An Intervention with Nigel

Nigel Lythgoe, what were you thinking?

Last night’s So You Think You Can Dance was a two-hour celebration of everything I thought you loved about the show: strong technical dances, raw passionate dances, untrained talent, refined talent, smiles, tears, charisma, performance, the arts the arts the arts. You had me riding such a dance high, and then you just CRUSHED it.

Telling Cyrus you weren’t going to vote for him was cold. It would have been unprofessional at any point during the evening (actually, at any point during the season), but to heap that on him at the last minute, to make it the last thing that he and America heard, to end the show on the image of Cyrus struggling to smile: that was cruel.

Why the negativity? If you’re pro-Chehon, tell Chehon that. Tell him that you love his technique, his insanely high leaps, and the emotional growth he’s exhibited. Honor him for giving so much of his life to dance. Thank him for elevating the show. Tell him he’s got a long career ahead of him. Tell him he gets your vote. But don’t tell all of that to Cyrus and make it sound like a bad thing.

If you really don’t believe Cyrus should win, then why has the show made it so easy for him to win? You’ve spent this season reminding us that it’s all about crowning America’s FAVORITE Dancer and heaping praise on Cyrus for his personality, adaptability, and work ethic (rightly so—he has all three by the bucketful) but neglecting to really challenge or constructively critique him. Then you turn around and criticize him for something he has no control over: the fact that he got a late start in dance. If you’re just trying to dig yourself out of your own hole, it’s not working.

The comment was clearly so calculated, but to do what I cannot tell. You actually made it so that I won’t be upset if Cyrus wins. Maybe that was your real intention. You brought out Cyrus’s fans in droves and made it so everyone with a heart will accept his victory, even if they prefer Chehon. Now the fans won’t complain about the show because they’ll be too busy complaining about you. Tricky.

But also not cool.

If Eliana could just win it all, you wouldn’t even have this problem.

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