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The Judges: Nigel and ... Whoever Else They're Inflicting on Us This Season

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Sigh. I'm not a Paula hater: she certainly has the dance credentials. But I am not looking forward to a season of her patented non-critique critiques. "You look gorgeous tonight." Blech. 

 

Being ancient, I have no idea what Derulo might or might bring to the game.

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But her extensive dance background is what makes her non-critiques so frustrating. She's not some random celebrity guest judge (ahem, Carly Rae Jepsen). She is a legit dancer so she has the knowledge and vocabulary to offer technical feedback but instead she just blathers about the superficial like how the dancer looks.

Jason DeRulo was an okay guest judge last year but keep in mind that the bar is set pretty low for guest judges in my mind. He made one or two decent comments which isn't enough to justify sitting his ass at the judging table all season. He has tap training so he and Nigel will probably lavish praise on the token tapper who makes it into the top 20.

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But her extensive dance background is what makes her non-critiques so frustrating. She's not some random celebrity guest judge (ahem, Carly Rae Jepsen). She is a legit dancer so she has the knowledge and vocabulary to offer technical feedback but instead she just blathers about the superficial like how the dancer looks.

 

Agreed. Back in ye olden days of yore, when MTV showed music videos and very little else, Paula Abdul was showcased as a dancer and choreographer on a number of popular videos. And she was amazing! So she's not like some famous-for-being-famous Kardashian or Real Housewife, she's got a real track record in the industry. But she certainly doesn't talk like it. And that's both sad and frustrating.

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She got famous when her pop career took off, but she also choreographed a ton of stuff back in the day. Some of the more recognizable: the keyboard scene in Big, Coming to America, American Beauty, Can't Buy Me Love, and several of Janet Jackson's videos like Nasty, Control, When I Think of You, and What Have You Done for Me Lately? So she clearly isn't some hack faking her way into becoming a judge on a dance show. She really does have the training and experience which is why it drives me crazy when she uses NONE of that in her critiques.

 

Ha, I just realized that all three of this season's head judges are tappers! How could I have forgotten that Paula Abdul was a tapper? DUH! Straight up now tell me!

 

ETA: Some of Paula's past work (there are several videos so I put them under a spoiler cut so that people who don't want to watch won't have to scroll past a bunch of videos):

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cr7QMQwrioU

 

 

 

 

Bonus: Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul rehearsing:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPqfp5d7EAM

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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Jason Derulo is repulsive. I can't believe they chose him. From his treating of Jordin Sparks, to him degrading women he's just low-life.

 

I'll have to see about Paula, but my standards are pretty low here.

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Does Jason Derulo even dance? Why was he the judge? Also, why was Twitch a judge during the LA callback week? He might be a great hip-hop dancer, but I don't think he's experienced enough to have mature opinions about other styles and other people's dancing.

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Thanks for the judges clip. It gave me a bit more background on Jason D at least. Seems like Nigel is hoping for a complete reboot of the show. One aimed at a generation beyond the ones hooked by the show back when it started. I am sceptical, but I'll watch and hope for the best. My fear is that Nigel, in particular, won't be able abandon his meddling, or perhaps I should say his manipulating, ways and my irritation with the judging will dominate my viewing experience.

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ETA: Some of Paula's past work (there are several videos so I put them under a spoiler cut so that people who don't want to watch won't have to scroll past a bunch of videos):

 

Thanks for the clips above, ElectricBoogaloo.  Sometimes I don't remember if Paula ever did actual work or not.  Great to see the reminder in the rehearsal clip with Janet Jackson. 

It makes me really, really want to see a judges' number with Paula and WADE Robson.  I would probably watch all season just to get to that point.

 

 

My fear is that Nigel, in particular, won't be able abandon his meddling, or perhaps I should say his manipulating, ways and my irritation with the judging will dominate my viewing experience.

 

Nigel's ways have very rarely irritated me to the extent it has others.  I've always figured, his house, his rules.  Vapid judges' comments do bother me, though.  In that sense, I think Nigel is usually better than the rest.

 

I still haven't really forgiven him for all the awful Sex auditions in the early years, however. 

 

Seems like Nigel is hoping for a complete reboot of the show.

 

Sorely needed.  I hope it's interesting.

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Seems like Nigel is hoping for a complete reboot of the show.

Sorely needed.  I hope it's interesting.

 

I agree that it's needed, but will it be enough given that American Idol is going off the air? SYTYCD may draw enough as a summer show to stay on the air independent of AI, but the fact that the parent show is ending does not bode well. 

