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So You Think You Can Dance (American TV series)

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So You Think You Can Dance
Created by
Developed bySimon Fuller
Directed by
Presented by
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons18
No. of episodes319
Executive producers
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseJuly 20, 2005 (2005-07-20) –

So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) is an American reality television dance competition show that currently airs on Fox in the United States and is the flagship series of the international So You Think You Can Dance television franchise. It was created by American Idol producers Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe and is produced by 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions The series premiered on July 20, 2005, with over ten million viewers and ended the summer season as the top-rated show on television. The first season was hosted by American news personality Lauren Sánchez. Since the second season, it has been hosted by English former children's television personality and game show emcee Cat Deeley.

The show features a format where dancers trained in a variety of dance genres enter open auditions held in several major U.S. cities to showcase their talents and move forward through successive additional rounds of auditions to test their ability to adapt to different styles. At the end of this process, a small number of dancers are chosen as finalists. These dancers move on to the competition's main phase, where they perform solo, duet, and group dance numbers on live television, attempting to master a diverse selection of dance styles, including classical, contemporary, ballroom, hip-hop, street, club, jazz and musical theatre styles, among others. They compete for the votes of the broadcast viewing audience which, combined with the input of a panel of judges, determines which dancers advance to the next stage from week to week, until a winner is crowned as "America's favorite dancer".

So You Think You Can Dance has won seven Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and a total of nine Emmy Awards altogether. Licensed variations of the show, produced for broadcast markets in other nations, began airing in August 2005 and dozens of localized adaptations of the show have been produced since, airing in 41 countries to date. The sixteenth season premiered June 3, 2019.[1] On February 20, 2020, the show was renewed for a seventeenth season, that was set to air in the summer of 2020,[2] but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the season was indefinitely postponed on June 18, 2020,[3] and eventually premiered on May 18, 2022.[4] In December 2023, it was revealed that an eighteenth season would start filming in Atlanta from December 4, 2023, to January 29, 2024.[5] The eighteenth season would premiere on March 4, 2024.[6][7] Lythgoe departed from the show in January 2024 following a sex abuse lawsuit from one of the show's judges Paula Abdul.[8][9] Jojo Siwa would join the judging panel to replace Lythgoe.[10]

Show format[edit]

Television presenter Cat Deeley has served as the host of So You Think You Can Dance since its second season, presenting every episode since 2006.

A typical season of So You Think You Can Dance is divided between a selection process, during which expert judges select competitors from a wide pool of applicant dancers, and a competition phase, during which these 'finalists' (more typically referred to as the 'Top 20') compete for votes from home viewers. Although it is produced over months, the selection phase is highly edited and usually constitutes only the first 2 to 4 weeks of aired episodes with the competition episodes forming the remaining 7 to 9 weeks of the season.

Open auditions[edit]

The open auditions, the first stage in determining a season's finalists, take place in 2 to 6 major U.S. cities each season and are typically open to anyone aged 18 to 30 at the time of their audition, although season 13 focused on a younger class of competitors, ages 8 to 14. The cities where auditions are held change from season to season but some, such as Los Angeles and New York City, have featured in most seasons. During this stage, the dancers perform a brief routine (typically a solo, but duet and group routines are allowed as well) before a panel of dance experts usually headed by series creator and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe. This panel then decides on the spot whether the dancer demonstrated enough ability and performance value to proceed further. If the dancer exhibited exceptional ability in their performance, judges award "a ticket to Vegas" (or in more recent seasons "a ticket to the Academy"), moving them instantly one step forward in the competition. Alternatively, if judges are on the fence about the dancer, they may ask the contestant to wait until the end of that day's auditions to participate in a short test of their ability to pick up professional choreography.


The second stage of the selection process is referred to as "the callbacks" (this round was referenced as "Vegas Week" for much of the show's run, as it was held in Las Vegas, but has been called Academy Week since season 13, later called the Choreography Round in season 17). The callbacks consist of a several-day-long process in which the remaining hopefuls are tested for overall well-rounded dance ability, stamina, creativity, and ability to perform under pressure. The dancers are put through a battery of rounds that test their ability to pick up various dance styles; these are typically some of the more well-represented genres that are later prominent in the competition phase, such as hip-hop, jazz, ballroom, and contemporary. Additionally, the dancers may be asked to perform further solos in styles of their choosing and participate in a group choreography round in which small teams of contestants must display their musicality and ability to communicate professionally by choreographing a performance to a randomly selected piece of music — this challenge is notable as being the only time competitors are asked to choreograph themselves, aside from solos.

