So You Think You Can Dance kicked off their sweet 16th season Monday night on Fox, which means that it’s official – summer is here! I’m not going to lie, I get nervous when Nigel and company start tinkering with my favorite show. But this year, there is enough good to (so far) outweigh the bad. Let’s round up the highs and lows real quick.
- The judges panel is perfect. Nigel and Mary are joined by fresh faces Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval and famed choreographer Laurieann Gibson. We all know D-Trix from season three of SYTYCD and Quest Crew on America’s Best Dance Crew and Laurieann is an amazing choreographer who has worked with Gaga and Beyonce. She’s already had so many productive things to say and I love her energy!
- Cat Deeley is back and she looks more radiant every year. I need some of her vitamins.
- They’ve got some new 360 degree camera technology that allows us to see dancers frozen in air, which is pretty cool.
- The dancers are great so far!
- We’ve got a flashy new stage!
- We’ve got a flashy new stage. Nigel is really proud of this new stage and it is very high-tech, glossy and fabulous. For me, it takes away from what I love about the show, which was the stripped down dancers in their element, baring their souls. It just all feels very produced now and we’ve lost some of the organic emotion that makes the show great.
- The new camera stuff is cool, but let’s keep it down guys. It’s great, but we don’t need to see every dancer suspended in mid-air. It’s cool a couple of times. The end.
- With the stage in the round comes a live studio audience for the audition process. This energy might be great for the dancers, but it’s distracting for viewers. Every move elicits audience oohs and aahs and takes me out of the moment. I like the quiet and the reverence of dance sometimes. Maybe that’s boring but I also think it brings the honesty and authenticity that fans love about this show. And the camera showing me how the studio audience is reacting to the dancers just isn’t necessary. This is something I hated on American Idol, when they spent more time showing me how J Lo felt about everything. We want to see the dancers.
- Fox has chosen one of the most (if not the most) competitive time slots of the summer to air a show that struggles to get viewers. I’m certainly no network exec but this makes no sense to me.
Like I said, so far the good outweighs the bad and I only say that because I’m hopeful that more money going into the set might mean we get more seasons. Fingers crossed!
Oh, and the dancers! Here’s my quick take on the eight that got golden tickets, in order of how much I like them.
- Sarah “SMAC” McCreanor – 26 year old from Brisbane Australia (Jazz)
Mary called her the Lucille Ball of jazz and I love her. She’s sassy and has crazy hair and her jazz textures are spectacular. That’s a new word I learned tonight — “jazz texture” — so I wanted to use it. Anyway, she’s great and already my favorite!
- Dezi Saenz – 18 year old Hip Hop dancer from Long Beach, California
Self proclaimed girly-girl who gets her hair and nails done and can hit it like I don’t think I’ve seen a girl hit. If she can carry herself through choreography, she’ll be fun to watch.
- Gino Cosculluela – 18 year old Contemporary dancer from Miami
Gino gave Maddie Ziegler her first kiss on Dance Moms and I could have gone my whole life without seeing that. But Gino is also an amazing, strong dancer and he brings a lot of emotion to his performance. I think if he lightens up and can pull through the NappyTabs round, he’s a lock for top 10.
- Matthew Deloch – 20 year old Contemporary dancer from Gonzales, Louisiana
Matthew returns after auditioning for Season 14. Maybe I’m being judgy because I don’t remember him but I didn’t find his performance memorable tonight. He’s also a beautiful dancer with a lot of power and strength but I didn’t connect with his audition tonight. Hopefully he can shine at the Academy because he seems like he has a lot of potential; he just doesn’t have the sparkle yet.
- Stephanie Sosa (19) and Ezra Sosa (18) – two ballroom dancers from Provo, Utah (Jive)
Stephanie returns after nearly making it into the top ten last year, only this time she brought her little brother. They were plenty entertaining but I felt like they weren’t technically perfect like we’ve seen and the chemistry wasn’t there (as it should not be really). That said, a brother and sister would be fun to watch but I’m not sure they’ll both make it.
Jesse Skyes, Dayna Madison and Benjamin Castro were also presented with golden tickets in a teaser montage. The fact that we didn’t get to watch their whole auditions just made me angry. Cut all the “coming up next” minutes and get us a few more auditions would you, please and thank you.
I’m sure we’ll get used to the new things and the judges are already bringing a much needed update to the table. Can’t wait to see what else season 16 has in store.
So You Think You Can Dance airs Mondays at 9/8c on Fox.