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So You Think You Can Dance: renewed but tired

So You Think You Can Dance has been renewed, Nigel Lythgoe announced during the finale last night, which also featured a routine during which he and judge Mary Murphy danced to “Let’s Get it On.” The Fox dance competition’s return for an 11th season follows a somewhat surprising December renewal last year, following a less-than-strong 2012 season.

While I remain impressed by the dancers’ and choreographers’ skills–never mind their insane schedule and strong production values for the package in which their talents are presented–I have lost interest.

I barely watched this summer, in part because two hours a week felt like too much for too little payoff. That same-episode elimination format has its strengths and weaknesses, but I think it’s too long, especially for a show that really doesn’t have a strong narrative arc.

There are really amazing dances, yes, but it’s just that over and over and over again, once the audition rounds conclude. And because those follow the well-worn rut established by American Idol, it all feels far more familiar than it should for a series that finds incredible talent every season.

So You Think You Can Dance doesn’t need gimmicks or artificial drama (ahem, clip package below). Does it need new judges? New choreographers? Fewer all-stars? More than just big group numbers and two-person dances? All of the above? Overall, what it needs is more of a sense of surprise and consequence.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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