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S16.E15: Finale

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After incredible auditions in New York and Los Angeles, grueling call-back rounds at The Academy and weeks of inspired studio performances, the nation will finally decide who joins the ranks of America's Favorite Dancers. One last time, the final four dancers show the judges and the country what they've got before the winner is crowned.

Original air date: 9/16/19

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And isn’t that a kick in the teeth, to be relieved that it’s over. I have loved this show, but now it won’t break my heart if it’s over for good.  That makes me so sad 

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I'm kind of hoping for an All Star number or two for finale.  Even though the final episodes of the season finally had some spark of life, I think an infusion of All Star talent will help dazzle the audience.

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SYTYCD has their finale and naming of the winner tonight. Dancing With the Stars has their premier tonight. I will be watching SYTYCD live and recording DWTS.

What are you going to do?

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I dunno.  Usually I'd record both, but the last show of SYTYCD doesn't tend to have quite as much nonsensical hyberbolic narrative-making crap dominating as the rest of their shows, so maybe I'll watch it live.  I certainly can't imagine watching DWTS live with all that quack.  Ffing is my friend.

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Can’t believe it’s the finale and it’s the first time I thought to check the forum for this show!

Gino coming in 3rd feels a lot like season 4 when Twitch was actually the runner up but they named Katee the “top girl” so it made it seem like she was 2nd.

I’ll have to go back and look but I’m pretty sure this is the first time I genuinely would have been happy with the outcome no matter what. There’s something contagious about Bailey, Gino is super strong, Mariah has an “it” factor and I agree with Laurieann that Sophie is a brilliant story teller.

I have a lot more thoughts but for now I’ll end with this. For me, I think a lot of the problem is these are children up on that stage. When this show first aired I was finishing up college so the contestants were about my age. They are all exceptionally talented but don’t feel as mature as past seasons. But again, that might be more about me than them.

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BAILEY, BAILEY, BAILEY, BAILEY!!!!!

I'm so excited he won but I was very shocked that Gino place 3rd overall. I really thought that he and Bailey would be in the Top 2. 

I liked Nigel's suggestion that next year they skip the Academy and do a Top 20. Yes, Nigel. People have been wanting this for years. Do it. Make it happen!

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Well, after Gino came in third, I turned the channel so don't know who won. Reading here, I guess Bailey did, but who cares. I think Gino's fabulous, I loved all his routines, he stole my eye in every one. I can totally see him on Broadway; I hope he can get there and be successful.

So, congratulations GINO!

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Gino seemed to be the star of the finale show. As it is, the choreographers always put him front and center in their routines. Gino seemed to be the busiest of all the dancers tonight. He should have a wonderful career with the exposure he got from this show.

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I loved Bailey's win -- it was very touching and well-deserved.  I believe that would be fairly true of Mariah and Gino too.  Those three were beautiful dancers, each in their own way and each in organic successful ways with the people they danced with.

One thing Mariah didn't get enough credit for was the amazing amount of work she put into dancing low, even while in heels (ow ow ow) to help Bailey who I feel was dancing somewhat taller by the end of the run.  They did a very good job of disguising the height difference and were both so charismatic that the height difference stopped mattering to me, it was just representative of who, variously, they are.

Interesting strategies to ask for auditions early and to make the most favoured sugestion ever re a return to top 20.  They must be pretty sure they are still fighting cancellation at this point - as per always.  Tell any old fans you know that we may be getting top 20 back.  Fox is so cheap and tedious.

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I wish Gino had been second. That Jive reprise was fantastic. I stand by my thoughts that Bailey was the better performer who deserved to win, though, based off what he did in Mambo Italiano and The Girl From Ipanema.

Very confused as to why Madison and Ezra got any reprises at all, but then I was confused how they made the top 10, too.

The "top 12" hip hop seems great, although not to my taste.

Edited by displayname
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Cyrus in one number made the entire show for me.

