'SYTYCD': 10 Ways to Improve It
CUT FOOTAGE OF BAD AUDITIONERS
The show's producers might think we want to watch Sex bomb. Quite the contrary! Though American Idol might attract an audience with its parade of deluded contestants at the front of every season, it's simply not funny to watch bad dancers like Sex on SYTYCD. (After all, the series doesn't show us anything we can't already see at a family wedding.) Even more tragic is the fact that we remember the aforementioned terrible ''dancer''(/fame whore) better than some of the show's quality contestants from seasons past. So let's just focus on the good from here on out, because Sex just gives us a headache, okay?
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.
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.
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!
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!
DROP THE ''DREADED'' QUICKSTEP
There's a reason it's labeled the ''dreaded'' dance of SYTYCD: No one likes it. No one likes to perform it. And it usually leads to a spot in the bottom three. So rather than subjecting the audience, dancers, and judges to the quickstep, how about we quickly toss it from the show's repertoire? After all, you don't see Russian folk dance on the SYTYCD stage anymore, do you?
SAVE ALL-STARS FOR CHOREOGRAPHY
Season 7's all-star idea wasn't necessarily a bad one — it was a welcome boost of nostalgia to see past contestants like tWitch and Kathryn. Yet, after a season ripe with more chemistry problems than an eighth-grade science exam, it's tough to not feel even more nostalgic for the days when we watched dancers like tWitch and Kathryn grow alongside their non-all-star partners. So instead, why not invite SYTYCD alums back to choreograph pieces for our contestants? We've already seen awesome numbers from Travis Wall, Benji Schwimmer, and Dmitry Chaplin — just imagine what Mark Kanemura could do!
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!
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''?
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!