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The Emmys – DWTS versus SYTYCD

Derek Hough and Julianne Hough

In my opinion – there’s no “there” there. 🙂  But before I get into that, let me show you what got my goat, just a little bit – from the LA Times, The Envelope:

So You Think You Can Dance” once again leads the Emmy nominations for choreography, leaving “Dancing with the Stars” as an Emmy wallflower.  The Fox summer smash about everyday folk vying for a chance to dance has won the Emmy for the last two years in a row, while the ABC hit that pairs celebrities with professional dancers has been an Emmy also-ran for three years running.

This year, “So You Think You Can Dance” earned four of the six slots. While Wade Robson – who won this race last year and in 2007 – is not among the “SYTYCD” crew nominated this year, his 2007 co-winner – Mia Michaels – did land a nod. Also contending are Dmitry Chaplin, Tyce Diorio, and the team of Tabitha D’umo and Napoleon D’umo.

Derek Hough and Julianne Hough are the only nominees for teaching celebrities how to kick up their heels on “Dancing With the Stars.” Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (“Thoroughly Modern Millie”) rounds out the roster, landing his first Emmy nod for choreographing the Oscars.

Ya know, I understand having your favorite of the nominees. I do – DWTS. For whatever reason, I just can’t get that excited about So You Think You an Dance. I watch it, and enjoy it – but I won’t cuss up a storm if I’m out and my TiVo fails. 🙂 What bugs just a little bit is when journalists make invalid comparisons to pump up their favorite and, IMO, misrepresent a situation. This shouldn’t surprise me at all, given the state of our media, but whatever.

First, the author says that on SYTYCD “everyday folk” are vying for a chance to dance. They may be unknown, but they aren’t “everyday” – saying they are “everyday folk” implies that everyone can dance like a Kapono, given half a chance. Um, NO. That’s like saying Adam Lambert is an everyday person. The people who compete on SYTYCD are great DANCERS by the time you get to the top 20 – heck, by the time you get to Vegas. On SYTYCD, choreographers are choreographing for extremely capable, albeit unknown, dancers. As a result, the choreography is more intricate, and generally more creative (because it CAN be) than what you typically see on DWTS. Granted, the dancers might be outside their area of specialty from time to time, but they have stamina, creativity, flexibility, rhythm….a whole host of qualities that are often absent in the celebrities from DWTS. Often with hilarious results. 🙂


The author does peg DWTS correctly – celebrities paired with professional dancers.  But the comparison between the shows is apples and oranges.  Accomplished dancers being choreographed by accomplished choreographers versus total novice celebrities (and often people with NO rhythm, coordination, stamina, you name it) being taught by professional dancers.  Granted, most of these dancers are amazing choreographers – but rarely can they choreograph as intricate and creative dance as what you might see on SYTYCD, for the simple reason that they are supposed to be in the business of making their novice partner look good. That means choreographing to their partners ability…or lack thereof.   For that reason, it’s a comparison that doesn’t work.  Just look at Derek and Julianne’s nomination – choreographed and danced by two professionals – that dance is one of the exceptions on that show, not the rule. SYTYCD has, on average ten dances per week (or more) danced by very good dancers, choreographed by first rate choreographers.  DWTS, on the other hand, has if we are very lucky one professionally choreographed AND performed dance per week. It’s a rare thing that a celebrity can dance the type of choreography seen on SYTYCD.  By the very numbers alone, SYTYCD should have more nominations.  More dances, more nominations.

The only remotely valid comparison – and it’s still a stretch – is total nominations.  Dancing with the Stars got more nominations than any other reality program, if I read it correctly.  I say this comparison is also a stretch because shows like the Amazing Race aren’t likely to have submissions in the Hair, Make-Up, Musical direction, etc categories (although Phil Keogan always looks lovely 🙂 ).  A show that is filmed in the middle of nowhere (Survivor) or globe trotting (TAR) isn’t going to be eligible in as many categories as sound stage shows (American Idol, SYTYCD, or DWTS). 

