Tag Archives: Nigel Lythgoe

So You Think You Can Dance Season 5: The Finale Factor

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The Finale Factor

August 5th, 2009

While I accept any and all criticism of reality television as far as the sheer gluttony of the stuff that arrived on the airwaves over the past decade or so, I will say right now that the “Finale” is the reason the genre has continued to appeal to me. There is something about sheer uncertainty that few scripted programs can really match, as there is often no way to choreograph (eww, sorry) the twists and turns that could potentially happen. With shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, any small snafu could completely alter the power structure, leaving your expectations in tatters on the floor while an unexpected winner is crowned. That’s the kind of story that keeps me hooked on (good) reality television, and the kind of story that makes me believe the genre has a definite place.

However, for shows like So You Think You Can Dance and its musical counterpart, American Idol, there isn’t always that same sense of uncertainty. Sure, there’s always a chance that expectations can be defeated, but for the most part things have been narrowed to the point where the final performances are not a surprise, and where the result is more a foregone conclusion. Last year, I don’t think anyone believed that Joshua, with his combination of braces and some fantastic and memorable routines was beyond likeable, was going to lose, so the suspense was somewhat gone. On these shows, dancers give so many performances that there is a lot of empirical evidence for how audiences are responding and voting, and as a result one can feel like the finale is only going to cement what has already taken place.

All of this being said, I feel as if this fifth season finale of So You Think You Can Dance is an example of a finale that has only further complicated what has been a very difficult to read season. Most thought that Brandon and Janette, so strong throughout the competition, were going to sail into the finals, but both found themselves in the Bottom at Top 8 and Janette even went home. Evan, meanwhile, has lacked a single breakout performance, and yet has never fallen into the bottom. The top two girls, meanwhile, are Kayla the Partner Killer, who was regularly in the Bottom Three, and Jeanine, who carried Philip early in the competition before emerging as a powerhouse when it mattered most.

The result is a competition that’s too close to call, but based on the evening’s events I think we can say that this is a finale that will truly matter.

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Don’t Call it a Comeback: Dancing out of the Bottom Three on So You Think You Can Dance?

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Don’t Call it a Comeback

Season Five, Top 18 Performance Show

I’m not quite an authority on dancing, nor do I really have the endurance to really comment on every single one of the Top 9’s dances during tonight’s performane show. As a result, I’m going to focus on the most interesting element of the week for me, which is seeing how the two surviving couples from the Bottom Three (Asuka & Vitolio and Jonathan & Karla) manage to bounce back from rough first weeks, plus offer some general thoughts on who I liked, and how the night went overall.

What I found from this perspective was honestly quite interesting, as you see how the luck of getting the right dance combines with the producers’ efforts to provide a moving story, as well as the dancers themselves stepping up to the plate to try to stay alive. The judges don’t want dancers to be down and out this early in the competition, nor are they going to purposefully try to sink someone, so these dancers are fully capable of making a dramatic comeback, winning the hearts of the judges, and winning over America at the same time.

Whether these two couples have done that…well, I’m not quite so sure, as it’s kind of tough to make that call without understanding the show’s dynamics.

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Finale: Who Won So You Think You Can Dance Season Four?

“Season Finale: Results”

August 7th, 2008

After one of the most well-structured pieces of fan service I’ve seen in a reality finale, emphasizing reliving past dances, seasons and even careers for its judges, it’s come down to this.

Could Twitch emerge from a few Bottom Three placements to win the day? Can Courtney overcome her technical deficiency with her charm and determination? Is Katee’s technicall brilliance a hindrance or a benefit with voters? And will Joshua’s feel good story and versatility win over America?

The votes are in, and it’s hard to argue with the decision.

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Summer’s Guilty Pleasure: So You Think You Can Dance – Week One Performance Show

“Week One Performance Show”

Season Four

In every television viewer’s summer, there are three things to watch: those shows that are actually good, those shows that are awful but are the only thing on at a given time, and those shows that enter into the category of “Guilty Pleasure.” For me, in this final category, that show is FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance.

The reason is really quite simple: the contestants on the show can honestly answer “Yes” to the titular question, and the result is often a compelling assortment of engaging dance routines. Unlike the painful to watch Dancing with the Stars, which derives its value from celebrities embarrassing themselves and occasionally a decent dance or two, this is a show that is about succeeding in one’s profession and not about creating a marketing machine. These people are forced to embrace multiple styles of dance in a way that American Idol singers aren’t forced to diversify, and the result is far more compelling in many ways.

So while in past summers I haven’t quite embraced these urges fully, this year I’ve decided to give in: my floormates for the summer are way into the show, and I can’t help but be sucked in by their enthusiasm. So, let’s do this, but with two ground rules.

  1. I know absolutely nothing about dancing.
  2. Presume that every paragraph begins with “SHUT UP MARY MURPHY.”

And with that in consideration, let’s do this.

Rayven & Jamie [Hip Hop]

Rayven is a ballet dancer, while Jamie is a West Coast Swing dancer with a supportive girlfriend, and are performing a hip hop routine from Napolean and Tabitha. While I have no idea if their moves were any good, they were at least convincing as hip hop dancers. There was some partial nudity, a lot of quirky humour, and ultimately some interesting little set pieces. Nigel enjoyed it but isn’t sure it’s memorable, Mary Murphy shrieks and compares it to cotton candy, and Dan thinks that there wasn’t enough funk (Modular funk).

Likely Fate: Early in the show like this, they’ll struggle to get votes especially when combined with their lack of coverage in the early parts of the competition.

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