Edited by Mertseger

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What happened to Mary?

There are a few links about this starting here. Her contract wasn't renewed.

Edited by dcalley

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By losing Mary, I fear that we've lost the last shred of hope for true ballroom on the show. The ballroom choreographers will continue to water down routines, but now noone on the panel will be able to call it out.

Or, the opposite will be true, a ballroom routine will be very challenging or intricate, but without an expert to point it out, it will be underappreciated.

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Nigel's comments on the new format:

 

 

I have had a number of complaints, which happens every year by the way, regarding the change in the format of SYTYCD. Nothing has really changed yet, except for the fact no-one at this stage has had to do any choreography. That happens in Vegas. After that in the top 20 everyone must be prepared to do all styles as usual, including ballroom (and I'd also like to include tap this year.) Instead of a male and female going home it will be 1 stage and 1 street. The finale will be fought by 2 Stage v 2 Street. The individual with the highest vote will be declared the winner and their Team Captain can claim victory. In truth there is very little difference apart from the possibility of an all male or all female finale. I'm quite prepared to concede if I'm wrong in making the small changes to the format at the end of the series but certainly not at this early stage. As a matter of fact Vegas was so exciting I think I was right! Anyway, I believe if you're not prepared to be wrong you will never create anything original!

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Nigel's comments up there actually make me hate it a little less than I did, although I think the added crowning of the Team Captain is likely a bit much. But I don't think I really have a big problem with dividing things along different lines than gender. A few seasons ago, when Amy & Fikshun won, I actually kind of wished it could have been Amy and Jasmine (Something about Fikshun just always weirded me out), so I'll be interested to see how this all plays out. I'm just glad for the reassurance that yes, all dancers will do all styles.

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Reading that explanation from Nigel makes me feel a lot better actually. How many of us have complained in the past about eliminations being 1 man and 1 woman when maybe 2 men were the weakest or 2 women? And there have also been many complaints that there should be allowed the possibility of an all male or female finale. Seems like this new set-up will allow for all these tweaks. I still don't like the team captain idea, but at least 50% of that is because I'm tired of seeing Travis and Twitch. Since Travis is going to be a team captain, does that mean he won't be choreographing this season?

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I've never much liked Travis although I do like a lot of his choreo, but I've always loved Twitch and I have to agree, I feel done with both of them.  There is a tendency in this reality shows to try to make the permanent employees MORE important than the contestants.  I guess because they're more controllable (or in this case, is it in order to control the contestants even more closely?).  I'm not in favour of it - I like more spontaneity; it's more disarming. And I sure am sick of Travis and Twitch.

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Reading that explanation from Nigel makes me feel a lot better actually. How many of us have complained in the past about eliminations being 1 man and 1 woman when maybe 2 men were the weakest or 2 women? And there have also been many complaints that there should be allowed the possibility of an all male or female finale. Seems like this new set-up will allow for all these tweaks. I still don't like the team captain idea, but at least 50% of that is because I'm tired of seeing Travis and Twitch. Since Travis is going to be a team captain, does that mean he won't be choreographing this season?

Of course, this still leaves the possibility that the two weakest are on the same team, so we'll still have that problem; it just won't be gender-based. I think I'd like to see a season where they didn't divide the group in two at all. Just send home the weakest however many each week, regardless of who they are, what style of dance they do, or any other way you can think to divide a group.

 

And I hope Travis will still choreograph. I know lots of people are beyond over him, but I could be perfectly content if only dance I ever got to watch again was choreographed by Travis — especially if danced by Amy and Tucker.

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Of course, this still leaves the possibility that the two weakest are on the same team, so we'll still have that problem; it just won't be gender-based. I think I'd like to see a season where they didn't divide the group in two at all. Just send home the weakest however many each week, regardless of who they are, what style of dance they do, or any other way you can think to divide a group.

I was going to mention the same thing.  I agree that it should be the weakest or the two with the lowest votes regardless of their group.  I read on idolforums that there is going to be twitter voting.  Ugh on that since I live on the West Coast.

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I miss Mary.

Although I have to admit she did get a bit over the top.  I loved her on the Canadaian show when she guested. She and Luther Brown and Blake were really funny

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Have there been any serious disagreement between the judges this season? It seems like the judges pretty much agree on everything. It almost looks rehearsed.

Edited by scowl

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Have there been any serious disagreement between the judges this season? It seems like the judges pretty much agree on everything. It almost looks rehearsed.