I am perfectly fine with Gino third because I way way way preferred Mariah over him and figured Bailey had this in the bag so Mariah could do no better than second.

Bailey whispering his name when Cat showed him the card was cute though.

Cat was super extra last night and I found myself wishing she would hurry up whenever she was talking and get on with it.

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Duets:

Bailey & Gino - The Girl from Ipanema

Sophie & Gino - Trouble

Sophie & Gino - You Will Be Found

Mariah & Bailey - Need You Tonight

Anna & Benjamin - I'll Be Seeing You

Stephanie & Gino - Long Tall Sally

Mariah & Bailey - Slide

Mariah & Bailey - Tempo

Sophie & Eddie - When the Party's Over

Madison & Ezra - You Can Leave Your Hat On

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While I'm not surprised that Bailey won, my choice, Gino, placing third was very disappointing. I suspect that the judges knew the results and we're going to give Gino maximum screen time last night to remind choreographers and the Broadway community just how good he is.  Gino will do just fine as a professional dancer and pretty quickly I would think.

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44 minutes ago, bourbon said:

Agree -- but it's not the Academy that bugs me. It's the endless round of auditions with their "feel good" stories and sob stories and grandmas being called up from the audience to dance with their grandkid. They could cover all the auditions in one highlights show, then Academy is one week. And dispense with the green mile. Then a legit Top 20. 

Ha! Jinx! 🙂

grrr... I hate that this forum groups your comments that are close together as I accidentally edited out my original response that was literally the same response! 

I basically said that I would skip the auditions all together and just start with them all at the Academy. The auditions go on far too long and what made the original great was getting to know the dancers. Please bring back the top 20!!! I would keep the intro of the top 20 all dancing their own styles - great way to see everyone at the top of their skills to start. 

Edited by slaterain
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I’m really happy for Bailey. He radiates a lot of charisma, and I loved watching him perform different styles. He was also able to project sexy, despite his height and babyfaced adorability. I agree that he was really, really lucky to have been partnered with Mariah, who let him overshadow her.

14 hours ago, crowceilidh said:

One thing Mariah didn't get enough credit for was the amazing amount of work she put into dancing low, even while in heels (ow ow ow) to help Bailey who I feel was dancing somewhat taller by the end of the run.  They did a very good job of disguising the height difference and were both so charismatic that the height difference stopped mattering to me, it was just representative of who, variously, they are.

I started to appreciate Mariah more throughout the weeks – I have to admit, her squeaky voice and obvious discomfort with being interviewed made it difficult to listen to her. It’s only through seeing her dance as much as she—and rest of the final four—did that her quiet star quality shone through. She was also incredibly gracious, hugging Bailey immediately after Cat made him read his own name out. Another vote for more time to get to know the dancers!

I’m glad that Cat made a huge point of saying that the difference between 3rd place and 2nd place was only one percentage point. I was initially shocked that Gino came in 3rd too, but I’m glad that meant Mariah was there with Bailey onstage when he was announced as the winner. This show has been a great launching pad for other finalists, that I have no doubt Gino and Mariah will go on to have stellar careers.

I ff’d through a lot of the fluff, but I did watch the montage they put together of Dominic as a contestant, and Dominic’s tears as a judge. All in all, I liked the jidging panel this year, although I hope to see tWitch on it at some point next season if there is one.

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10 hours ago, displayname said:

I wish Gino had been second. That Jive reprise was fantastic. I stand by my thoughts that Bailey was the better performer who deserved to win, though, based off what he did in Mambo Italiano and The Girl From Ipanema.

Very confused as to why Madison and Ezra got any reprises at all, but then I was confused how they made the top 10, too.

