Category: SYTYCD

FOX reported on Tuesday that former So You Think You Can Dance judge and ballroom dancer/choreographer Mary Murphy will be rejoining the judges panel for the show’s upcoming 8th season. The high-pitched judge is best known for her shrill screams and for coining the phrase “hot tamale train.” Murphy gave the following statement: “I am thrilled and already dancing in my seat to be back as a permanent judge this season, which I’m sure will be the best ever.”

Murphy started out on the show as a guest judge and choreographer in season 1 and was promoted to permanent judge for seasons 3 through season 6. For season 7, she was replaced on the panel by longtime So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Mia Michaels, who left in November after just one season as a judge. “Last year when I was sitting on the [judges] panel, I knew it wasn’t the right fit because I felt too glossy sitting on the panel,” Michaels told E! Online in November. “I heard they’re bringing Mary Murphy back and I’m really happy for her. I’ve sat in that chair, but I feel like that was Mary’s chair.”

Personally, I am delighted. Mary may be loud, but she is also fun and so invested in the show and the dancers. Furthermore, her critiques are always on point, constructive, and find the right balance between critical and congratulatory. SYTYCD was lacking her oomph last season. Michaels, though a brilliant choreographer, is a very harsh judge and her talents are better served in the dance studio choreographing brilliant contemporary routines for the contestants.

Co-creator, executive producer, and permanent judge Nigel Lythgoe expressed his content at welcoming Mary back. “I am delighted to have Mary back on the show. Her expertise in dance, coupled with her warmth, compassion and humor, make her an excellent judge and fun to work with,” said Lythgoe.

Rounding out the judges panel is film producer, director, and choreographer Adam Shankman (Step Up franchise, Hairspay, A Walk To Remember) who was promoted from guest judge on the show to permanent judge in 2009.

So You Think You Can Dance will kick off auditions for Season 8 on Feb. 2 in Salt Lake City. The show will also host auditions in Los Angeles and Charlotte, N.C. on Feb. 25 and March 1, respectively.


As Emmy-worthy host Cat Deeley exclaimed Wednesday night on SYTYCD: the “Curse of Season 7” (aka injury) struck again for the third week in a row! Yes, after a serious injury took frontrunner Alex Wong out of the competition and left everyone in tears, followed by quiet contender Ashley last week, injury claimed another victim on Survivor: The Dance Off, as the show has been renamed by ExecProd Nigel Lythgoe. I almost could not believe it when in the opening sequence of the performance show on Wednesday I counted only 5 dancers and no Billy…why oh why?!

Billy Bell suffered a knee injury and though he was cleared by a doctor to dance this week, he smartly opted not to fearing that it would exacerbate the injury and jeopardize his future on the show, as well as, most importantly, his dance career. By resting his knee and giving it some time to heal, he would be able to perform in next week’s show without problem… if he made it through this week. The judges, harboring some contempt that I felt was uncalled for, underhandedly criticized Billy for CHOOSING not to dance.

Billy automatically fell in the Bottom 3, joined by b-boy Jose and the beautiful Robert. Despite landing in the Bottom 3 frequently, the judges could not have, in all fairness, sent Robert home. Robert attacked his solos and he delivered some great performances this week, although perhaps not the most memorable; personally I really appreciate a man who can samba like a pro! The judges could potentially vote Billy off because they disapproved of his decision, but why would they when Jose is so clearly unfit among all the brilliant dancers left? But the surprise of this week was not the Curse of Season 7 striking again, it was the judges’ shocking verdict in the results show—in an unprecedented move, the judges decided not to send anyone home this week.

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The summer is almost here and primetime is exploding with season finales, which means there’s not much in the way of premieres this week…except for The Bachelorette and So You Think You Can Dance! We’ll finally get to see SYTYCD put into action it’s much-talked about exciting new format featuring All-Star contestants from past seasons! In less exciting news, the cancelled FOX series about reincarnation Past Life begins burning off the remaining episodes this Friday. That’s right, the networks are getting lazy and giving us the second and third-rate crap that’s too low-performing for sweeps. So I recommend re-watching many of the explosive season finales, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, that captivated us to the point of tears, screams, and anxiety.

