'SYTYCD': 'Kent hasn't won the vote every week,' says Nigel Lythgoe

sytycd-final-3Image Credit: Frank Micelotta/FoxYou may not have expected Kent Boyd and Lauren Froderman to have made the finale when So You Think You Can Dance‘s seventh season began, but exec producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe sure did. “Not to put too fine a point on it,” Nigel told EW backstage after last night’s SYTYCD results show, “but I went to see Lauren and Kent [in their homes]. They were always my favorites.” (Lythgoe does admit that, like everyone else, he fully expected Alex Freaking Wong to make the finale, but he’s happy to report that Wong is “healing really well” from the Achilles tendon injury that forced the odds-on favorite to drop out of the competition, and could be walking as soon as September, “which is unheard of.”)

Lythgoe concedes he wasn’t sure about Robert Roldan’s chances on the show — “I liked his look, and then he was so sort of childish off camera, and sometimes on camera” — but he loves how the dancer has grown and matured, and thinks he could be a true “dark horse” contender. And apparently he means that: When he’s confronted with the idea that many folks think the SYTYCD crown is Kent’s to lose, Lythgoe tosses it aside like (strained SYTYCD metaphor alert) Kent was tossed aside by Neil in this week’s killer Travis Wall routine. “[Kent] hasn’t won [the vote] every week,” says Nigel. “Other people have been number one, and he didn’t necessarily win last night, either. It’s all too close to call.”

As for the season’s somewhat controversial format changes — i.e. the inclusion of SYTYCD All Star dancers as partners for ten finalists instead of 20, and the elimination of only one dancer per week — Lythgoe acknowledges that maybe he changed too much too quickly. “It’s very frustrating because the standard of dance, and the standard of choreography this year, has been enormous,” he says. “I will look to next season whether we start with 20 dancers again, bring it down to ten and then introduce the All Stars, and get rid of two [dancers per week]. I want to get it right for the audience, but at the same time, I don’t want to let down dance, and this season the dance situation has really been tremendous….When you get to dance with Pasha, you have to grow. And when you get to dance with Anya, you have to grow f—ing quickly.”

What do you make of this season’s final three dancers, PopWatchers? Are you loving the All Stars this year, or should the show go back to its old format, full stop?

Comments (144 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    This is the first season since I started watching the show when I will be happy no matter which finalist wins. All three of them are amazing dancers and deserving of the win. I know it’s America’s “favorite” dancer, not “best”, but in previous seasons I’ve been disappointed that the person who was clearly the best hasn’t won.

    • graeme

      This season has been fantastic I think. The all-stars idea worked out extremely well. The only weak link for me is the crappy judges panel. Mia and Adam aren’t working. I would bring Mary Murphy back.

      • t.t

        i agree nigel replace them with mary and debbie allen sytycd has always zigged when it was supposed to zag so y not zig and have a 2 female 1 male judge panel

      • AliciaJo

        Yeah I honestly think Mary isn’t on the judges panel now because Wed show is live and they didn’t think they could contain her screaming to end on time.

        I really wish they would lose Mia as a judge and have her do what she does best – choreograph.

      • Scobes

        Hit the nail on the head. This season would’ve been perfect aside from injuries (which no one can plan for) and the god-awful judges. I would prefer Nigel and two rotating judges, with Mary included!

      • Tarc

        It’s my understanding that Mia and Mary will alternate years. Mia started this year due to the need for her back to recover from surgery.

      • lm

        Mary has expertise in ballroom which is great. Just tone down her screams. They are annoying. But I love having the all stars. That way a good dancer is not let down by a bad partner as has happened in the past.

      • ba

        I have not loved Mia this year, but I always love Adam. He is the best. and I do have to admit that I would rather have Mia than Mary. I don’t get the screaming.

    • Scooter

      did Nigel seriously use the word “f—ing” in a press interview?? classy.

  • GTC

    I love the way Kent dances. I may not care of the deer in headlights look but when he dances, he’s so graceful. I just hope he’ll win. I’m still bitter about Danny so hopefully my pick will finally win.