TPTB want to promote the tour.  That's why the whole top ten got to do at least one pair dance.  Because while Gino and Stephanie's jive was good, who would pick Sophie's and Eddie's contemporary?  😄

It's also the reason why Madison and Ezra got to do a dance.  And they probably chose the jazz because it was different than another contemporary.  Glad Ezra was also able to do his contemporary with Gaby.  I was also thinking that Ezra was probably happy that he didn't have to do so many lifts again since they didn't choose the AT and disco.  That's when I felt bad for him because he might have to do those dances every night during tour.  His poor back!! 

That's also the reason why Gino had one more dance than Bailey.  The show pretty much evened out the dances but to give Stephanie a highlight, Gino did one more than Bailey so that he could do the jive with Stephanie.

2 hours ago, bourbon said:

Agree -- but it's not the Academy that bugs me. It's the endless round of auditions with their "feel good" stories and sob stories and grandmas being called up from the audience to dance with their grandkid. They could cover all the auditions in one highlights show, then Academy is one week. And dispense with the green mile. Then a legit Top 20. 

1 hour ago, slaterain said:

Ha! Jinx! 🙂

grrr... I hate that this forum groups your comments that are close together as I accidentally edited out my original response that was literally the same response! 

I basically said that I would skip the auditions all together and just start with them all at the Academy. The auditions go on far too long and what made the original great was getting to know the dancers. Please bring back the top 20!!! I would keep the intro of the top 20 all dancing their own styles - great way to see everyone at the top of their skills to start. 

Agree with both of you.  Auditions are too long!!  We don't need five audition episodes.  It could be shortened.  I do like them to show the contestants that are exceptional in their style but not versatile enough to make the show.  So that's a plus for the auditions.  Then they could also show some of the top 20.   No sob stories or any other filler.

The Academy doesn't bug me but it could be shortened to two instead of four.  We didn't need the top 10 girls/top 10 boy episodes.  I liked it better when the first live show lets the contestants do a dance in their own style.  Mary made a point that Bailey was always outside his style.   The first live show could have had a dance where he danced with Dom, Legacy, or any of the other B-Boys or even hip-hop All-Stars.  Jose (Full Deck) had a cool number with Twitch, Comfort, and Dominic.

With a top 20, we would get to know the couples better and see them dance other styles.  Sophie made the finals by mostly staying in her style.  She finally got a samba at the semi-finals but she got to do it with Kiki which is a huge advantage.  As a pair, Sophie and Gino only got to do Broadway, jazz, and contemporary and they're both contemporary dancers.  That's how you know who the show wants to stay because during that time, Anna/Benjamin get Tahitian and Ezra/Madison get disco. 

So Yay for Bailey!!  I wanted him to win since the Academy after he did his contemporary.  Although, I expected Gino to be second, I'm not bummed that Mariah was second.  It was only a 1% difference.  I think she improved during the season.

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2 hours ago, bourbon said:

Agree -- but it's not the Academy that bugs me. It's the endless round of auditions with their "feel good" stories and sob stories and grandmas being called up from the audience to dance with their grandkid. They could cover all the auditions in one highlights show, then Academy is one week. And dispense with the green mile. Then a legit Top 20. 

Agre 100%, Nigel and Co., are you listening? Dispense with the endless auditions; maybe one episode of auditions, one Academy episode and then give us a Top 20!

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It’s not the auditions themselves that bother me. It’s more that we waste sooooooo much time during the audition process with the interviews and sob stories. This season I think we were getting like five auditions per episode because of all that extra crap. Cut all that out and let us see back to back auditions and then I’m all for multiple audition episodes! 

Same with the academy episodes. I’m 99% sure that in S1, there was one episode that covered all of Las Vegas week. I’m fine with it being two episodes (three dance styles the first episode, two dance styles and then announcing the top twenty dancers in the second episode). But drawing out auditions for so many weeks and then dragging out the academy plus separate episodes for the top girls and another episode for the top boys is just way too much filler. 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I really think the people behind the show are at war with Fox and the pressure they're probably getting from the network to emphasize stuff that brings in casual viewers (read: LOTS of sob stories and background, at the expense of actual dancing). They're straight-up imitating America's Got Talent at this point, starting with putting the auditions in front of a cheering crowd, and moving away from the formula they had in the initial seasons which was so much better but doesn't pull in casual fans who want someone to root for and don't actually care that much about the dance part beyond "is it entertaining?"

