gravity Sara Bareilles - Little Voice - Gravity (Sara Bareilles) by Mia Micheals

Melissa and Ade to This Woman`s Work Maxwell - Now - This Woman's Work (Maxwell) by Tyce Diorio

Karla and Jonathan to Falling Slowly The Frames - The Cost (Deluxe Edition) - Falling Slowly (The Frames) by Stacey Tookey

This season also had plenty of mentionable Hip-Hop dances, and it was hard to choose my favorite, but the one I was most enchanted with was Kayla and Jason`s by Shane Sparks. The story in this was just hilarious, and surprising light hearted considering it was about zombies and eating brains. It wasn`t anything too complicated, but fun and entertaining, which, if you think about it, is what the show is about. There were other Hip-Hop dances that were less simple, and more technical, but this was just fun!

Other awesome Hip-Hops:

Randi and Evan to Hal Beyoncé - I Am... Sasha Fierce (Deluxe Version) - Haloo (Beyonce) by NappyTabs

Janette and Brandon to What A World Common - Universal Mind Control - What a World (Common) by Shane Sparks

Jeanine and Philip to Mad Ne-Yo - Year of the Gentleman (Bonus Track Version) - Mad (Ne-Yo) by NappyTabs

Jeanine and Philip to Love Lockdown Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak (Bonus Video Version) - Love Lockdown (Kanye West) by NappyTabs

Other AMAZING dances:

Caitlin and Jason Bollywood to Jai Ho A. R. Rahman, Sukhvinder Singh, Tanvi Shah & Mahalaxmi Iyer - Slumdog Millionaire (Music from the Motion Picture) - Jai Ho by Nakul

Kayla and Max PopJazz to Hot Like Wow Nadia Oh - Hot Like Wow - Hot Like Wow (Nadia O) by Brian Friedman

Janette and Evan Jazz to Move CSS - Move 12" - EP - Move (Metronomy Remix) (CSS) by Sonya Tayeh

Group Dance Top 8 Let it Rock Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne - In the City (Bonus Track Version) - Let It Rock by Travis Wall

Group Dance Top 16 I Know You Want Me Pitbull - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) - EP - I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) [More English Extended Mix] (Pitbull) by Dmitry Chaplin, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo

Worst dance of the season:

Jeanine and Philip Russian Folk Dance
Only the choreography, dancing was superb.

That`s it, my favorites of Season 5, looking forward to 6, and SYTYCD Canada starting Tuesday the 11th!!

August 10, 2009 I Written By

Random Thoughts on the SYTYCD 18 Elimination Show

I must admit that I always get in a little bit of a funk the day after the So You Think You Can Dance elimination shows. I get so involved in the comments from my SYTYCD power rankings, on my twitter account and of course in the SYTYCD music, that the day after I usually just need a little break. So, in the future if you see me kind of disappear, then now you know why. I just need to bring on a second person to help me post to this blog. Any takers?

Now on to my random thoughts…

Bottom 3 Couples – Anyone that says they knew that those 3 couples would be in the bottom 3 is smokin something fierce. What a shocker. I bet Nigel and the show are loving that. Seriously though, when have they ever had 3 different couples from the week before. It hasn’t and that’s what’s so amazing. Most shocking of all was that Asuka and Vitolio weren’t in the bottom 3 and Kayla and Max were in the bottom 3. This actually might turn out to be a really good thing for Kayla, because now her fans will kind of wake up and start voting for her more. Maybe they just got a little bit complacent in the past since she did dance so well.

Solos – I don’t know why, but I’m still not such a big fan of the solos. I think people like Hok and Dominique from past seasons kind of spoiled us with great solos. The solos have been rather lack luster for me. I’m not sure I can really remember one amazing moment from any of the solos. I guess Phillip just needs to be in the bottom 3 to rectify it.

Max Gone – I think it’s unfortunate that Max got sent home. He worked so hard and really laid it all out on the line. That should be rewarded. Unfortunately, I’m afraid his look was the reason he got sent home. That just doesn’t feel right. I think maybe the judges should just be removed from this part of the equation altogether.

