Not sending dancers home: a lame move on the So You Think You Can Dance judges’ part

So You Think You Can Dance had its first elimination show of its season last night, and after dragging out the elimination to include an “unprecedented” second dance from two of the at-risk dancers, the judges decided to keep all of the dancers and send four people home next week.

Even the show’s usually unflappable host, Cat Deeley, was baffled, writing on Twitter, “What the hell just happened?????” After asking two of the men, Mitchell and Robert, to dance again, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe finally said they weren’t sending anyone home, and just as my DVR cut off–the show ran over its allotted time because of all of these shenanigans–Nigel said two couples would leave next week.

That has the same effect as the American Idol judges’ save, but that’s not necessary on SYTYCD, where the judges decide who goes home. There was no reason at all to save everyone; Mitchell’s injury might have given them an excuse, but he was able to dance tonight, and if he wasn’t good enough, they should have sent him home.

Ultimately, it just felt like a cheap stunt and a disrespectful waste of our time for sitting through a results show, though at least SYTYCD’s results shows are actually entertaining and not just product placement filler. Yes, the dancers are all amazing. But they’re going to have to eliminate people, even if no one in the bottom three is worth of elimination.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.