This morning So You Think You Can Dance executive Nigel Lythgoe took a moment to sit and chat with reporters about season 6 and the upcoming Carrie Underwood All-Star Holiday Special. We’ll share his thoughts on Carrie Underwood later, but wanted to share what the head judge had to say about So You Think You Can Dance and tonight’s Top 10 performance show.
Nigel says we all have a real treat coming our way tonight in the form of a Jakob Karr performance choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, as well as confirmation that Jakob’s new partner is Ellenore Scott. Nigel also chatted amiably about the Di Lello’s (in spite of forgetting Ashleigh’s name), missing Billy Bell, and the impressive growth of some of season 6’s dancers.
Are you excited about the shows move to Fall?
“To be frank I’m delighted whenever it’s on. Just the fact that it’s on, it’s a great pleasure to watch every week. Am i delighted with the scheduling and baseball mix-ups? No, of course not. I think the early part of this season was very difficult for us. Just the fact we’re on air, I’m absolutely delighted about that.”
Has the dynamic changed with the first married couple being part of season 6?
“It hasn’t really affected us in anyway or form. The Di Lello’s have been extremely professional. The relationship developed by Jakob and Ashleigh was out and out dance and dance technique and they loved each other and loved being partners with each other. The same with Ryan and Ellenore. They were relationships formed from pure dance.
In the end of the day she’s in competition with her husband and he’s in competition with her. I think she and Ryan have been two of the dancers who’ve grown the most this year.”
It’s been a season of growth and surprises, which dancer’s have been the biggest surprise for you?
“I think the biggest surprise, well, there’s a number of them. I think Russell, the krumper from Boston is an enormous surprise. I don’t know where his lines comes from. Legacy has grown far more than I thought he would. Early on I didn’t think the boy had any musicality. When I first saw him he was just a tricker. And the two ballroom kids are just tremendous.
That’s part of what is always a pleasure about So You Think You Can Dance, seeing the dancers act as sponges and soak up everything. From the choreographers they work with to learning from each other. Unlike most shows of this style, the dancer’s help each other tremendously.”
Other than youth, do you think the 18 and 19 year old’s of the competition have an advantage over the older dancers?
“I don’t think they do to be frank with you. In fact they may be at a disadvantage. They’re a little lacking because they don’t have life experience. So much of dance is about sensuality and sexuality and without life experience it is more a performance than a living breathing of the soul. I think the 18 and 19 year old’s are actually missing something important.”
What’s the deal with Paula Abdul being a guest judge?
“I’ve got the same question as every one else I’m afraid. Whenever I see her, I ask. She always tells me to have my people, call her people. I don’t have any people so I keep calling. No one answers. I think we’ve sold the chair now.”
You’ve all been so enthusiastic about Jakob Karr and his talent. What do you see in his future?
“A huge future. I haven’t spoken about him today because I’ve been talking about surprises. He’s no surprise to me. He came to us the outstandingly brilliant dancer.
Tonight he does perhaps the best routine we’ve seen this season, in a genre and style you wouldn’t expect. In the Sonya style. Ellenore and Sonya probably come from the same planet and speak the same language, so we expected them to work well. But not necessarily Jakob.
I think he has a huge career ahead. I’m sorry to a certain degree we lost Billy Bell. Because I would love to have seen the battle between Billy and Jakob, because they are of equal strengths.”