Talk about putting the spring back in your step. All last week, “So You Think You Can Dance” exec producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe teased out some bold changes for the Fox show’s seventh season via Twitter: Only one contestant goes home per week! The dancing partners change every week! There will be no Top 20! Less than four dancers compete in the finale!
Today, Nigel and Fox finally announced the reason for all these big-time changes: Instead of dancing with each other, the season’s top 10 contestants will dance with a rotating, as-yet-unannounced all-star roster of “SYTYCD” alumni. Boom.
What does this mean? Well, in the YAY! column, it gives the show a desperately needed booster shot of new energy precisely when it was beginning to look and feel kinda tired and creaky. Long-time “SYTYCD” fans can delight in the return of old favorites — I’m personally pulling for the return of season 2’s Ivan, season 3’s Pasha, season 4’s Katee, and season 5’s Janette.
And with only 10 contestants matched each week with a highly talented partner, the caliber of dancing in general by all rights should Grand Jeté over all previous six seasons. (Hat tip to fellow “SYTYCD” expert Kate Ward for the ballet reference.)
In the hrmmmm column, however… I’m left wondering if the show is stealing away one of its essential delights: Watching a partnership blossom between two untested dancers, like Ivan and Allison on season 2, Katee and Joshua on season 4, or Ashleigh and Jakob on last fall’s wobbly season 6. And in a funny way, “SYTYCD” has now positioned itself as a kind of inverse of its rival “Dancing With the Stars” — the experts are the stars now, making it that much harder for the contestants to grab that spotlight.
Still, all told, these changes have me far more keyed-up for the next season of “SYTYCD” this summer (which premieres Thursday, May 27) than I am for the uninspired dirge that’s quickly taking hold of sister show “American Idol.” But what say you, P-Dubs? Do all these changes make you keen again for “So You Think You Can Dance”? And which “SYTYCD” alums do you most want to see return?