I’m worried about So You Think You Can Dance

So You Think You Can Dance ended its ninth season last night, selecting two winners for the first time, and I haven’t yet watched last night’s two-hour season finale. I probably will not. That’s really sad, because it’s such a strong competition, American Idol without most of the bullshit. It has a ridiculously strong host, Cat Deeley, who will hopefully win an Emmy on Sunday, and a lot of raw talent, from the dancers to the choreographers.

But this season has been a real bummer.

The show was hurt, badly, by the Olympics, for which it took a two-week break. That damaged its momentum, which was further wounded by the worst episode it’s ever aired: a tribute to Mia Michaels routines that reminded us only of how the current contestants, who we didn’t really know, couldn’t live up to the standards set by their predecessors.

I stopped watching after that point, only dipping in a few times. I had no investment in the dancers, and there was too much else on to grab my attention. I cringed every time I deleted an unwatched episode off my DVR.

Over the last 14 weeks, ratings have dropped. It’s faced increasing competition, and moved to Tuesdays these past two weeks, none of which helped. The results shows were cancelled this season, though Fox executive said that was not because of ratings. Still, this can’t be a good sign for the show’s future.

Speaking of the lack of results shows, the new single-episode format wasn’t awful, and worked well for what it was. Competition shows have gotten insanely bloated these past few years, and losing a results show isn’t the worst thing ever. The damning part is that SYTYCD had by far the best results shows: less filler, more performances, more consequences. I don’t necessarily miss the extra hour every week, but I do wonder if that would have kept me engaged more.

So You Think You Can Dance deserves to live on for another season, but its future no longer seems as certain as it should be.

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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.