One of America’s favorite summer reality TV programs returns TONIGHT and this writer couldn’t be happier! So You Think You Can Dance kicks off its 8th season with a bang tonight at 8/7CST on Fox. The latest season, however, isn’t without its minor changes as Executive Producer (fresh off the heels of a lackluster Idol season) Nigel Lythgoe spurs changes “to please everybody,” he explains. This season, the show returns to it’s classic Top 20 format, but will introduce All-Stars into the mix a la Season 7 once the show breaks into the Top 10. Those All-Stars, however, will not be chosen until it is known who has made the coveted Top 10. To the appeal of many fans, the show is doing away with the Top 11 of last year and returning to some of the basic principles that made this show a hit. Still, Lythgoe insists pairing the All-Stars with the competitors really “lifted their game immensely” and that “it gave them confidence because they were working with somebody in [their] genre.”
Speaking of returning to some of the roots of the summer staple, “Hot Tamale Train” judge Mary Murphy is back behind the judge’s table! Murphy battled thyroid cancer last year and was replaced by Mia Michaels, alongside permanent judge Adam Shankman. “I think she’s going to be a little quieter this season,” Lythgoe jokes. “Evidently, she is only as loud as a small hairdryer now, and not the jet engine she used to be.” As for that third judge’s seat, it will return to be a revolving door for guest judges, which I for one couldn’t be happier about! Bring back the likes of Lil’ C, Debbie Allen, and even Tabitha and Napolean to the judge’s table. Hey, maybe Nigel will get his wish for Paula Abdul at the table for one week in an effort to pimp The X Factor which so happens to be premiering this fall on Fox.
As for this season’s dancers, Lythgoe notes there are less formally trained dancers, who he describes as “very, very interesting characters.” “We’re much more of a street nature. The kids that have come this season… are absolutely brilliant, and they are picking up ballroom and they are managing to do the Viennese Waltz — or the Vietnamese Waltz, as so many of them call it. We want to see something exciting, something that makes us go, ‘Wow, that’s great.’ So, I think that we’re delivering this year.” Are you psyched for the premiere of SYTYCD tonight? Don’t forget, we’ll provide recaps and we’ll be live blogging each show during the East Coast viewing time right here in our forums! Don’t miss a beat!