For the past 11 years, FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance” has been the standout dance competition series on TV. Not to be confused with “Dancing With the Stars,” the series has presented many personalities and dance styles to the world. It was “SYTYCD” that introduced audiences to Russian Folk and African Tribal styles which aren’t very common on shows such as this.
With the series heading into its 13th season, however, things have become a bit stagnant with the program’s format and formula. Sure, Paula Abdul and Jason DeRulo were brought in to spice up the judges table. With Mary Murphy gone, the lack of the hot tamale train can definitely be felt.
It was in Season 12 where contestants and All Stars teamed up in a manner different than has been seen in previous episodes and now, it looks like the series is taking a note from “Masterchef” — another FOX reality competition series — and will shift its focus to the kids.
Titled, “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation” (Captain Picard not involved), the show will present contestants eight to 13 years of age along with the show’s All-Stars for results one can only assume will fall under these two categories: adorably awesome or a cringeworthy trainwreck.
Just think about this for a second. Other series notable for depicting children in such a performance manner — “Toddlers in Tiaras” and “Dance Moms” comes to mind — end up coming off more exploitative than celebratory when it comes to showcasing one’s talent.
The types of dance that’ll be featured this year will include contemporary (of course), tap (Nigel’s favorite), hip-hop, ballroom, animation, and breaking.
How exactly will this work? It’s really had to say at this point as the notion of a hip hop routine between an 8 year old dance prodigy and All-Star Twitch sounds flippin’ awesome. However, there’s a sort of beauty and maturity needed in styles like contemporary and this age range leaves a lot to be doubted in execution.
As one might assume, the child contestants will be teaming with — not against — the show’s All-Stars to pursue the title of America’s Favorite Dancer.
While the format is new, the faces will be familiar as Cat Deeley will once again host the show. Nigel Lithgoe, Paula Abdul, and Jason Derulo will be back as judges, as well. It’s probably safe to say there will be the usual cameo judges like Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Christina Applegate.
What it comes down to, really, is execution. A shift like this can make or break a series and teaming child dancers with seasoned professionals can be a recipe for disaster. Will the judges be easier on the kids than the are on the adult contestants from previous seasons?
Also, it’s not an entertaining notion to watch a kid slip and fall during a performance. Cocky adults, however, are a totally different story.
Auditions for Season 13 are set to begin in Los Angeles on Feb. 27 before heading to Chicago and New York. For some of these young hopefuls, it’s possible the show — which has been around since 2005 — has been around longer than they have.
Will adding youth to the competition series help it bounce back or is “So You Think You Can Dance” in its death throes? Find out as Season 13 premieres on Monday, May 30 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.