‘SYTYCD’: And Then There Were 20… For Now

by Kristyn Burtt | 7/17/2018 3:07 PM

Photo credit: Adam Rose/FOX


Well, viewers finally got their Top 20 contestants on So You Think You Can Dance, but the Top 20 only lasted a few minutes before a bomb dropped on them. Welcome to the twist! I’ve been warning you since March and so has Jeff Thacker.


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“We have a very core section of fans and we listened to them. We like to switch it up a bit because we don’t like to become stagnant. We are going back to a Top 20-ish look,” disclosed Thacker to Dance Network back in March at the LA auditions.


When Nigel Lythgoe was asked that same week about “Top 20-ish,” the free-flowing information he usually provides went away quickly. Nigel clammed right up.


“I’m not going to mention that. You will have to wait and see,” he said.


Nobody ever told me what the twist was during this process, but I was able to figure it out by putting on my producer hat and looking back at the past two seasons.


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The last two casts had only 10 contestants. While we did have an additional 10 All-Stars in Seasons 13 and 14, they all lived in Los Angeles —minus Fik-Shun, who worked as a local. This means that FOX did not have to provide housing, airfare and per diem to 10 people.


Once you take those extra expenses out of a budget, you don’t get them back — just ask Dancing With the Stars. Once the results shows, full orchestra and All-Access show went away, it never came back. That’s why I knew we were only getting a Top 10 this season.


It was only a matter of figuring out how the twist was going down, but Jeff had already told me that the All-Stars were a part of the Academy Week.


“We are going to bring the All-Stars about halfway through,” he said in March. “They aren’t going to mentor anymore, so it’s back to putting together the teams [of contestants] for Season 15.”


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On the day I visited the Academy, I knew that multiple choreographers were involved with the twist as were some of our favorite All-Stars — some of whom hadn’t been seen in a while. I knew this was going to be an epic showdown for the final 20 contestants.


I put Nigel on the spot at the Academy that day by asking, “Is it whittling down to Top 10 by the time we reach the live shows?”


Nigel was silent and I had my confirmation… all caught on tape.


According to Dance Network sources, the contestants were told of the twist on Monday. The Top 10 women had their final dances on Tuesday and the men had their final dances on Wednesday. On Thursday, the finalists’ photo shoot took place and that is the day I met the Season 15 cast. I think they are pretty spectacular.


So buckle up, enjoy the last two weeks of some hardcore dancing and then join me backstage each week at So You Think You Can Dance beginning Monday, Aug. 6.


Don’t miss the latest ‘To The Pointe Live with Kristyn Burtt’ featuring Season 2 ‘World of Dance’ contestants Marissa Heart from Marissa & the Heartbreakers and Dumbo from Poreotics: WATCH HERE.