The callbacks are often collectively portrayed as one of the most exhausting and stressful stages of the competition; each successive round sees cuts in which a significant portion of the remaining dancers are eliminated from the competition and are given a limited amount of time to adapt to styles they are sometimes wholly unfamiliar with while being physically taxed by the rapid progression of rounds and a limited amount of rest. At the end of this process, usually less than 40 competitors remain in a pool the final contestants are chosen. Most seasons have featured 20 "top" finalists for the competition portion of the show, but season 1 was represented by a Top 16, season 7 saw a Top 11, seasons 13 through 15 have featured a Top 10, and season 17 saw a Top 12.

Finalist stage[edit]

Following the finalist selection process, the show transitions into its regular competition phase, which lasts for the rest of the season. The competition stage is typically divided into eight weeks, generally with two contestants eliminated per week. Dancers are paired up into male-female couples that will sometimes stay paired for much of the remaining competition if neither is eliminated (since season 7, competitors have also been occasionally paired with "All Stars", returning dancers from previous seasons who partner with the contestant dancers, but who are not themselves competing). These couples perform 1 or 2 duets per week in different styles which are typically, but not always, randomly selected. These duets, as with all non-solo performances at this stage in the competition, are choreographed by professional choreographers. Before most duet performances, a video packet of clips of the couple preparing to perform the routine is shown. These packets are intended not only to demonstrate the couple's efforts to master the routine, but also to give glimpses of the personalities and personal histories of the dancers, as well as insights from the choreographer as to the thematic, narrative, and artistic intentions of the piece. Following each duet performance, the week's panel of judges gives critical feedback, often emphasizing the two key areas of technique and performance value. Duets and their accompanying video packets and critiques typically take up the majority of an episode but are often supplemented by solos, group numbers, and occasionally guest dance or musical performances.

Picture of Nigel Lythgoe
Nigel Lythgoe is co-creator of the So You Think You Can Dance franchise, and has been executive producer of the U.S. and U.K. productions for their entire runs. He also served as a permanent judge for the first sixteen seasons of the U.S. production as well as the entire run of the U.K. production.

In season 1, each week of the competition featured a single episode, with dancers' eliminations pre-recorded the week they occurred and then broadcast at the beginning of the next week's episode. In seasons 2 to 8, the show's weekly format was split between two episodes, a performance episode, as described above, and a results show which revealed the outcome of the at-home-viewer voting following the performance show of the same week. More recent seasons have returned to a one-show-per-week format, but with each week's episode typically reflecting the results of voting for the previous week's performances, with these results revealed at the end of the following week's performances. Depending on the stage of the competition, each week may feature eliminations that are based entirely on an at-home viewer vote, or the vote may simply create a group of bottom dancers from which the show's judges will select the final eliminations. Voting has also varied by season (and often within seasons) regarding whether the voter selected individuals or couples. Following the announcement of their elimination, dancers are typically given a brief send-off via a video montage. Each competitive episode ends with a quick recap of the night's routines accompanied by voting prompts. Episodes typically last around two hours, commercials included. There has also been variability in how long couples are kept together and how the at-home-viewer votes are balanced against judge decisions, though ultimately at some point in every season, the judges give up their power to save dancers, and eliminations are determined exclusively by viewer votes. The total number of hours shown in a given week during the performance phase of the competition has varied from two to four hours.

The finale episode is often the most elaborately produced show of a season and features the last performances of the competitors, encore performances of many of the season's most acclaimed routines, guest dancers (including returning past season competitors and cast members from other international versions of the franchise), musical performances, and multiple video packets chronicling the course of the season's events, all culminating in the announcement of the winner of the competition. Most seasons have featured a single winner, while seasons 9 and 10 featured both male and female winners. Following the closure of the season, the Top Ten dancers often go on tour for several months, performing hit routines from the season among other performances.


