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“American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” scoops

American Idol is underway and So You Think You Can Dance is making big changes for its next season. Producer Nigel Lythgoe spoke about both when he walked the red carpet for the College Television Awards. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation gave Lythgoe a Philanthropy Award for his humanitarian work.

For Idol, Lythgoe offered his picks for this season’s contest. “I like two of the girls to be honest with you,” he said. “I like Crystal very much. I think I like Siobhan the best to be honest. There’s something really sweet about her.”

Idol remains a staple of Fox’s musical reality competitions. “It started off, I didn’t think it was a totally vintage year but I think the talent is starting to come out.”

Meanwhile, So You Think You Can Dance is changing the contest this year. They are having fewer contestants and bringing back winners as All Star dancers to work with the new competitors. If you’re worried that this won’t be the SYTYCD you love, Lythgoe explained why you’ll like the new show more.

“There’s one thing that we could do which we’ve never done before, which is a sort of psychological side to it. That is we believe that everybody’s got a firefly inside them. A lot of people just don’t light it up and they don’t know how to light it up. You can get these very sort of bored, insular performances. We want them to come out of themselves and be charismatic. So we then bring somebody in that’s actually worked with Jerome Robbins, how they brought it out of their dancers, we’re going to try to do that.”

Still, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s worked for American Idol. “I don’t believe in if it ain’t broke you can’t fix it. I believe in keeping and refreshing things. Otherwise it gets broke.”

So You Think You Can Dance will still put on dance performances for the audience. Lythgoe hopes that this year, the dancers will outshine the material. “I just hope that we get to know the dancers better. I found that when I did it in the UK, we didn’t have enough time to get to know the contestants. People started voting for the choreography and the routines. It’s really important for me that they vote for the dancers. Sometimes we just don’t get enough time. With our format, we get to sort of, if we believe America has made a bad decision, we tend to keep the kids that we believe can progress because the first ones to go generally will be the hip hop kids because everyone goes, ‘Oh, they can’t dance.’ For me, they begin to bloom. Then I think the show is doing its job.”

Lythgoe also looks forward to seeing some of the “all stars” again. “That’s another great thing about this format is it will allow us to invest in the talent that we’ve found. Twitch’s humor I just adore so I’m really happy to see him. I can’t name the other names because I haven’t named them all yet, but I’m really happy to see the majority of them. They’re all, in their own genres, terrific.”

Guest judge Adam Shankman, who returns for another season, also supports the changes. “I love them,” Shankman said. “I love the changes on So You Think You Can Dance because the audience is going to get to focus on a single contestant this week. And, because of the all stars, they’re going to make the kids work much harder. They already have no nerves. The all stars will have no nerves. They’re already a game above.”

It’s not all shocking new changes though. Mia Michaels is back. “Well, I never felt we lost Mia. I think that was a stage of Mia wanting to blossom. I know she went to Canada. She was on the series anyway. She did the auditions so it never felt to me like we’ve lost her. That was for everyone else to talk about.”

Lythgoe has also been having fun with the viewers. If you believed that he was inviting former American Idol host Paula Abdul to his dance show, April Fools! “I tweeted the other day an April Fools joke that she’s going to be in the All Star dancing pool. Everyone went, ‘Oh, is she going to be dancing in the All Star pool?’ Of course it was April the 1st and people started to realize. So I called her beforehand and said, ‘I’m going to tweet this. Don’t get worried.’”

Photo credit Fox. 2010 remaining 9 finalists. Clockwise from left: Tim Urban, Crystal Bowersox, Andrew Garcia, Casey James, Siobhan Magnus, Michael Lynche, Aaron Kelly, Katie Stevens and Lee DeWyze.
 American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance air on Fox.

About Fred Topel

Fred Topel has been an entertainment journalist in Los Angeles since 1999, for websites like Daily Radar, About.com, Crave Online and Sci Fi Wire. Follow his celebrity encounters on Twitter @FredTopel.

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One Comment

  • April 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    KInd of nice for DWTS’s producer to have some gracious remarks about Idol as well as reveal that the two gals people talk about, are his favorites.
    In a sense, Dancing With the Stars is like Idol vs. “only the winner counts!!” Survivor. It is about people you discover are pretty nice and admirable people who are competing against others who are similar – and though there ARE eliminations – it is about talented people enjoying the moment and working on getting better, for the most part.
    Guys like Nigel Lythgoe get this. He doesn’t truly care if a dancer comes in 7th or 3rd as long as that person had a great experience and the fans did too, because that means success is shared.
    I am a person that really hopes Siobhan, Crystal and a few of the guys like Casey and Tim and Lee Dewyze all do well. My fave is Siobhan, but I would not be unhappy at all learning next year that Tim Urban landed a large role in a hit new TV show after being bounced from Idol as the 7th or 6th person gone. Same with Crystals 1st album going gold later or finding Casey is signed to a 1st rate band. Or Siobhan finishing 3rd and the next thing she is singing the opening song on a James Bond movie. It’s all good.
    Just spare me the phonies and people’s emotions manipulators.

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