    • ChristineOH

      I’m still bitter about Danny too. Kent definitely has the ADD thing going on, but when the three guys danced together in the opening, it was set up to clearly compare, and he did stand out.

    • am

      SO glad to see someone else is still bitter over Danny! I’m still a bit bitter over Brandon too. I think the final decision should be made by half audience votes & half judges’ votes, because both of these two were robbed.

      • ImStillToni

        I am still pissed about Danny, Brandon, AND WILL. VI REAL! lol I can’t let 3 of the best technical dancers ever to grace the SYTYCD stage yet who where booted go…NOPE, in fact finding Will on Twitter made me giddy, made my entire week actually :)

  • Ceballos

    I like the top 3, but it’s SUCH a damn shame that Alex Wong got hurt.

    Though Kent may not have won every week, I’d bet money that he’s won the vote during most weeks. This smells like Uncle Nigel trying to create some drama for the finale.

    Finally, I like the idea of doing a top 20 AND introducing the All-stars in the top 10. I like the bond that forms with certain couples (even though it’s annoying when one talented/popular contestant carries another), and if there are 20 competitors instead of 11, it may cut down on injuries since they won’t be dancing as much.

  • MiaRW

    Of course Kent hasn’t topped the vote every week. Hello, Alex Freaking Wong had to have been the top at least once or twice.

    • Brian DC

      Absolutely MiaRW. I doubt that any of the other finalists, other than Kent, have topped the vote tallies. That being said, I’m PRAYING for Lauren to win, and if not her, Robert. Kent just sort of rubs me the wrong way. The small town boy shtick just doesn’t work on me.

      • Andrea

        It’s not schtick!! Did you not see his hometown? He really is a small town boy, which for me makes him very genuine when he dances. He dances from the heart with real passion; nothing contrived. The “deer in the headlights’ look reflects his innocence and naivete. That’s what I like about him: no artifice, just plain love for dance.

      • Lilly

        I don’t think you should judge necessarily on where he’s from, but on how he dances. Yes, he is a small town boy; look it up, I’m from a neighboring town and I know. I honestly can’t help it, BrianDC, if you’re from a big city with all the opportunities in the world and have no idea what the small town life is like. Cornfields aren’t necessarily made for dancing now, are they?

      • aging

        Kent is definitely is a sincere hometown boy. I work with his father. He is true to his faith and his roots. We are Kent ALL THE WAY!!!!

  • MJ Cole

    I love these kids! The top three are fantastic. I’m thrilled that my #1 guy Robert made the finale (yay!) but I’ll be happy with any of them winning. Despite the changes in format that didn’t work, crappy judging, too many injuries, etc. I really enjoyed watching the kids dance, and really enjoyed getting to “know” them as people through their video clips. Such amazing talent. I hope to watch their careers take off!

  • Bobby’s Robot

    I like the idea of starting with 20 and then bringing in the All-Stars for the Top 10 – best of both worlds.

    • Maggie

      We’ve been throwing that idea around on our blog, http://www.puresytycd.com. I think it’s a great one, it gives the top 20 something to shoot for (dancing with an all-star when they make top 10) but it also gives the viewers an opportunity to see the partnerships blossom between dancers like they have in the past.

    • davey

      ditto!

    • Christie

      Agreed, for sure. It will give the dancers more time to mature without injuring themselves like crazy, and we’ll hopefully get to see some of the growth in partnerships! I really hope they go with that.

    • sherimoonzombie

      That gets my vote too.

    • Drew

      I’m not sure how happy I’d be with that. I feel like it won’t give us enough time with the All-Stars. By the time the competition got 5 weeks in this season, they were already saying Kent, Lauren, and occasionally Robert and Billy, were dancing at or above the level of the All-Stars. Also, we’d only get 3-4 weeks with the All-Stars, if they stick with 2 eliminations per week. If it starts with partnerships, it should end with partnerships, IMO.

