So…I don’t think I want to dance anymore

Fox’s summer dance show, “So You Think You Can Dance” premiered season 12 on Monday.  However, there are definite changes to the show.

Let’s start with the judges.

Joining executive producer Nigel Lythgoe at the judges’ table are former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul and popular singer Jason Derulo.  As fans of the show can tell, there’s one name I haven’t mentioned yet – Mary Murphy.  Ms. Murphy is no longer with the show, which upsets me and (from what I’ve read on Facebook and Twitter) I’m not alone.

Murphy, with her hot tamale train and excitement, brought a lot of energy to the show.  While Abdul and Derulo are popular, Murphy’s energy was definitely missed during the first episode.

Paula Abdul is a well-respected choreographer, and has worked with many singers and dancers.  She even choreographed Janet Jackson’s videos including “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”  So, I understand that choice.

As for Jason Derulo, he was a guest judge last season, and showed he knows about dance.  But, right now I’m thinking that his popularity got him on the show more than his dance knowledge.  I may be wrong, and I will admit so after several episodes.

The other glaring change is the format.  Yes, they messed with the format again!  This season, it’s Team Stage vs. Team Street.  Auditioning dancers must tell what team they are auditioning for before they hit the stage and, on the first episode, they kept a running tally of how many people were on each team.

This bothered me a lot!

As many fans remember, “So You Think You Can Dance” has always been about America’s Favorite Dancer.  However, with the battle between teams, it looks like the show has shifted from focusing on the dancer to what type of dance is popular (or better?).

I remember the days – even last season – when we’d see dancers experience many genres.  There were many times when dancers surprised Lythgoe and other judges by dancing a completely different genre – and doing it well.  Case in point: Melanie Moore.  She came on as a contemporary dancer, and blew everyone away when she danced her style and many others.  During the week she danced a hip-hop number with Stephen tWitch Boss, many in the studio and at home were shocked.  To this day, that is still one of my favorite numbers.

But, I digress.

My point is this: With the advent of teams, I have to wonder if dancers will cross genres like they have for the past 11 seasons.  That was a big reason people watched the show.  Without that feature, the show may be looked at quite differently.

It’s still too early to tell, of course, since this was only the first episode.  But, with these new changes, it looks as though many people’s favorite summer dance show may have become a distant relative of itself, and I fear not even the paso doble or crumping can help.

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