At the end of the day, I’m glad that they have the reality category even though the shows in the category are so varied compared to, say, the drama category.  I think DWTS, SYTYCD, Survivor, American Idol, and The Amazing Race are all first rate, entertaining shows.  I watch and enjoy all of them.  I just don’t care for the comparison of numbers within the category and the subsequent labeling of one show as “wallflower” or (as I’ve seen in other places) “the best”.  Apples and Oranges.

July 20, 2009 I Written By

I'm a nerd and proud of it. Two degrees in geology also means I love BEER. :-) I'm also a Derek lover - proud of that too. So don't scream at those of us on this site and call us a bunch of "biased Derek-lovers" - it's just ME. :-) It may sound like I hate DWTS at times, but really, I'm just a snarky nitpicker from way back. And I'm cynical and jaded too. But I do love DWTS. :-)

Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower Join DWTS Professionals

I’ve been fascinated with the interaction of dancers between Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance for a while now. Not only do I have a website that covers So You Think You Can Dance, but my regular readers might remember my previous post that contained a video of Nigel Lythgoe talking about Chelsie Hightower possibly being on Dancing with the Stars. My favorite line from Nigel in that video was when he said, “these kids have to work, so yeah I’m ok with her being on Dancing with the Stars.”

Well, it looks like Nigel Lythgoe (producer of So You Think You Can Dance) wasn’t just saying that off hand. Now Chelsie Hightower and Dmitry Chaplin were both announced as part of the latest Dancing with the Stars professionals. You can check out what I’ve written about Chelsie on So You Think You Can Dance and of course Dmitry on So You Think You Can Dance.

Funny thing is I remember them both very well. Dmitry Chaplin was most well known for taking his shirt off. Cat Deeley (host of So You Think You Can Dance) always liked to point out his either lack of shirt or wide open shirt. I have a feeling that Dancing with the Stars will make the most of that feature as well. However, Dmitry has actually been back on So You Think You Can Dance (including the Canadian version I believe) as a choreographer. So, Dmitry knows how to choreograph as well as he knows how to dance. Dmitry and Jewel will make a fantastic looking pair that will be stunningly beautiful to watch with amazing lines.

Chelsie Hightower on the other hand was a really odd character on So You Think You Can Dance. No one can argue that she was stunningly beautiful with some of the most distinct moves I’ve seen on the dance floor. When she was on the dance floor she was incredible to watch. However, back stage she was quite a bit of a tom boy and if I remember right she loved to burp all the time. I might have to go back and watch the video to make sure, but I’m pretty confident it was her. I believe her partner described her as one of the guys backstage and then this sexy fireball on stage (definitely not an exact quote, but you get the idea). Chelsie and Ty Murray will be an interesting partnership. Ty better hope that Chelsie’s fame from So You Think You Can Dance helps him get some votes, because I’m not sure many rodeo fans are going to be on the phones voting for him.

I’m very excited to see Chelsie and Dmitry on Dancing with the Stars. They are great additions to the show. Alongside Lacey Schwimmer, So You Think You Can Dance ballroom dancers are taking over as the professionals on Dancing with the Stars. Makes sense that the producers would want to do this. So You Think You Can Dance contestants bring their own base of fans with them and that can’t do anything but help Dancing with the Stars be that much bigger.

February 17, 2009 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

SYTYCD’s Nigel Lythgoe Talks About Dancing with the Stars and Fat Dancers

This was an interesting video to see Nigel Lythgoe talking about Dancing with the Stars. He touches on some interesting issues about SYTYCD stars making the move over to Dancing with the Stars including Lacey Schwimmer and even the possibility of Chelsie Hightower being on the show. Chelsie is beautiful and would be an interesting addition to the show. Nigel also talked about fat dancers and what he thought about people calling Lacey Schwimmer a fat dancer.

Check out the video of Nigel: Read more..

November 18, 2008 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.