A typical season of So You Think You Can Dance is presided over by a panel of 2 to 4 permanent judges, supplemented by occasional guest judges, with the panel sometimes ballooning up to twice or more its normal size for callback episodes or season finales. Executive producer and co-creator of the show Nigel Lythgoe was the only judge to have sat as a permanent member of the panel across all seasons except Season 17, although ballroom specialist Mary Murphy has also sat as a permanent member of the panel for the majority of seasons; Lythgoe was set to return as a judge on the show's upcoming eighteenth season, but left the show in January 2024. Other permanent judges have included film director and choreographer Adam Shankman, contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels, pop music and dance icon Paula Abdul, noted youth dancer Maddie Ziegler, actress and singer Vanessa Hudgens, music and dance artist Jason Derulo, choreographer and TV personality Laurieann Gibson, actress, dancer and singer JoJo Siwa, actor and singer Matthew Morrison and successful show alumni Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval.

Many earlier seasons frequently featured guest judges in occasional episodes, although this practice has become increasingly rare. These guest judge positions have typically been filled by choreographers who regularly work on the show (who in rare cases may also be former contestants themselves) as well as by iconic names from the entertainment industry. Guest judges for the show have included: Debbie Allen, Christina Applegate, Robin Antin, Toni Basil, Cicely Bradley, Kristin Chenoweth, Misty Copeland, Alex Da Silva, Ellen DeGeneres, Tyce Diorio, Joey Dowling, Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo, Carmen Electra, Brian Friedman, Jean-Marc Généreux, Jason Gilkison, Neil Patrick Harris, Hi-Hat, Katie Holmes, Dan Karaty, Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lil' C, Rob Marshall, Mandy Moore, Megan Mullally, Kenny Ortega, Toni Redpath, Debbie Reynolds, Wade Robson, Doriana Sanchez, Shane Sparks, Sonya Tayeh, Olisa Thompson, Stacey Tookey, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Travis Wall.

Overview of format and presentation by season[edit]

Season Dates Host Permanent judges Separate results show? Dancer showcase episode?[a] Number of finalists in first live show Number of contestants eliminated per week Number of contestants remaining in finale Number of winners All-Stars included
in format?
Point at which judge eliminations end Voting for individual dancers starting with
1 Summer 2005
Lauren Sánchez Nigel Lythgoe No No 16 2 4 1 No Top 8 Top 8
2 Summer 2006
Cat Deeley Yes No 20 2 4 1 No Top 10 Top 10
3 Summer 2007
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Yes No 20 2 4 1 No Top 10 Top 10
4 Summer 2008
Yes No 20 2 4 1 No Top 10 Top 10
5 Summer 2009
Yes No 20 2 4 1 No Top 10 Top 10
6 Fall 2009
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Adam Shankman
Yes Yes 20 2 6 1 No Top 10 Top 10
7 Summer 2010
Nigel Lythgoe
Adam Shankman
Mia Michaels
Yes Yes 11 1[b] 3 1 Yes Top 4 Top 11
8 Summer 2011
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Yes Yes[c] 20 2[b] 4 1 Yes Top 6 Top 10
9 Summer 2012
No Yes[c] 20 2[b] 4 2 Yes Top 6 Top 20
10 Summer 2013
No Yes[c] 20 2 4 2 Yes Top 6 Top 20
11 Summer 2014
No Yes 20 2 4 1 Yes Top 10 Top 20
12 Summer 2015
Nigel Lythgoe
Paula Abdul
Jason Derulo
No Yes 20 2[d] 4 1 Yes Top 14 Top 20
13[e] Summer 2016
Nigel Lythgoe
Paula Abdul
Jason Derulo
Maddie Ziegler
No Yes 10 1[f] 4 1 Yes Top 8 Top 10
14 Summer 2017
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Vanessa Hudgens
No No 10 1 4 1 Yes Top 6 Top 10
15 Summer 2018
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Vanessa Hudgens
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
No No 10 2 4 1 Yes Top 8 Top 10
16 Summer 2019
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Laurieann Gibson
Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval
No No 10 2 4 1 Yes Top 8 Top 10
17 Summer 2022
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
JoJo Siwa
Matthew Morrison
Leah Remini
No No 12 2[g] 2 1 Yes Top 6 Top 12[h]
18 Spring 2024
Allison Holker
JoJo Siwa
Maksim Chmerkovskiy
No No 10 2 3 1 No Top 3 Top 10

Dance styles and choreographers[edit]

Throughout its seventeen seasons, So You Think You Can Dance has featured dozens of distinct dance styles in its choreographed routines. Most of these styles fall into four categories that are regularly showcased and can be found in almost every performance episode: western contemporary/classical styles, ballroom styles, hip-hop/street styles as well as Jazz and its related styles. Various other forms of dance that do not especially fall into these broad categories are seen as well, but not as regularly. The following styles have all been seen in a choreographed duet or group routine; styles featured only in auditions or solos are not listed.