Ashley Gone – This was not really a surprise for me. However, I was honestly sad she’s gone. There’s something about her that makes her not as likable and I get that. However, Ashley really found a soft spot in my heart when I think of how many times and how hard she tried to be on the show. I would have liked to see her a couple more weeks. That said, I want to see Kayla and Caitlin more.

Shameful Lip Sync – Seriously, could that singer (Kristinia DeBarge) have looked any more like she was lip syncing? It was dreadful to even watch. The dancers were better than Sean Kingston’s dancers, but the lip syncing has got to go.

Amrapali Ambegaokar – I preferred the Indian dancing she did on Superstars of Dance more than her performance on SYTYCD. However, there’s absolutely no arguing that she has amazing talent. I can’t imagine how much practice it must take to do what she did. I wonder what Nakul Dev Mahajan thought of it.

Quick Hits:
-Mia’s been hanging with Wade Robson or Brian Friedman I think.
-The Lil C sequence was awesome
-Cat Deeley looked awesome in that suit. Much better than the previous red sheet.
-Kayla’s face was priceless when she was in the bottom 3
-Nice SYTYCD 6 promotion using Ryan Kasprzak
-Wednesday SYTYCD starts to get some competition with America’s Got Talent. Don’t they know they shouldn’t overlap my shows?!?!

June 19, 2009 I Written By

Just call me Charlie...but where are my angels?

SYTYCD 2009 Music

We’re back again with the list of the SYTYCD 2009 results show music for the top 18. Last night had a real hit song that a lot of people seemed to love called “Falling Slowly” The Frames - The Cost (Deluxe Edition) - Falling Slowly by The Frames. Feel free to take a look back at all the SYTYCD 2009 music.

Now for the SYTYCD 2009 top 18 results show music:
SYTYCD top 18Group dance to the song “Higher Ground” Stevie Wonder - Stevie Wonder: The Definitive Collection - Higher Ground—Stevie Wonder (Choreographer: Mia Michaels)

Special musical guest sang “Goodbye” Kristinia DeBarge - Goodbye - Single - Goodbye—Kristinia DeBarge (Original Kristinia DeBarge music video Goodbye)

Special guest Indian dancer: Amrapali Ambegaokar: Kathak

The bottom 3 couples did the following solos:
Caitlin Kinney: “Make You Feel My Love” ADELE - 19 - Make You Feel My Love—Adele
Jason Glover: “Superman” Robin Thicke - The Evolution of Robin Thicke (Deluxe Edition) - Superman—Robin Thicke
Ashley Valerio: “By Your Side” CocoRosie - La Maison de Mon Rêve - By Your Side—CocoRosie
Kupono Aweau: “Many Moons” Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: the Chase Suite - Many Moons—Janelle Monáe (Original Janelle Monáe music video Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Fantastic Edition) - Many Moons)
Kayla Radomski: “Walking On Air” Kerli - Love Is Dead - Walking On Air—Kerli (Original Kerli music video Walking On Air)
Max Kapitannikov: “Footloose” Kenny Loggins - Footloose (15th Anniversary Collectors' Edition) - Footloose—Kenny Loggins

The Ashley Valerio montage was to the song “Already Gone” Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted - Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson
The Max Kapitannikov montage was to the song “On Your Own” Green River Ordinance - Out of My Hands - On Your Own by Green River Ordinance

June 18, 2009 I Written By

Just call me Charlie...but where are my angels?

Max Kapitannikov Before So You Think You Can Dance

Max Kapitannikov looks like he’s going to be an interesting dancer for the boys in the SYTYCD top 20. Check out this interesting routine which kind of incorporates a number of styles into one dance including ballroom and Hip Hop. Pretty cool performance:

Here’s another Hip Hop video of Max Kapitannikov dancing with Sarika Hudson, Dasha Tertova, Pascha Stepanchuk, and Jonathan Jacobs. The lighting isn’t the best for this video.

June 6, 2009 I Written By

Just call me Charlie...but where are my angels?