Nigel didn't want the engaged guy or the girl that was in a car accident.  He said that they didn't do enough dancing.  Paula and Jason sent them through.  Jason didn't think Courtney Barnes was a serious audition.  Nigel and Paula sent him through.  I don't recall an instance where Paula didn't want somebody and the other two did. 

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I'm sick of the sight of Paula and Jason already and the show hasn't really started yet - rotating audition judges was WAY better.

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I assume they're going to do a fourth chair with rotating guest judges? If so, I'd like to see Benjamin Millipied back on -- I thought he gave helpful critiques and was kind without being fake to everyone. I think it'd also be cool if they invited some past contestants as guest judges. I would also like to see Dan Karaty and Luther Brown on the judging panel again (and Lil C because he is thoughtful and hilarious).

 

I'm already a bit tired of Jason Derulo. He seems like an ok guy, but for someone who supposedly has a dance background, he doesn't offer much in the way of constructive feedback.

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I don't have any particular problem with Jason and Paula - it's just boring how the show tries to make it about the judges - the shots of them reacting to a dance often seem faked and stay on their faces way too long - the dance is the important thing not the judges' freaking face.  Also, neither Jason nor Paula has much new to say, so the same attitudes to what they're watching over and over bore me.  Nigel is trying to make himself more of a star by being seen on a level with these two stars and I suspect he's doing a great job of that BUT I've been watching this show since s01e01 and I am bored with these judges.  Variety is the spice of life.

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For me, the most important thing about a judge is the ability to offer constructive criticism consistently and in the twelve seasons that the show has been on tv, they haven't had a single judge who could do that every week. Instead they devolve into crying (Adam), shrieking (Mary), making personal attacks (Mia), being dismissive without actual content (Mia - "I just wasn't feeling it"), spending 75% of the critique on the choreography and/or choreographer (Nigel), making superficial comments ("You look beautiful!" or "I love the costumes!"), bragging about how the show has brought culture to the unwashed masses (Nigel), talking about Emmys (Nigel), or just utter nonsense (Nigel).

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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......I'm already a bit tired of Jason Derulo. He seems like an ok guy, but for someone who supposedly has a dance background, he doesn't offer much in the way of constructive feedback.

Jason is sleep inducing. I could do without him completely. Now.....Adam Shankman is another story. Love that guy on the judge's panel and really enjoyed him during the audition process.

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I dunno, ElectricBoogaloo, lil'C came close but they never gave him an actual run, did they? And they were all so amused by erudite/poetic language (see: the privileging of ignorance in North America) that he could have trouble finishing what he was saying.  I suspect it's the show runners stopping them from making sense.  Did Dan Karaty judge in the early seasons - he was great on SYTYCda and The Ultimate Dance Battle as a judge, so I'm having trouble remembering if he judged on the show - for 2 seasons? maybe?  He was(is) a good judge.

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I feel bad for Jason as I think he's mainly just an introvert. Tendency to write songs about shameless club hookups notwithstanding. All the interesting things are happening on the inside of his head and he's not that good at communicating them to us on short notice. Nigel and Paula may be overdramatic but now I kind of get why they go that route.

I somehow got the impression that Nigel doesn't love Lil C? Or thinks the audience doesn't love him? But yeah the way they laughed at his love of ten dollar words made me soooo uncomfortable.

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Did Dan Karaty judge in the early seasons - he was great on SYTYCda and The Ultimate Dance Battle as a judge, so I'm having trouble remembering if he judged on the show - for 2 seasons? maybe?  He was(is) a good judge.

He was a very frequent judge in the early seasons when Nigel was the only permanent judge and they rotated weekly through the choreographers for the other chairs.

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Other people may have been laughing at Lil C because of his vocabulary and verbosity, but I thought he was hilarious as a judge because he was so witty. I remember him being smart, thoughtful, kind but not fake or patronizing, and very witty with subtle jokes.

 

Dan Karaty was a great judge in the early seasons. I'm more lukewarm on some of his choreography, though. I still remember Natalie and Musa's hip hop to Nelly Furtado's Promiscuous in Season 2. It was well danced, but not really my cup of tea and I think Dan went in that direction a bit too often with his pieces. I really liked a lot of Brian Friedman's choreography in the early seasons like Jaymz/Jessica's contemporary/lyrical to Frou Frou's Let Go and Benji/Donyelle's pop jazz to Put the Needle On It. Many of the routines from seasons 1-4 really stick in my memory.

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I think Dan has just become so big in the Netherlands that he'll never come back, but I wish he would.  I didn't care for all of his choreo, but who can't you say that about?  I don't think any of the show's choreographers hit it out of the ballpark every time.  And, if he was judging, it wouldn't matter about the choreo.  But when I watch Dan in the Netherlands, he seems to inhabit Nigel's place, so (sadly) I don't think it can ever be.