Classical styles[edit]

Routines from the classically derived style of contemporary dance are the most common dances seen on the show, being seen in every performance episode of the series (and typically at least twice per episode). While contemporary, lyrical, and modern dance are typically considered three separate (if overlapping) styles of dance, the practice on So You Think You Can Dance has been to refer to all routines in this area as "contemporary", except in the first season where the label "lyrical" was used for the same purpose. Ballet routines occur much more rarely, at a rate of one or two per season, since their introduction in the fourth season.

Genre Styles
Western Classical styles
Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, Ballet/Pas de Deux
Dee Caspary, Tessandra Chavez, Sean Cheesman, Thordal Christensen, Tyce Diorio, Joey Dowling, Talia Favia, Justin Giles, Mandy Moore, Mia Michaels, Lindsay Nelko, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Jaci Royal, Garry Stewart, Sonya Tayeh, Stacey Tookey, Travis Wall, Tovaris Wilson, Keith Young

Street and club styles[edit]

Hip-hop routines are also present in every performance episode. While these routines frequently feature elements from many different subgenres of hip-hop (locking and popping, for example) and various "street" styles (such as breaking), they are typically all labeled under the umbrella term of hip-hop. An exception is the now frequently featured lyrical hip-hop, which is unique amongst all styles on SYTYCD in that it is the only one that is held to have become a known distinct style at least in part as a result of the show; the style is widely attributed to regular show choreographers Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo and the term itself to judge Adam Shankman. These two broad categories are occasionally supplemented by routines that are labeled as krump, breakdancing, waacking, and stepping.

Genre Styles
Street and Contemporary Club Styles
Hip-hop (umbrella term for all Popping, Locking, and New Style/Commercial Hip-Hop styles), Lyrical Hip-hop, Breaking, Krump, Stepping, Waacking, Vogue
Cicely Bradley, Luther Brown, Tessandra Chavez, Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo, Dan Karaty, Marty Kudelka, Lil' C, Keone and Mari Madrid, Chuck Maldonado, Todd Sams, Christopher Scott, Dave Scott, Shane Sparks, Jamal Sims, Olisa Thompson, Dana Wilson, Pharside and Phoenix, Luam, Mark Kanemura

Ballroom styles[edit]

Ballroom styles are also seen regularly in every performance episode. These routines may use the movement of traditional International Standard forms or lean toward American competitive styles. Other routines may use street or regional variants or may combine elements of different variations.

Genre Styles
Standard or Smooth Ballroom styles
Foxtrot, Tango, Argentine Tango, Quickstep, Waltz (including Smooth Waltz, Slow Waltz, American Slow Waltz, and Viennese Waltz variants)
Latin/Rhythm Ballroom styles
Bolero, Cha-Cha-Cha, Jive, American Jive, Mambo, Paso Doble, Rumba, Salsa, Street Salsa, Samba, African Samba
Mark Ballas, Leonardo Barrionuevo, Sharna Burgess, Dmitry Chaplin, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Alex Da Silva, Sasha Farber, Anya Garnis, Jean-Marc Généreux, Jason Gilkison, Hunter Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Pasha Kovalev, Melanie LaPatin, Miriam Larici, Liz Lira, Michael Mead, Tony Meredith, Tomas Mielnicki, Ron Montez, France Mousseau, Mary Murphy, Jonathan Platero, Oksana Platero, Toni Redpath, Jonathan Roberts, Elena Samodanova, Fabian Sanchez, Edward Simon, Emma Slater, Heather Smith, J.T. Thomas, Louis Van Amstel, Gustavo Vargas, Glenn Weiss

Jazz, Broadway, and musical theater styles[edit]

Jazz is featured in nearly all performance episodes. While these routines are typically labeled simply "Jazz", the genre is notable as being one of the most fusional featured on the show and various style combinations and sub-categories have been referenced. Descended from Jazz but treated as a separate genre on SYTYCD, "Broadway" is analogous to the label "musical theater" outside the U.S.