      • ImStillToni

        Drew, this show isn’t about the All-Stars. Until this season, we barely even seen the previous winner return so why is having enough time with the All-Stars even relevant? We are lucky to see them return, but the show is about the current contestants, not the former. Having the All-Stars come in at the TOP 10 is indeed a privilege for us, the contestants, and the All-Stars themselves, but I think having only a Top 10 and then immediately All-Stars start dancing with them is what caused all these injuries this season in addition to making the contestants look amateurish off the bat instead of maturing on a weekly basis. Dancing with an AS should be earned, not just given off the bat IMO.

    • Beth

      I think that would be a good way to go, too. Especially if they eliminate 2 each week in the top 10 and keep the male/female ratio even. I loved seeing the all-stars, but wanted to see more of the male all-stars partnering women (though a lot of the guy/guy routines this year were awesome). Oh, and how about they let our votes count earlier, too? Glad to see they’re considering some tweaking to the new format!

    • Marion

      I like that idea a lot!!! I felt underwhelmed by the first half of the season when the new dancers weren’t reaching up to the all-stars. I think starting with 20 dancers and letting them dance with each other first will give them time to grow more.

    • Heidi

      I love the idea of a top20 pairing together and then bringing in the allstars to pair with the top 10. I am glad to have Mia this year, or lets say, I’d rather have her on panel than not at all. Mary, while i respect her knowledge, is so annoying…gotta love Nigel’s botox comment! Adam has to stay, no if’s and’s or but’s about it!
      Did I say “GO KENT!”? Cause I meant to!

  • Sarah El

    I’ll be happy if Robert or Lauren beats Kent. Kent’s talented, sure, but I think Lauren and Robert have both grown much more in their versatility and maturity than Kent, who has also grown. But he’s the same age as Lauren and not much younger than Robert and he still seems like the total child next to them. Also, Kent has done four jazz, three contemporary, and two Broadway, which are not stretches for him. His only real genre bending routines were two cha-chas, one hip hop, a stepping routine, and a disco. Robert, by comparison, has done hip hop, bollywood, viennese waltz, argentine tango, disco, samba, and quickstep outside of jazz and contemporary. And LAUREN has done asmany non jazz/contemporary/Broadway (with two hip hop routines, an argentine tango, a cha cha, a samba, Tahitian, and a foxtrot) as she has done those three genres. /rantrantramble.

    • elr

      I agree about Kent not having to step out of his comfort zone as many times as Robert and Lauren. I think they should change up how they pick the dances they get. It is a dance competetion show and there are sooooo many different styles that they shouldn’t have to get the same style all the time. If one week they get contemporary then that style is taken out for them. Each contestant should dance a different style of dance from week-to-week. Maybe the show now has too many choreographers that do the same type of dance.

    • ba

      I love them all, but Lauren has been my absolute favorite from the beginning.

  • Jim Ross

    I really like the format with the all star dancers. It is really what kept me watching each week. One thing I would like to see added is for just one week everyone do the same dance. It would be a great comparison.

    • Superklutz

      Oh- I like this idea. It would be a great comparison, and harder for the judges to manipulate and pimp someone like Jose when compared apples to apples.

      • Megan

        I think that is a great idea. I am starting to lose interest because I felt like they cater to those who do not have as strong background.
        Like jose – he got a few hip hop type routines. I know he was a break dancer but hip hop is much easier than making him do another genre. It would be nice to see an actually faceoff.
        I used to LOVE this show. But this year it just wasnt working for me.

      • ashbo

        They tried that once (season 4 I want to say?), and it was a good idea, but trust me… After hearing the same song so many times (“Waiting on the World to Change”), it gets old… I started muting it.

      • Mike

        That’s right – I totally forgot about that. I still can’t hear that song without wanting to run screaming from the room. Way too repetitive (both music and choreography) – didn’t make for good TV. They were smart to junk that idea.

      • jrm

        How about just the same style for everybody each week? Like say week 1 is contemp., week 2 is hip hop, week three latin, etc.

      • JS

        It was season 3…I blatantly remember Sabra doing the Wade Robson choreography with the white t-shirt with the peace sign on it.

