You wouldn’t know it, based on the utter disrespect, but SYTYCD 17×05 was the series’ 300th episode. Or, well. I guess you might be able to recognize the fact that we just
watched mourned So You Think You Can Dance 300, based on all the “congratulatory” videos from seemingly random stars.
You know who we didn’t get a message from? Like, the entire night? You guessed it: Nigel Lythgoe. Or Mary Murphy. And no, we didn’t hear from any of the past contestants—not even the previous winners!—either. Instead, we needed to see Ken Jeong make a corny AF joke, complete with bad dancing that belonged on the TikTok show. Clearly, that was more important than hearing from anyone who was part of getting us to this point.
Viewers were just dying to to make a literal mockery of the series (“har har so you think you Ken dance)! Totally the best way to celebrate So You Think You Can Dance‘s 300th episode. Nailed it. (As in, it felt like someone drove an actual nail through the heart of the show. A rusty one, at that.)
“But what about the choreographers,” you ask? Nah. In this incredibly rushed, smashed-together mess of a “celebration,” this week’s choreographers were as voiceless as our dance zeyde. It went something like this:
Blink. Choreographer in the audience, choppy cut back to the judges. If you don’t already know these names, good luck catching them!
Forget about the huge legacy of artistic icons who’ve created works for this series. We don’t care that, against all odds, many of them are now household names. No time for honoring them on a night meant for *checks notes* honoring them.
Let’s bury them, and the series, instead!
So You Think You Can Dance 300 celebrated…nothing
This is, in no way—absolutely zero shade intended—a commentary on the SYTYCD Top 12 for Season 17. And sorry, homophobes and folks who like to bully teenagers in their spare time: This isn’t on any planet negative commentary on JoJo Siwa.
Despite my initial concern about her joining the “jedges'” panel to appeal to the youths, this kid is actually killing it. Anyone who thinks she doesn’t know what she’s talking about is incapable of Googling. And, you know, they’re not exactly well-versed in all the very technical things she’s constantly bringing up. “Constantly” being a relative term in such a condensed season, of course.
In this particular too-short episode, JoJo was the first person to give Alexis and Keaton their deserved standing ovation. Actually. While we’re at it: Imagine if so much of this “big event” hadn’t defecated all over SYTYCD‘s legacy so we could just gush about that instead. Or about Thiago Pacheco’s sick lines. How about Waverly Fredericks’ everything? Or really any of the dancing. But see, dance has become a sidebar on this series. Just in time for its 300th.
Hate that for us!
I won’t say this about a lot of So You Think You Can Dance‘s 300th episode? But, as far as JoJo’s judging skills go, I’d actually say Mr. Lythgoe would be proud. I sure the hell am, after watching her get out of the toxic mess that was Dance Moms and go on to do bigger and better things. Which, full offense @ me: I was not kind to this child or her mother (mostly her mother, at least) back when I recapped the ballet tantrum episode. So, spare me claims that I’m only defending her as a fan because, honestly, all I’m a fan of here is dance. Period.
Which brings me to my next and biggest point: What the everloving fuck happened to the dance? What little of it we get to watch is as phenomenal as always. But we don’t get to focus on it as much. And then, there’s the judging problem.
We have Leah Remini, whose entire dance “background” is “lost DWTS,” as a judge now. And, truly, the “let me jump in and cut off tWitch, who actually knows what he’s talking about,” to say I agree with him bit? I—…no words. Honestly, the most accurate thing she said all night was “I can’t.” But even that was ruined by…whatever the overdone gasping noises were, the weird pretending to do the dance with tWitch bit, and…All of it, honestly.
This is just not the show for Remini. Especially when you consider that the obvious right choice—the one that really would’ve made a huge correction to an egregious error—would’ve been putting Lythgoe back in that center seat. You’d think “we brought in that guy from Glee to appeal to the youths. And then, something that smelled of harassment at best went down” would’ve been a clear indication that bad choices were made this season.
When Cat Deeley introduced Remini, the only way she could even tie dance in to her introduction was by calling her a “dance enthusiast.” I, too, am one of those. How do I get myself a role as Zack Morris’ six-episode girlfriend on a bad “summer” season of Saved by the Bell so I, too, can qualify to be a part of SYTYCD?
Again, this wasn’t a guest judging stint. I honestly would’ve been fine with that. I’d assume most viewers would say the same. This, however, was Remini taking a permanent (unless she, too, inappropriately reaches out to contestants) seat at the table. During a SYTYCD Top 12 reveal, doubling as a first in-studio performance, tripling(???) as a celebration of So You Think You Can Dance‘s 300th episode.
We don’t talk about choreographers here…
Remember when we used to have two-hour episodes, especially for things like auditions and Vegas Week? Vegas week, of course, became “Academy” when the series changed towns. But this season, it was a one-episode, rushed mash-up (a test run for So You Think You Can Dance 300?) of choreography.
More insult to injury: The choreography round featured a single choreographer, not many. And we stan Mandy Moore to death…but really? Ok.
Somewhere, in a crammed hour, So You Think You Can Dance 300 somehow had time for video greetings from celebrities like the aforementioned Jeong. Literally, the most legit of the bunch was Jennifer Lopez, who is the head judge on her own dance competition show, World of Dance. And, considering the absolute smack in the face that has been So You Think You Can Dance Season 17? I’d say we actually needed JLo to bring legitimacy to this thing.
But back to the mostly invisible choreographers.
To reiterate: The only person who even consistently mentioned the choreographers on the SYTYCD 300th episode was JoJo. I mean, unless you count Remini’s bit about grabbing her glasses to look up who choreographed one of the best numbers of the night. (Talia Favia, in case anyone cares. Which, apparently, the folks chopping this series up into tiny bits…don’t.)
I mean, I kind of get it, given the whole Travis Wall thing. They probably don’t want people stanning for choreographers after that…And yet, honestly? If we’d gotten Wall, a mention of his 10 billion Emmys or whatever, and some rehearsal footage with him telling an in-depth story about his piece’s inspiration? At least it would’ve actually felt like the show we’ve loved all these years.
Is Lythgoe wrapped up in some sort of scandal? At this point, it’s the only legitimate reason to completely leave him out of the mix, even for the 300th episode. I mean, his name’s still in the credits as the creator. Blink and you’ll miss it.
Nigel, we appreciate what you have done for dance, for dancers, and for choreographers all these years. Sorry you didn’t get to announce the SYTYCD Season 17 Top 12, or celebrate So You Think You Can Dance 300 on-screen. And we’re definitely sorry we won’t be hearing your feedback. Of course, we’re also sorry they rubbed salt in the wound by cutting the last tapper on this night, of all nights.