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If you read my March entry that explained the drastic changes SYTYCD will undergo to make Season 7 the best season ever, then you are aware that Dance executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe announced the most exciting change of them all – the introduction of the All-Stars! The All-Star Pool consists of America’s favorite dancers from the 6 previous seasons to act as rotating partners for this year’s top 10. Each ‘All-star’ specializes in a specific genre of dance. It only took Nigel three weeks (since March 30th to be exact) to reveal the entire cast of all-stars for Season 7 one by one via his Twitter account @dizzyfeet but alas the time has come!

The full cast of returning finalists from past seasons along with their dance genre:

Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Season 4—Popping, Locking, Krump

Comfort Fedoke, Season 4—Hip Hop

Courtney Galiano, Season 4—Contemporary

Anya Garnis, Season 3—Latin Ballroom

Lauren Gottlieb, Season 3—Hip Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary

Neil Haskell, Season 3—Contemporary

Allison Holker, Season 2—Jazz, Contemporary, Broadway & Cultural

Mark Kanemura, Season 4—Contemporary

Pasha Kovalev, Season 3—Standard & Latin Ballroom

Kathryn McCormick, Season 6—Jazz, Contemporary, Broadway and Cultural

Ade Obayomi, Season 5—Contemporary and Classical

Dominic “D-trix” Sandoval, Season 3—Hip Hop

A couple of thoughts: On a good note, the Ballroom power couple Anya and Pasha who occasionally choreograph for Dance is back though unfortunately not dancing together. The All-Star cast is quite heavy on seasons 3 and 4, it only has 1 each from Seasons 2, 5, and 6, and none from season 1! I just think it should be a little more spread out. Also, I’m upset that Nigel ignored my request to include Season 5’s Brandon Bryant and Season 6’s Jakob both of whom turn me on with their beautiful contemporary dancing. Fortunately, Nigel mentioned that he’ll bring on other favorites for the next season. Other than that, I’m really excited to see the highest quality dancing ever on the upcoming season, which will air during the summer—this information I obtained in January through a personal conversation with judge Mary Murphy when I saw her perform in Burn The Floor on Broadway!

Nigel recently clarified via tweet the speculation that the All-Star pros will choreograph like on DWTS: “The All-Stars will NOT Choreograph. They will only dance in their own specific styles. Partners are of the opposite sex and change weekly.” Unlike DWTS, the contestants will rotate with the professional partners based on the dance genre they are assigned. Now here’s an interesting observation, there are 12 All-Stars, 6 males and 6 females, but there will only be 10 contestants that they will be partnered with and 1 will be eliminated each week. This means that each professional will not have to dance each week but rather take turns as the contestants dwindle.

Are you excited by the list of All-Stars? Anybody who you wish made the cut? Are you more excited to see the All-Stars or the contestants on the new season of Dance?

SYTYCD has received a complete restructuring adopting a format similar to Dancing With The Stars with 10 contestants competing each season, only 1 contestant eliminated each week, and introducing professional partners called the All-Stars, which are top contestants from the previous 6 seasons of Dance. Sound fascinating? Scared to death about the future of SYTYCD? Confused as all hell? Read on…

A couple of weeks ago, FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance exec producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe took to Twitter to tease that some “shocking changes” were coming to the best dance competition show on TV. All week Nigel Lythgoe has held all Dance lovers in the palm of his hands as he announced drastic changes (one each day for the past week via his Twitter account @dizzyfeet) on the upcoming season that will change the very being of Dance as we know it. At first, the changes piece by piece didn’t seem to make any sense (how can only 1 dancer be eliminated each week, that would leave a dancer partnerless every other week?!) but once all the pieces were put together I saw a whole new vision for Dance, of how even more amazing Dance can be.

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