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Other people may have been laughing at Lil C because of his vocabulary and verbosity, but I thought he was hilarious as a judge because he was so witty. I remember him being smart, thoughtful, kind but not fake or patronizing, and very witty with subtle jokes.

Same here but I think this is one of the many situations where Nigel's perceptions as a 65 year old British guy and the perceptions of the audience don't entirely match up. I remember that finale show where Lil C's package was a montage of his speeches and honour student vocab and I was definitely left with the impression that Nigel and the director's booth expected us at home to find it hilarious. In the sense of laughing at him, not with him.

And now we're in for an entire season of Nigel stereotyping street dancers, oh joy.

Edited by innocuouspuff
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I miss the guest judges for the variety and different perspectives they brought, although certainly some were better than others. The guest judges with no dance background or knowledge always annoyed me, but there were a few who often had really legit things to say.

 

That said, having the same judges throughout the auditions actually makes some sense to me, and this set is turning out to be surprisingly good. I mean, Nigel is Nigel, but Jason and Paula? It's not surprising, of course, that Paula has some idea what she's talking about, but for the last few weeks, she has seemed significantly more... ahem, grounded, than she often does, which is nice and allows her knowledge to actually come through. And Jason has really surprised me in the last few episodes, with a lot less questionable commentary, and some really valid critiques.

 

Still gonna miss Adam Shenkman, Christina Applegate, Jean-Marc, Debbie Allen, and probably a few others, but if we have to be stuck with the same three, these three are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be when the season started.

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I miss the guest judges for the variety and different perspectives they brought, although certainly some were better than others. The guest judges with no dance background or knowledge always annoyed me, but there were a few who often had really legit things to say.

 

That said, having the same judges throughout the auditions actually makes some sense to me, and this set is turning out to be surprisingly good. I mean, Nigel is Nigel, but Jason and Paula? It's not surprising, of course, that Paula has some idea what she's talking about, but for the last few weeks, she has seemed significantly more... ahem, grounded, than she often does, which is nice and allows her knowledge to actually come through. And Jason has really surprised me in the last few episodes, with a lot less questionable commentary, and some really valid critiques.

 

Still gonna miss Adam Shenkman, Christina Applegate, Jean-Marc, Debbie Allen, and probably a few others, but if we have to be stuck with the same three, these three are not nearly as bad as I thought they would be when the season started.

 

Well, except for Nigel who is that bad - which is a shame because when he decides to give an honest critique it is usually on point.  I think Jason and Paula have grown more comfortable in their roles as judges; both offer honest, helpful critiques giving the dancers something tangible to work on.  I like the fact that they are willing to give less than glowing praise to the dancers when necessary and manage to do so while being kind to the dancer (you can sometimes see the struggle on Paula's face as she tries to find a a way to soften the blow).  Fingers crossed that Jason and Paula are muzzled as the season moves on.

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When Nigel is not patting himself on the back, he can give good feedback.  Paula and Jason have been good judges.  When Paula and Jason were first announced as judges, I wasn't sure.  They didn't actually give meaningful comments when they were guest judges.  Also, sometimes, Paula wasn't coherent when she was a judge on AI.  In the first audition show, I thought Paula did a good job but Jason was still useless.  As the show progressed, he started using some dance terminology and giving constructive criticism.  Now, both have found their stride.  I also like that Paula has stood up to Nigel.  

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From the Special Olympics World Games:
 

On Friday, July 31st, a special evening of dance, music and fun is being planned for Special Olympics attending the World Games.  This special exhibition is being produced by world renowned producer, Nigel Lythgoe, Creator and Executive Producer of So You Think You Can Dance.  National teams will nominate athletes in all or any of the three dance categories: Freestyle Solo; Unified Ballroom Dancing and Unified Crew. Athletes will be judged by famous judges from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. The judging criteria will include musicality, choreography (level of difficulty), athleticism and presentation.  This event will provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness for Special Olympics, showcase the dancing and artistic abilities of our athletes, and share our message of unity and inclusion through dance with millions of viewers around the world.

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Hmmmmmm.  I'd like to see the timeline on this.  Is Cody Carlson a plant?

 

I went to Nigel's twitter to see how far back his Special Olympics support went, but then I saw this and left in disgust:

 

 

I think the confederate flag should be removed. [picture of a woman in a confederate flag bikini]

link

Edited by dcalley

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