Via Twitter, producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe revealed this week that "So You Think You Can Dance" will be returning to Fox for a ninth season -- but this time, without a results show. "Fox [has] cancelled the results show so I have to change the format of #SYTYCD," he wrote. "At least we have [a ninth] season at the end of May."
Not that Lythgoe was complaining, mind you. "I'm certainly not mad at FOX they have supported #SYTYCD FOR 9 seasons," he tweeted. "With the help of Mike Darnell [Fox's president of Alternative Entertainment]. I think we have some great new ideas."
While Lythgoe might be putting a happy face on the situation (it's likely that he needs to -- ratings for the show have been dropping, so it could be argued that half a show is better than none at all), what this means for viewers (and voters) is up in the air. Lacking that extra day to tally votes, it's unlikely that the show will be able to eliminate a dancer (or a dancing couple) until the next week's episode -- that is, unless the search for America's favorite dancer gets a shift to the judges' favorite dancer (not likely). Still, waiting a full week to get results seems like a small price to pay for the ultimate benefit to viewers -- less filler.
Like so many competition reality shows, "So You Think You Can Dance" managed to regularly drag out what could have been a ten minute elimination to a full episode of agonizing programming, stuffed full of guest performances, judge chit chat and many, many things that had nothing to do with sending the bottom one or two dancers home. Lythgoe isn't wrong to be putting a happy face on things -- if he's lucky, this change could reinvigorate an aging series by picking up the pace and leaving the non-essentials on the cutting room floor.
This could even be a good thing to the people most directly affected by the change -- the competing dancers themselves. Instead of having to stare glassy-eyed into the middle distance as Cat Deeley tells one after another whether they are safe or whether they are in jeopardy (and, finally, gives one dancer or couple the boot), they can get the news in short order and continue on (or go home). What's grueling for us as viewers wanting instant gratification is surely hellish for dancers who feel their entire careers are hanging by a thread. Let's hope quick and merciful eliminations are just one happy side effect of the new (and possibly improved) "So You Think You Can Dance."
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