Genre Styles
Jazz Styles
Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Modern Jazz, Lyrical Jazz, African Jazz, Jazz-Funk, Latin Jazz, Pop-Jazz/Pop
Broadway/musical theatre styles
Broadway, Burlesque, Can-Can, Tap
Chloe Arnold, Al Blackstone, Andy Blankenbuehler, Warren Carlyle, Sean Cheesman, Tyce Diorio, Joey Dowling, Brian Friedman, Laurie Ann Gibson, Savion Glover, Derick K. Grant, Mark Kanemura, Charles Klapow, Ray Leeper, Spencer Liff, Mandy Moore, Anthony Morigerato, Amanda Robson, Wade Robson, Sonya Tayeh, Travis Wall, Nick Young

American social styles[edit]

These dance styles are featured less frequently than their ballroom relatives but have been seen intermittently since the first season.

Genre Styles
American Social / Traditional Club Styles
Charleston, Country-Western Two-Step, Disco, Go-Go, Hustle, Lindy Hop, Rock n' Roll, Swing, West Coast Swing
Ronnie DeBenedetta, Carla Heiney, Brandi Tobais, Travis Payne, Doriana Sanchez, Benji Schwimmer, Kristen Sorci, Maria Torres, Nick Williams

Regional/traditional styles[edit]

In addition to the broad categories above, many more styles that are less common in the U.S. are sometimes featured. Most of these are seen only once, but the Bollywood style has been featured several times per season since the fourth season.

Genre Styles
Regional/Traditional Styles
Bollywood, African, Capoeira, Flamenco, Irish, Kalinka, Malevos, Tahitian, Tropak
Lilia Babenko, Leonardo Barrionuevo, Nakul Dev Mahajan, Miriam Larici, Tiana Liufau, Youri Nelzine.

Grand finalists[edit]

Season Winner Runner-up Third place Fourth place Fifth place Sixth place
1 Nick Lazzarini
(Contemporary Jazz)
Melody Lacayanga
Jamile McGee
Ashlé Dawson
2 Benji Schwimmer
Travis Wall
Donyelle Jones
Heidi Groskreutz
3 Sabra Johnson
Danny Tidwell
Neil Haskell
Lacey Schwimmer
4 Joshua Allen
Stephen "tWitch" Boss
Katee Shean
Courtney Galiano
5 Jeanine Mason
Brandon Bryant
Evan Kasprzak
Kayla Radomski
6 Russell Ferguson
Jakob Karr
Kathryn McCormick
Ellenore Scott
Ashleigh Di Lello
Ryan Di Lello
7 Lauren Froderman
Kent Boyd
(Contemporary Jazz)
Robert Roldan
(Contemporary Jazz)
8 Melanie Moore
Sasha Mallory
(African Jazz)
Marko Germar
(Contemporary Jazz)
Tadd Gadduang
Female winner Male winner Female runner-up Male runner-up
9 Eliana Girard
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp
Tiffany Maher
Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer
10 Amy Yakima
Du-Shaunt "Fik-Shun" Stegall
Jasmine Harper
Aaron Turner
Winner Runner-up Third place Fourth place
11 Ricky Ubeda
Valerie Rockey
Jessica Richens
Zack Everhart
12 Gaby Diaz
Jaja Vaňková
Virgil Gadson
Hailee Payne
13 Leon "Kida" Burns
J.T. Church
Tate McRae
Emma Hellenkamp
14 Lex Ishimoto
(Contemporary Hip-Hop)
Koine Iwasaki
Taylor Sieve
Kiki Nyemchek
(Latin Ballroom)
15 Hannahlei Cabanilla
Jensen Arnold
(Latin ballroom)
Genessy Castillo
Slavik Pustovoytov
(Hip Hop/Animation)
16 Bailey Muñoz
Mariah Russell
Gino Cosculluela
Sophie Pittman
17 Alexis Warr
(Latin Ballroom)
Keaton Kermode
18 Anthony Curley
Dakayla Wilson
Madison Rouge Alvarado
(Jazz Funk)

Special shows[edit]

On September 2, 2009, as a prelude to season 6, a special show aired featuring judge picks for the top 15 routines from the first five seasons. At the end of the show, show creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe presented his favorite performance, a contemporary piece choreographed by Tyce Diorio and performed by Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi.

In March 2014, Chinese television station CCTV broadcast a promotional episode in which notable all-star dancers from the U.S. and Chinese versions of So You Think You Can Dance competed directly against one another as teams. Titled Zhōngměi Wǔ Lín Guànjūn Duìkàngsài - Super Dancer Born Tonight, the show was shot in Las Vegas but never aired on U.S. television.


