I've been covering "So You Think You Can Dance" this season for the LA Times, and it's my first season watching the show. I didn't know what to expect when I started tuning in--I came off covering "Dancing with the Stars" and I've shamefully watched every season of "American Idol."
Well, this show is maybe the best competition show on TV. Why isn't it followed as rabidly as "Idol," or "America's Next Top Model"? I have some theories:
1.) The contestants are actually talented. These dancers work their asses off, performing a handful of new routines each week. We see them getting thrown around during rehearsals, panting after their performances and generally doing what they do better than most people od anything. Apparently this is not cool. It's lame to be good at something and work hard at it. Forgetting the lyrics to songs is much more entertaining.
2.) The judges know what they're talking about. Yeah, some of them have their little idiosyncracies but they all have background in dance, obviously study the contestants and, get this, give actual constructive criticism. But where is the incoherence? The "dawg"s? The maternal hugs and weeping? Judges are meant to be funny/pretty/mean, not actually insightful.
3.) The contestants look good and have good personalities. They're dancers, so obviously, they've got great physiques, and as seasoned performers, they know how to be themselves onstage. This probably doesn't appeal to the unattractive viewers at home and the wallflowers. At the very least, we require more backtalk. "You're just jealous that your hair can't do this, Nigel!"
4.) The emcee is attractive, charming, witty without being obnoxious. It's amazing that she's even on television. Also, she's too damn tall.
5.) Music is played on the show that's not by Whitney Houston or Celine Dion or Josh Groban. Huh? What?
These are some hurdles that the show will clearly need to overcome if it has any hope of reaching a wider audience. Get crappier, So You Think You Can Dance! Now!