Welcome back to a show that matured from low-rated filler to a visual encyclopedia of an art form. Now, minus Mary
Now that the national nightmare called “American Idol” is over and the country is busy forgetting who Lee DeWyze is, I suggest we turn our attention to a far worthier contest, in which people push their bodies to the limit, tight outfits still abound, and the judges actually give constructive criticism (except for Nigel). “So You Think You Can Dance” is back, signaling the start of summer and my descent into wish-fulfillment-land, where I’m coordinated, talented and graceful. There are a lot of changes afoot for “SYTYCD’s” seventh season, after an ill-advised fall season in 2009, which got lost in the crush of every other season premiere on the planet and felt overexposed anyway, with the live tour being promoted and season 5 winner Jeanine Mason still freshly minted.
But we’re back on track! Mary Murphy, of the interminable scream from hell, is being replaced by Mia Michaels — a significant improvement that means the dancers are going to get invaluable insight into their craft if they can decipher her esoteric tangents. Director and choreographer Adam Shankman is returning as well, bringing levity and L.A. sheen. I love it when a dancer moves him to tears, because even with his super-tan I can tell it’s genuine, that he can’t control it. And then there’s Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe, who’s the same as ever: a perfectly honest pervert.
Other changes to the structure of the show include: “SYTYCD” all-stars from past seasons will be partnering the contestants every week; there will be 10 competitors instead of 20; and only one dancer will be eliminated per results show. I’ll let you know if I think some of these changes are leaning a bit too closely to “Dancing With the Stars” territory, resulting in the gouging out of my eyes. I get it, the producers and network are looking for ways to tighten up and freshen up and avoid the blahs that weighed down “American Idol” over the last 100 years. I trust them, so I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’m wary of any encroaching cheeseballery.
We can expect the audition process to last for a couple more weeks, and then the formula gets turned on its head as they pick a mere 10 finalists out of thousands of truly gifted people they’ve seen. There are dozens of shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “Minute to Win It” that blend a modicum of skill with a touch of Stupid Human Tricks, but competitions that showcase the diversity of dance are pitifully scarce. That there are so few opportunities for dancers to achieve any kind of recognition on a national scale underscores the importance of a show that started as a low-rated piece of filler and matured into a visual encyclopedia of an art form. I’m thrilled this show is back.
So here’s what I learned from Thursday night’s audition show: I love pimply-faced teenage boys in Reservoir-Dogs-suits who dance like their hearts have been broken; Latin ballroom, when done perfectly, makes me tingle in my naughty bits; girls with boobs are atypical in the industry; a shirtless man skillfully leaping is always a good idea; people, god bless ‘em, are seriously deluded about their own abilities, to the point that pity gives way to derision; and the original version of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” is totally the jam. Until next week!
More Related Stories
- How Dan Savage lost it
- Nancy Jo Sales on L.A. celeb robbers: "The Bling Ring kids were depressed"
- “Arrested Development,” hurry up and get here so you can stop being so annoying
- Must-do's: What we like this week
- Josh Ritter makes his "Blood on the Tracks"
- I don't hate millennials anymore!
- What's 2013's "Gone Girl"? Here are this summer's best reads
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
- Vivica A. Fox tapes anti-gun PSA in front of poster for her movie
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Mariah Carey's rambling, cursing, dress-popping "Good Morning America" concert
- Fox's new reality TV show threatens regular people with unemployment
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Steamy lesbian-sex movie has Cannes abuzz
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11