SYTYCD’s performance/results show is mostly performance

So You Think You Can Dance aired its first combined performance and results show last night, and the episode didn’t seem like a results show at all, filling most of its time with performances.

About 100 minutes of its 120 minutes were dedicated to dances and critiques from the judges, including Adam Shankman, who gets more grating every time he appears. Because the performances on SYTYCD are nearly always awesome, that works better than it would on any other shows, but it is quite repetitive to have the same format during each break: rehearsal footage, dance, judging, rehearsal footage, dance, judging, rehearsal footage, dance, judging.

There was some drama, as the judges ripped a choreographer, Christopher Scott, for not showcasing the dancers in one of his routines. That’s something the judges usually tiptoe around, but not last night. (He received an Emmy nomination today, so that probably mitigated the sting of their criticism.)

Once the performances ended, the bottom six were revealed, and then Nigel Lythgoe went into lecture mode to explain how the eliminations would work. Interestingly, the judges knew the results before the performances, which was a little weird, because it probably made it easier to judge people more harshly. They also consulted with the choreographers, which is smart. Apparently, the judges will sometimes request an additional dance, but having just watched new dances, they didn’t need additional information, so there was only product placement until the results.

Nigel Lythgoe tried to convince us that “there is nobody being voted off” and “we only save people,” but whatever. That’s like saying no one loses an election. (Nigel also told us that because the talent is so high this season, “it’s really important that we stay unemotional about this.” This from the guy who yells at morons on Twitter constantly.) Of the bottom six, the judges saved Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and Witney Carson, sending Alexa Anderson, Daniel Baker, Nick Bloxsom-Carter, and Janaya French home.

I’m still a fan and think there’s some ridiculous talent this season, and it nearly always delivers visually interesting performances, but again, two hours is a long time, and I think it’s going to need to shake up how it approaches that block every week.

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