      • Beth

        Except it wouldn’t necessarily be comparing apples to apples. Let’s say they pick hip-hop. Any hip-hop dancers on the show would have the advantage. Same thing with any other style. Maybe they should have a show where everyone dances in their own style? With the same choreographers doing each style (ex. Travis Wall doing all the contemporary dances)? Ahh..it still wouldn’t be objective because so much depends on the dancer and the choreographer and how they work together. Good thoughts, though!

      • McFudge

        Oh God, that was the worst idea ever. I guess it looked good on paper, but there were about 1001 dancers left who did it…ok, I think maybe 10 or so, but it sure seemed like more. A LOT more. Aside from the fact that, frankly, I saw no discernible difference in quality between any of the contestants, it was terrible choreography.

      • @JS

        You may want to look up the word blatant and see what it means. Your usage here is totally wrong and makes no sense.

    • ImStillToni

      JS is right. That season Wade choreographed a short piece set to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change” and EVERY contestant danced the piece wearing the same outfit which included a t-shirt with a PEACE sign on it. Great premise, but after the 5th contestant (I think there were at least 8+ at the time) I wanted to tear off my ears instead of hearing that song one more time. MAYBE same piece, rotating some or same style per a show would work

  • Bill Peyton

    The contestants have been great this year. The judges not so ! I am hoping that Mary Murphy will be back next season. Mia Michaels’ needs to go ! I found the judges’ comments to be directed negatively toward those that they wanted eliminated with the hope that their criticisms would influence the voting…..notable doting on Lauren….who just isn’t all that good. Since we can’t have Alex….I hope that Kent wins.

    • J

      YES! Bring back Mary Murphy!!!!!!

    • Mike

      Honestly, I can’t say I’ve missed the screaming and the “hot tamale train.” But I have missed the ballroom expertise. They should make Toni Redpath a permanent judge.

      • foresha

        Yes. They need someone on the panel who can offer specific critiques for the ballroom/latin dances, but Mary never had enough substance between the screams. I vote for Toni.

      • Beth

        Me, too! I thought Toni was the best guest judge this season. Though I like Mary, too.

      • Raittfan

        The all star format was pure genius and enabled an astounding amount of growth from our new dancers by being partnered with seasoned dancers. The choreography has been a-m-a-zing this year,the music has been really great and it seems each year draws even more incredible talent than the previous year. Toni Redpath made a great addition and I would love to see her as a permanent judge also. I miss Mary Murphy but it was sooo much more pleasant this year without all the cringing and ear bleeding and headaches., it would be really hard to go back to all that screaming.

    • f11

      Lo is that good so eff off.

      • @JS

        No, she’s not. Is she good? Yes. Is she all that and then some? No.

      • @f11

        Oops, that was for f11, not JS.

    • Peter Popper

      Lauren is amazing and week after week has shown tremendous growth. Biased for the boys much?

      • @Peter Popper

        Only because the boys were that much better than Lauren.

    • Royal

      Mia – NO
      Mary – Yes, MINUS THE SCREAM. It is not cute, it’s old and annoying.

  • gemapet

    All Stars were a great addition. Problem: having the judges pick to top 4 – the audience vote was counted as of the top 10 previously – if only using a top 10 again, the judges should not have a choice – should just be audience votes from the start.

    • Beth

      I disagree that it should be audience votes from the start – then it ends up like American Idol with really talented people going home too early. I like the judges deciding at the beginning since it almost always takes a while for us to warm up to certain dancers (i.e. Robert this year). But I do agree they should’ve let the audience decide things sooner this season.

    • Nicole

      I think that they still need the judges choice at the beginning. And it’s almost the same, considering the number of people. If it had worked out like it was originally supposed to, with only ten dancers, then the equivalent place to stop would be at the top 5. That way it’s still half and half. They may have been intending to to that in the first place, but with there not actually being a top 5 week and the double elimination, maybe that didn’t work out? Or maybe it was always going to be the top 4, I have no idea what they were thinking.

      I do like the All Stars too. I think it definitely pushes the contestants to do better, since the All Stars are basically always dancing in their genre, which they’re obviously good at. I think it gives a better comparison too, within the dance.