So You Think You Can Dance premiered with over 10 million viewers in 2005. For season 1, it was the No. 1 summer show on television. However, when NBC's America's Got Talent premiered in the summer of 2006, it took the title of "#1 summer show" and, over the following few years, broadened its lead. In the summer of 2009, SYTYCD premiered strong with a 3.4 rating in its target demographic, although with the start of America's Got Talent roughly a month later in the same timeslot, Dance fell to No. 4 on the ratings board. It continued to lose viewers throughout the summer of 2009 and ended up with an average of approximately 8 million viewers. Fox then moved SYTYCD to its fall 2009 schedule where its ratings continued to decline; hitting an all-time series low of 4.6 million viewers for a "special" episode hosted by Nigel Lythgoe on September 2, 2009. The move to the fall was short-lived. After dropping to an average of 6 million viewers, Fox moved SYTYCD back to the summer of 2010. With Mia Michaels replacing Mary Murphy and former contestants termed as "All-Stars" being used as partners, the ratings for Dance continued to slide to all-time series lows; dropping to just 5.6 million viewers on July 15, 2010. For season 7, So You Think You Can Dance averaged just over 5 million viewers. After season 7, Mia Michaels was replaced on the judge's panel by returning personality Mary Murphy. The change appeared to have little effect on the ratings, and the show continued to average just over five million viewers per episode in 2011's season 8. Season 9 saw a slight uptick in ratings early on, with each of the season's first five episodes garnering between six and seven million viewers, but the rise was short-lived and the show's ratings hit a new low of 4.16 million viewers on August 29, 2012. Season 10 maintained similar numbers, averaging about 4 million viewers per episode in 2013, with a 4.3 million viewership for the last episode of the season, an all-time series low for a finale.[11]

In April 2014, Lythgoe appealed to fans on Twitter to share information about the show ahead of the 11th season's May premiere in an attempt to augment the show's ratings for the upcoming season and bolster its chances of renewal thereafter.[11][12] The show was renewed for a twelfth season, but ratings continued to decline, with an average of around 3.5 million viewers per show. FOX renewed the show for a thirteenth season but with a drastically reworked format focused on child dancers. Ratings declined further for the new version, with only five episodes breaking the 3 million viewer mark; the finale saw a series-low viewership of just 2.27 million viewers.[citation needed]

In 2016, a New York Times study of the 50 TV shows with the most Facebook Likes found that "in general", Dance "is more popular in cities, though it hits peak popularity in Utah".[13]

Season Timeslot (ET) First aired Last aired TV season
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
1[14] Wednesday 8:00 pm July 20, 2005 10.30 October 5, 2005 8.20 2005
2[15] Wednesday 8:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 pm
May 25, 2006 10.70 August 16, 2006 10.70 2006
3[16] May 24, 2007 9.50 August 16, 2007 9.60 2007
4[17] May 22, 2008 6.70 August 7, 2008 9.70 2008
5[18] May 21, 2009 8.80 August 6, 2009 9.60 2009
6[19] Tuesday 8:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 pm
September 9, 2009 6.60 December 16, 2009 7.10 2009-10
7[20] Wednesday 8:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 pm
May 27, 2010 8.20 August 12, 2010 6.70 2010
8[21] Wednesday 8:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 pm
May 26, 2011 9.50 August 11, 2011 6.10 2011
9 Wednesday 8:00 pm May 24, 2012 6.26[22] September 18, 2012 4.71[23] 2012
10 Tuesday 8:00 pm May 14, 2013 5.12[24] September 10, 2013 4.37[25] 2013
11 Wednesday 8:00 pm May 28, 2014 5.33[26] September 3, 2014 4.12[27] 2014
12 Monday 8:00 pm June 1, 2015 4.03[28] September 14, 2015 2.44[29] 2015
13 May 30, 2016 3.75[30] September 12, 2016 2.27[31] 2016
14 June 12, 2017 3.56[32] September 25, 2017 1.91[33] 2017
15 June 6, 2018 3.25[34] September 10, 2018 2.60[35] 2018
16 Monday 9:00 pm June 3, 2019 2.70[36] September 16, 2019 1.93[37] 2019
17 Wednesday 9:00 pm May 18, 2022 2.07[38] August 10, 2022 1.46[39] 2022
18 Monday 9:00 pm March 4, 2024 1.04[40] May 20, 2024 0.80[41] 2024

Influence and international franchise[edit]

