Nigel Lythgoe, Chief Executive Producer and Permanent Judge of So You Think You Can Dance, never tries to hide his feelings.
When dismissing someone from the show that he believes hasn’t risen to the challenge of the competition the same way the other competitors have, he’s compassionate. He offers advice. He tries to help them understand what kind of dancer they are and why they’re being let go. But when he’s out-voted, he’s short and dismissive, as if the act of removing this person from the competition pains him so much that he just wants to distance himself from the moment as quickly as possible.
This has never been more apparent than tonight, when he had the unenviable duty of notifying Bianca Revels and Phillip Attmore that they had been voted off the show. He let Bianca down gracefully, taking his time with her and Noelle (who had joined Bianca in the bottom four). But when it came time to tell Phillip, he was shockingly quick and blunt.
Bianca and Phillip are both tap dancers. So You Think You Can Dance has never had tap dancers on the show before — and this season it had three. Watching them perform tonight, both in their choreographed routine and in their solo, it became clear (at least to this humble writer) that tap is a very specialized style of dance that doesn’t lend itself to other styles. Ryan Di Lello, for example, is a Latin dancer who’s background lent itself very well to the Argentinean tango he had to perform. It’s hard to imagine what style tap would lend itself to.
Of the two of them, I was sadder to see Bianca go, but they’ll both be missed — and if you don’t believe me, all you had to do was catch a glimpse of the other dancers waiting off stage. There wasn’t a dry eye amongst them when the losers were announced. And this was only the Top 18. We’ve got a long road ahead of us still.
As something of a side note, it occurred to me tonight that there is very little follow-up with the dancers after they leave the show. We know there’s a touring show for the Top 10, and we’ve seen a couple of the dancers return as choreographers, but what lies in store for “America’s Favorite Dancer?” Each American Idol season ends with some sort of musical contract, but what do the winners of So You Think You Can Dance win, other than a few fleeting moments of fame?