On a similar note, Luther Brown's hip-hop routines do nothing for me. They just seem so childish and silly. Bring back Shane Sparks!

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14 hours ago, mojoween said:

Cat was super extra last night and I found myself wishing she would hurry up whenever she was talking and get on with it.

I spent all my time staring at her extensions that went clear to her waist, wondering what her stylist was thinking putting in those crazy -- and obviously fake -- hair pieces. So I didn't hear much of what she was saying, thankfully.

She's always been a little too super extra IMO.

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I was so happy for Bailey...I really liked his personality, and he did a terrific job every week.  Mariah and Gino are gorgeous dancers who don't need To win this show to have successful careers.

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10 hours ago, realdancemom said:

It's also the reason why Madison and Ezra got to do a dance. 

Ah crap. While I actually don't mind my mistake on this since I didn't particularly find Ezra fantastic, I meant "Madison and Eddie" as the ones who I didn't think deserved to make the top 10. I actually like ezra/gaby contemporary better than his dances with Madison (figures!).

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Well clearly, if they had to hype up the razor thin margin between 2nd and 3rd place....then Bailey absolutely ran away with the vote. Followed by Mariah/Gino....and then Sophie in a distant fourth (I'm guessing).

I was happy to see Benjamin and Anna's jazz/broadway piece again....I wonder if they openly kissed on stage with the camera off of them, Cat's reaction was very "interesting".

I think Gino (I mean his older brother is already entrenched on Broadway) has to be pretty much a lock to have some kind of career as a professional dancer. I think Mariah and Bailey do too, although within the Broadway space it would be very role-specific for Bailey. His willingness and ability to adapt styles gives him a chance.

While, she could also go that route...I actually think Sophie might be better suited as a featured tour dancer for big musical acts, or she could go the way of Jeanine Mason and Mollee Gray and try to make a go of being an actor. She definitely has the look and the winsome quality of a CW young starlet in my mind.

Why oh why would you bring LoFro and Cyrus back and then bury them in a 12 piece/interchangeable number? They are All-Stars for a reason. Why not bring that Sumi back and have Cyrus dance with her? Or LoFro with someone? I was also expecting Eddy to get to tap with Gaby or maybe with Anthony M. in a tap number that he choreographed...I guess getting to do the bed dance over again was a good substitute, but I would've liked to seen him get to show of his specialty one more time instead. Same with Ezra and Stephanie in ballroom. You could've cut out a couple of the callback dances (the one with the 3 girls, and Madison and Ezra's dance to start) and created some more interesting new pieces with the non-Top 4 dancers instead.

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I fast forwarded through most of the repeat dances tonight and watched this two hour episode in record time, which tells me how little I actually enjoyed this season between the ridiculous catalog of auditions and mind boggling inclusion of Eddie, Madison and Anna over much stronger dancers like Nazz. I did rewatch all the Bailey/Mariah encores, though. 

Agree with the final outcome and ranking order and like many expressed above, if this show comes back for another season I would like it to be without all the superfluous sob stories and interviews. Academy week needs to be condensed to one two-hour episode including the top 20 results. Producer manipulation needs to end, pushing forward mediocre dancers for some inexplainable reason and making the judges give disingenuous comments fawning over clumsy dancers who repeated fumble (looking at you Madison). Are you listening, Nigel?

Edited by Rahul
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12 hours ago, displayname said:

Ah crap. While I actually don't mind my mistake on this since I didn't particularly find Ezra fantastic, I meant "Madison and Eddie" as the ones who I didn't think deserved to make the top 10. I actually like ezra/gaby contemporary better than his dances with Madison (figures!).

