"So You Think You Can Dance" continues to do well with viewers this summer, landing in the top 10 shows with the coveted 18-49 audience on a regular basis. The Fox reality competition series follows the footsteps of amateur hoofers hoping to make it in show biz. "SYTYCD" has also proved to be a consistent winner with the Emmy Awards, taking home the choreography prize the last three years.
Tracy Watson of the Wall Street Journal does a superb job tracking the show's high kicks and missteps with TV's top honors over the years. Her starting point is last week's episode, in which executive producer Nigel Lythgoe was wowed by one routine in particular. As Tracy notes, "After contestant Alex Wong (a ballet dancer) and All-Star Twitch performed a hip-hop number that had the audience and judges on their feet, Nigel gushed, 'If this routine and you are not up for an Emmy with [choreographers] Napoleon [D'umo] and Tabitha [D'umo] next year, I don't know why not.' "
Tracy then details the track record of "SYTYCD," which has won four of its nine Emmy bids for best choreography over the second, third and fourth seasons. In 2007, there was a three-way tie as "SYTYCD" took two Emmys and "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" also won, leaving "Dancing With the Stars" the sole loser. In both 2008 and 2009, "SYTYCD" repeated, albeit with just one win each time and sharing the most recent victory with the 81st Academy Awards. Because of the awards eligibility period, seasons five and six will both be vying for recognition at this year's Emmys.
For Tracy, "Three numbers that have won in past years (excepting a Wade Robson group number in 2007) have all been very lyrical, very emotional performances. In 2008, an upbeat jazz routine choreographed by Mandy Moore that lands on most lists of favorite 'SYTYCD' performances and a Shane Sparks hip-hop were shot down in favor of a slower jazz number from Wade."
"In 2009, a romantic and sexy contemporary piece from Tyce Diorio beat out what I call Mia Michael’s 'door routine,' a smoking-hot Argentine tango choreographed by former contestant Dmitry Chaplin (and) a bit surprisingly, a wildly popular Tabitha and Napoleon hip-hop, danced to 'Bleeding Love.' "
Among the shows "SYTYCD" has bested has been "Dancing With the Stars." That ABC hit pairs professional dancers with celebrities. This spring's season 10 lineup included Olympic figure skating champion Evan Lysacek. While he lost in the final to Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger, three other Olympic champs have been crowned champ: speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno (season 4), figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi (season 6) and gymnast Shawn Johnson (season 8). However, none of their Olympic gold has rubbed off on the show, which has lost the choreography Emmy race for four years running beginning in 2006 when, despite three nominations, it was bested by "High School Musical."
Besides that embarrassing shutout in the choreography category, "DWTS" has lost the reality competition title four years running to "The Amazing Race." And "Dancing With the Stars" emcee Tom Bergeron has lost the first two Emmy races for reality show host to Jeff Probst of "Survivor."
Photo: "So You Think You Can Dance" logo. Credit: Fox