Last night on SYTYCD Top 6 Part II results show Jose, Billy and Lauren were in the bottom 3. I was surprised by Lauren, and thought Adechike slipped through undeservedly this week. There was no way the judges were going to eliminate the last girl standing, so Jose's and Billy's fates were sealed.
The guest performances don't deserve recap, but Mia Michaels choreographed a mean opening number and Cat looked like a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and my Bubby in Boynton Beach. This may have been a new low.
Onto the season-long question of the week...
Is SYTYCD an equal platform for all styles of dance?
This is a question that's been on my mind since I first started watching the show three years ago. Nigel loves to talk up the show as an open stage for a diverse range of dance styles. And he's right. Since its inception, So You Think You Can Dance has featured: Contemporary, Jazz, Broadway, Hip Hop, Krump, Popping, Stepping, B-Boying, African dance, Bollywood, Samba, Paso Doble, Cha-Cha, Jive, 70's and 80's disco, Salsa, Tango, Quickstep, Viennese and Smooth Waltz, Mambo, Lindy Hop, Foxtrot, Rumba, Hustle and Two-Step. And I've probably even missed a few.
But, talking to people this week and analyzing past seasons' results data has revealed that not all dance styles are treated equal on SYTYCD.
What does the data show?
Let's start with some memorable WTF moments. How about season 4 when
All-Star contemporary / jazz dancer Courtney Galiano undeservedly beat out
ballroom dancer Chelsia Hightower (now on Dancing with the Stars) for the top
4? (After that my friend Jess - an avid fan - stopped voting.) And remind me why
season 5's Jannette Manrara - a salsa dancer from Miami and my favorite girl that
season - was abruptly voted off after not once previously being in the bottom 3
and never making a wrong move. Even the judges called her their favorite for
the crown. Finally, I'm sure everyone recalls the failed tap experiment of season
6 when three tappers made it to the top 20 only to all be eliminated by week 3.
But it's not just these few moments that prove my point. A look at data on who's
made it into the top 3 at the end of each season shows contemporary and hip
hop dancers are 3.5 times as likely to end up in the top 3 than a ballroom or
Why would this be?
For one thing, the very format of the show disadvantages certain dance styles
over others. The pairs dancing puts tap dancers at a disadvantage because
the show does not have pairs tap dancing. And as my friend Emily - a dancer
- pointed out, all trained dancers grow up taking tap, so there's no reason why
they shouldn't add tap to the pairs routines. On the flip side, the solos are unfair
for ballroom and salsa dancers whose styles demand a partner. It's like asking
a tennis player to play racquetball. Why not let these dancers have a stand-in
partner, just like in auditions?
The other element of the show that contributes to the lopsided results is the
voting. Because America votes, ultimately our likes and dislikes impact who
stays and who goes home, regardless of who is actually the best dancer. And as
a survey on Fox's SYTYCD website shows, Americans' favorite styles of dance
are, not surprisingly, contemporary and hip hop: