I’m not a big fan of reality television. Aside from the occasional episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I find America takes the word “reality” a little too far (case in point: Dancing with the Stars). The last season of the Bachelorette that I watched from start to finish was with Trista and Ryan. And look, they’re still together (and I think the only Bachelorette couple married with children).
But it wasn’t until five years ago that I got hooked on another reality show: So You Think You Can Dance.
I know what you’re thinking; the title of the show sounds like America’s Got Talent for dancers. But that’s exactly what it is.
The show’s goal is to search for America’s Favorite Dancer. Like American Idol, the show starts out by following hopefuls to auditions in places like Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and Atlanta and watches them dance their hearts out in front of three judges, hoping to make it to the next round. Each dancer has to perform their own choreography, as well as two routines with a partner from guest choreographers. From that pool, the judges select 20 lucky men and women to compete on the show.
What is different about SYTYCD from all other shows is that each person has the talent to be America’s favorite dancer, and is not trying to pull off a publicity stunt (see American Idol) by performing poorly. From jazz and contemporary to hip hop and Broadway, each dancer adheres to their own style and has a unique story to tell.
Once the top 20 has been assembled, each week, dancers are randomly assigned a particular style and a dance partner, and the two are assigned a choreographer who will create a routine for them to perform live on the show. These choreographers are well-known in the dance world, from Mia Michaels (now a judge on the show) and Stacey Tookey to Travis Wall (a season 2 contestant), and some have won Emmys for their work on the show.
After the routine, the three judges, Nigel Lythgoe (acting like a friendlier version of Len Goodman from Dancing with the Stars and executive producer of both SYTYCD and American Idol), Mary Murphy, a former ballroom dancer (and my favorite judge for her loud personality) and Michaels. At times the show will bring in guest judges, including Neil Patrick Harris and Kristen Chenoweth.
Host Cat Deeley is the most adorable reality-show host in the history of reality television hosts. From her amazing outfits (which always include sky-high heels) and her gorgeous blond hair, she deserves the Emmy for Best Reality Television Host better than Ryan Seacrest, who has won four times in a row. Time to give the crown up, Ry.
One thing that is new from last year is that once the group whittles down from 20 to 10, the remaining dancers are joined by All-Stars, former SYTYCD stand-out contestants. Each current contestant is paired with a former contestant to perform in the veteran’s dance specialty. And instead of having two shows (one performance and one result), the program will combine both in a two-hour time frame.
As with most performing arts-reality shows, it is up to America to vote for the dancers that move on to the next round.
If you love dancing and haven’t seen this show, pick up your shoes and be sure to tune in. Besides, it ends right before most fall shows begin, so it’s the perfect in-between that is sure to create jaw-dropping performances all summer long.
So You Think You Can Dance airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Hannah G. has 29 post(s) on RTR On Campus