This is why the Top 10 Girl/Boy Academy episodes didn't really matter.  Madison and Eddie were already chosen because of their stories or for whatever reason.  Nazz did the best and she wasn't chosen.  And I still wish they picked Sumi over Anna. 

Ezra's best dance was definitely with Gaby not Madison.

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1 minute ago, realdancemom said:

This is why the Top 10 Girl/Boy Academy episodes didn't really matter.  Madison and Eddie were already chosen because of their stories or for whatever reason.  Nazz did the best and she wasn't chosen.  And I still wish they picked Sumi over Anna. 

Yeah, if they're back for another season, maybe it's a blessing in disguise for Sumi and Nazz that they'll get the entire top 20 deal. And no more choosing emotional stories over actual dancing, please.

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I FF'd through 95% of the episode, pausing for Gino's jive and Ipanema, which I actually thought Gino and Bailey performed better last week (I put it down to exhaustion). Gino was my choice to win, but I'm fine with Bailey taking it. The West Side Story producers would be smart to snag Gino as a swing or understudy the second the SYTYCD tour is over.

As for another season, as others mentioned above, reduce the number of audition episodes or at least show more actual auditions and fewer background stories, cut the Academy episodes to no more than two, give us a Top 20 in couples so we can watch them grow together (or not), use the All Stars sparingly, and for the love of all that is holy get rid of the Swirling 360-Degree Camera of Nausea. I'd also like to see some of the jidges rotate in and out as in earlier seasons for seasoned dance professionals such as Misty Copeland and Debbie Allen. It's good to have dreams, you know?

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I understand that they were following the usual finale format, but you can’t have a 5 week show and expect the audience to be excited/nostalgic to rewatch dances they’ve seen in the last couple of weeks. They really need to switch things up if they’re renewed.

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I really think the people behind the show are at war with Fox and the pressure they're probably getting from the network to emphasize stuff that brings in casual viewers (read: LOTS of sob stories and background, at the expense of actual dancing). 

Maybe they could strike a deal with Fox that they only tell someone's back story once, either during auditions or during academy. They could have fit in a whole extra episode this season if they had done that with Madison. And honestly, we might not have all hated her before the actual competition began if she hadn't been shoved down our throats so much. Just doing that with everyone should be enough to shorten the audition/academy weeks enough to have a real top 20.

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6 hours ago, rlc said:

expect the audience to be excited/nostalgic to rewatch dances they’ve seen in the last couple of weeks

This, exactly! 

Another thing is that there really wasn't enough time to see the dancer grow and evolve. 5 weeks? Naa.  3 months of it, they learn more and grow. 

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FF'd through most of the "favorite" dances cuz I feel like I JUST saw them. The only dance that moved me this season was Amen, which I also downloaded the song. Finding cool music that I was not aware of is another reason I watch the show.

Gino's ease and quality of movement is clearly on another level than the others. I don't get the Bailey appeal, but he is competant and I guess people find him adorable. For me, anytime he danced with someone else, they outshown him. 

What the hell was Cat wearing? It looked like someone put a goth bomber jacket from the 1990 in a blender.

A top 20 would lure me back next season....  

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The main thing I liked from Academy Week is the montage of all dancers where they switch from one group to another (e.g. all 3 tappers do a segment, all the contemporaries, all the ballrooms, all 7 b-boys, whatever).  I really liked it last year (was that last year?) and noticed Lex dancing in the fountain outside the Academy building right off and realized he'd make it.  I loved that one where they were mostly outside and I think on stairwells and things?  This year wasn't quite as good, just on stage, but I still liked it.  So I'd like maybe one week of auditions without sob stories, one or two eps of Academy with that group number, and then several weeks of a top 20.

I'm happy with the outcome.  Gino will be fine, I think.  Mariah is so gracious.  I think if Sophie reads any comments I hope she sees that reasonable people think it's just that she needs to mature some and not that she was terrible or anything.

