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By Victoria Looseleaf
So You Think You Can Dance revamped
Fans of dance on TV received a jolt in January, when Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer and judge of the Fox juggernaut So You Think You Can Dance, tweeted that the Thursday night results show would be canceled. But, says the English erstwhile choreographer/dancer, the changed format would actually produce more dance, not less, as the show begins its ninth season this month.
“Fox wanted a focus on one program, giving it two hours, as opposed to one hour each over two nights,” explains Lythgoe. He promises the show will be “jam-packed.”
As to the new structure, the producer says judges will have two episodes of performances to consider before eliminating dancers. “We’ll watch and get America’s vote, which we’ll know the next day, and put [that] perspective into our thoughts. The next week we’ll see them dance again and then it goes back to a normal show. We’ll have the bottom three couples and they’ll dance for their lives, if required, or we’ll have made a decision.”
Musical guest performances will be cut, says Lythgoe, because he’s more interested in the dance element, with each show still kicking off with a group performance.
While the challenge facing the dancers remains the same, another major change is being implemented: Each dancer will have his or her own telephone number, rather than the public voting for couples. Lythgoe says this is fairer, “because some dancers got through on the strength of their partners.”
Admitting that the show’s new format is still a work in progress, Lythgoe posits, “If we can think of other exciting things to do, we will. After all, it’s not the Bible yet,” he quips, “and even that got changed.”
What hasn’t changed is Lythgoe’s enthusiasm for the show, citing that though ratings have dipped, SYTYCD has maintained the most viewers of all the primetime shows in its time slot. “It’s one of the best loved programs on TV and has a very passionate audience. I’m still shocked at how much we have achieved over the last eight years.”
2011 SYTYCD finalists Clarice Ordaz and Jess LeProtto. Photo by Adam Rose, Courtesy FOX.