  • JayK

    I love, love, love the All-Star format. They’re all brilliant and it’s always a treat to watch ANY of them dance. I would like to see more of the All-Stars dancing on results night. The bad thing with voting off one contestant per week is that you lose girls more quickly which means fewer chances for male All-Stars (e.g MARK!!!) to dance.

    • @JayK

      Why would you lose girls “more quickly” as you put it if only one contestant was voted off per week versus two?

  • BeBe

    LAUREN SHOULD WIN because she is clearly the best dancer and most consistent. Kent is just on top of the votes because of all of the little girls who love him however is still very talented. I’m just annoyed but all of the screams every week.

    • Drew

      But that’s how the world is. Look at Lee DeWyze v. Crystal. The better performer lost, but America’s favorite won. Kent is on top of the votes because people vote for him. If that gets him the win then that’s great because that’s what the competition is about. If it was pure talent, America wouldn’t have a say from the start.

      • Andrea

        Exactly! The greater public does not have the knowledge to choose based on talent alone. They really can only be counted on to vote based on their affinity for a dancer. It’s a popularity contest, and that’s all it can ever be, with the panel of judges there really to offer “expert” critiques and corrections which may or may not influence the votes.

      • Tarc

        Actually, the guy with two indie records that he wrote himself, and the guy that will sell the most records won. I love Crystal and think she’s fantastic, but Lee deserved the American Idol win. To me, this year, the three on SYTYCD are very close. I like Robert the best, but Lauren is the best dancer NOW, and Kent is the most likely to be successful in the future. It’s a hard choice.

      • Heidi

        That is why the title is “America’s favorite Dancer” not BEST.and as far as allstars go…can we be done with Comfort already?

      • @Tarc

        Lee DeWyze was probably the worst singer to win since Fantasia. The man can’t hold a note in tune and sings like he’s starved for oxygen and should have a tank next to him.

      • mas

        Was not a Comfort fan and was shocked they were bringing her back, but I thought she was amazing as an All-Star.

  • BeBe

    And please dont bring back Mary Murphy…I cant handle her every week. Mia Michaels is a better judge for sure!

    • Lady Jane

      I’m completely fine with the judges this year.

      I’m of the school that you don’t have to be fake nice to the dancers,

      The judges should be teachers. Many viewers aren’t judging the dancing but rather reacting to the physical look of the dancer or the personality or even just the choreography or the music, but by getting specific, the judges help us focus on what’s important in a given performance. Mia knows what she’s talking about, she just hasn’t learned how to be precise enough. Using metaphors (“It was a donut hole”) may work in the conceptual world of art where she’s automatically taken as an authority, but they don’t translate to the average viewer. She’ll “grow” into judging, to use a word Nigel loves.

      As for Mary Murphy, rerun those tapes. In fact most dancers over the years don’t nail ballroom because, of all the formats, it’s the one where the distance between doing it right and falling into self parody is razor thin. It requires such an arch and contrived persona to carry off, it’s hard not to pastiche it. Mary would often leap up and scream over a performance that might be okay in the spirit of the style but not great technically. She downplayed mistakes in favor of showmanship and she always apologized before saying anything critical. And then she screamed.

      If I were Nigel, I’d be telling Adam and Mia to shelve the generalizations in favor of short, sharp, pointed critique. People got it in their heads this year that the panel was persecuting AdeChike and he became the sympathy vote. In fact the problem was they were too effusive over the good dancers. They created an underdog and he got farther than he should have because of it.

  • Strepsi

    Nigel’s last comment was so true about growth, so how’s this for an idea? Next season, EVERY contestant, EVERY week, has to dance with Pasha!

    I would be all over that.

    • bee

      And every viewer too. That wins my vote.

  • Colleen

    While I will miss Adechike (he often got too harsh of comments from the judges), I think this the true top 3. I do like the format this year with a top 10 plus the all stars…keep this format please!

    • @Colleen

      Oh, please, the judges nailed Billy Bell to the cross for about 5 weeks in a row and he couldn’t catch a break from them. I do think they were harsh on AdeChike but he wasn’t the only one to get beat up. Stop acting like he was.

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