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36 minutes ago, TVbitch said:

Finding cool music that I was not aware of is another reason I watch the show.

So true. I think the first time I ever saw or heard of Lady Gaga was when she performed on SYTYCD...way back in 2008. There have also been songs that I may have known, but never fully appreciated until it was used for a moving performance.

Aside from Lady Gaga, the show used to feature guest dance performances, which also expanded my enjoyment of dance. That being said, I was really uncomfortable with them bringing back Phoebe Kochis to perform. It seemed somewhat exploitative to me. Or maybe I'm just heartless.

20 minutes ago, Jobiska said:

The main thing I liked from Academy Week is the montage of all dancers where they switch from one group to another (e.g. all 3 tappers do a segment, all the contemporaries, all the ballrooms, all 7 b-boys, whatever).  I really liked it last year (was that last year?) and noticed Lex dancing in the fountain outside the Academy building right off and realized he'd make it. 

I am so glad they dispensed with the forcing dancers to choreograph a piece overnight in small groups, and then perform the next day. Lex stood out to me too from the time of his audition, cemented by the time in the academy.

I agree with wanting a montage of academy dancers, and also if they would bring back putting the top 20 (heh!) in the opening titles?

And while I'm making a wishlist, I'd like them to show the complete auditions of all the finalists. I don't think they showed Benjamin Castro's complete audition, and even though he stood out to me, I remembered thinking there was no chance he was going to make it.

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1 hour ago, Kaiju Ballet said:

///

Just now, luvthepros said:
1 hour ago, Kaiju Ballet said:

And while I'm making a wishlist, I'd like them to show the complete auditions of all the finalists.

Excellent suggestion.

Edited by luvthepros
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2 hours ago, Kaiju Ballet said:

I am so glad they dispensed with the forcing dancers to choreograph a piece overnight in small groups

[...]

And while I'm making a wishlist, I'd like them to show the complete auditions of all the finalists. I don't think they showed Benjamin Castro's complete audition, and even though he stood out to me, I remembered thinking there was no chance he was going to make it.

Yes to both of these things! I always hated the “choreograph in a group” round because it was clearly just to create drama. I HATE when skill-based shows force contestants to do crap that has nothing to do with the  actual competition. Dancing and choreographing are two vastly different skills. Most people are not outstanding at both. I know lots of dancers who have great technique and performance skills but are crap at choreographing. I’ve also known some choreographers who are mediocre dancers but very creative and talented choreographers.

But on top of all that, this is a dance performance competition. Each week the dancers are given a piece to learn and perform, so that’s what they should be tested on as part of the audition/elimination process. Forcing them to choreograph in a group as part of that process is stupid because it’s not part of the actual competition. To me, asking them to choreograph (in a group, no less) as part of the audition/academy process is as pointless as asking them all to juggle chainsaws or make a perfect risotto. 

Re: showing auditions- it’s ridiculous when someone makes the top 10/20 and we didn’t get to see their full audition. They’re limited to 60 (or 90?) seconds so it seems like the very least the producers/editors can do is make sure we see the full ONE MINUTE of the ten dancers who make the finals. Feel free to cut additional footage of the long lines outside or the random people yelling, “I’M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD/VEGAS/THE ACADEMY!” outside the theater or the endless sob stories so that we can squeeze in the ten finalists’ audition routines over the course of FIVE audition episodes. Ten minutes seems like a small amount to ask when they made us sit through five hours of auditions. 

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SYTYCD needs to rediscover the sense of celebration it had in spades in earlier seasons. Even National Dance Day seemed like an afterthought. I wonder if the reasons the judging has become increasingly more effusive is an attempt to compensate for this. I also think this had something to do with Bailey's wild popularity: he celebrated being on that stage every single time. I would love to know how many minutes of dance we now get per hour vs in the past. 

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