Let me first say that the new one-episode a week format of So You Think You Can Dance is a welcomed change for season 9. But besides the elimination (pun intended) of the mostly-filler results show, this season has felt a bit off*.
So before we crown two season 9 champions, here’s a quick run-down of why I think this season has been weird but also why I still love SYTYCD.
A Weekly Display of Incredible Talent
It should go without saying that the dancers (all-stars and current contestants alike) are brilliant at what they do, which is why it generally sucks to cut people each week. With such a high-caliber of talent this season and no clear front runner, I felt like a lot of dancers were sent home before their time (mostly causalties of the double elimination nights).
I would have loved to have seen more from Alexa (who was heavily touted in Vegas week), Amber (who performed an incredible routine the week of her elimination), and Will (who I felt like we never really got to see dance without any gimmicks).
With that said, I’m still happy with the final four contestants (Go Eliana!) and this season has certainly provided its fair share of memorable routines too. Allison and Cole’s Sonya Tayeh piece might be my new favorite:
Kudos to SYTYCD for bringing back favorites like Christina Applegate and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but what’s with the guest judges who have never seen the show before (Michael Nunn & Billy Trevitt) or ones who can’t speak without a script (Zooey Deschanel)?
On a related site note: Thank God for Cat Deeley. Not only does she save floundering guest judges but she keeps the show on schedule, builds a personal repertoire with all of the dancers, and keeps Mary and Nigel in check. I’m really hoping Cat Deeley wins an Emmy this year, she really deserves it.
The Return of Mia Michaels
With some of the most memorable routines to her name, I was super excited for her to come back, but the tribute show was a major mistep on SYTYCD’s part.
First of all, part of the fun of watching the show is seeing new partnerships develop and new works of art unfold in front of our eyes. If I want to watch an older number, I’ll just YouTube it. Second, some of Mia’s pieces like “Time” (about seeing her father again in the afterlife) is something that really was never critiqued the first time around because the the loss was so recent, but this time around it was like open season on the dancers since it’s been like five years. And third, some routines are just epic and any re-creation is not going to live up to what we all remember. The bench routine with Heidi and Travis and Hometown Glory with Katee and Joshua are two such examples.
“Yay” for just one episode a week, “Boo” for the multiple breaks the show took to accommodate the Olympics and 4th of July. Between all of the time off and double eliminations I felt like I hardly got to know the dancers this season.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance and despite my quibbles I still think it’s one of the best reality shows on TV – so with that said, I’m just hoping they continue to make changes for the better. Until then, make sure to tune into the Season 9 finale on Tuesday September 18th at 8pm on FOX.
*Not nearly as off as the ill-conceived fall season in 2009 (season 6).