Dance competition had been a part of American television for decades before the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance, but usually in the form of all-around talent searches (such as Star Search, Soul Train, or Showtime at the Apollo). However, a season-long American Idol-like talent-search show with a sole focus on dance had never been broadcast on American network television. Producers and judges associated with the show have stated on numerous occasions, both within broadcasts of the show and in interviews, that the series was meant to rejuvenate the visibility and appreciation of dance as an art form in the U.S. and to give exposure to struggling dancers. Series judge Mary Murphy says, for example, "Of course you hope you can make a living at it, because you don't want to give up on something that you do, but the honest truth is most dancers have to carry one or two jobs and dance as much as they can on the side -- it's a very lucky dancer who gets a full scholarship."[42] Several dance-themed competition shows have been produced for American television since the premiere of So You Think You Can Dance, including America's Best Dance Crew, Superstars of Dance, Live to Dance, and World of Dance.

Since the premiere of the U.S. version in Summer 2005, localized adaptations of So You Think You Can Dance have been produced for 39 other countries.

In 2009, Lythgoe came together with fellow SYTYCD judge Adam Shankman as well as Katie Holmes, Carrie Ann Inaba, and others in the dance entertainment industry to launch The Dizzyfeet Foundation, intending to provide scholarships and training to young dancers of limited means.[43] The foundation has been referenced sporadically on the show since. In 2010, Lythgoe, with the assistance of other SYTYCD personalities and long-time healthy lifestyles proponent Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, was successful in getting another of his dance-oriented concepts realized—an official National Dance Day, now held annually on the last Saturday of July, to promote fitness through movement.[44] This national dance day has been celebrated annually by the show since.[45]

Before the end of 2005, the year that the series first premiered, its format had already been licensed for the first of several foreign adaptations. To date, the resulting So You Think You Can Dance franchise has produced 28 shows representing 39 countries and comprising more than 90 individual seasons. These adaptations have aired in Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iraq, India, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestinian Territories, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Awards and nominations[edit]

As of 2017, nine former SYTYCD contestants have been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography. Five were nominated for their work on Dancing with the Stars: Chelsie Hightower in 2010, Travis Wall and Nick Lazzarini in 2012 (with Teddy Forance), Alison Holker in 2013 (with Derek Hough) and Witney Carson in 2015. Hokuto Konishi, Ryan “Ryanimay” Conferido, and Dominic “D-Trix” Sandoval were nominated in 2016 as part of the B-boy troupe Quest Crew for their work on America's Best Dance Crew. Dmitry Chaplin in 2009 and Travis Wall in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 were nominated for their work on SYTYCD itself. The only former contestants to have won the Choreography Emmy are Konishi, Conferido, and Sandoval in 2016 and Wall in 2015 and 2017.[46]

Emmy Awards[edit]

Emmy Awards and nominations
Year Result Category Recipient(s)/
Style Music
2007 Won[i] Outstanding Choreography Wade Robson Pop-Jazz "Ramalama (Bang Bang)"—Róisín Murphy
Mia Michaels Contemporary "Calling You"—Celine Dion
2008 Won Outstanding Choreography Wade Robson Jazz Hummingbird and Flower/"The Chairman's Waltz" from Memoirs of a Geisha
Nominated Mandy Moore Jazz Table/"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"—Eurythmics
Nominated Shane Sparks Hip-hop Transformers/"Fuego"—Pitbull
Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
2009 Won Outstanding Choreography Tyce Diorio Contemporary Adam and Eve/"Silence" from Unfaithful
Nominated Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo Hip-hop "Bleeding Love"—Leona Lewis
Nominated Mia Michaels Contemporary "Mercy"—Duffy
Nominated Dmitry Chaplin Argentine tango "A Los Amigos" from Forever Tango
Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Won Outstanding Costumes For A Variety/Music Program Or A Special Soyon An
2010 Won Outstanding Choreography Mia Michaels Contemporary "Koop Island Blues"—Koop feat Ane Brun
Contemporary Addiction/"Gravity"—Sara Bareilles
Contemporary "One" from A Chorus Line
Nominated Stacey Tookey Contemporary Fear/"Two Steps Away"—Patti LaBelle
Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Won Outstanding Costumes For A Variety/Music Program Or A Special Soyon An
Graine O'Sullivan
2011 Won Outstanding Choreography Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo Hip-Hop "Scars"—Basement Jaxx ft. Kelis, Meleka, and Chipmunk
Lyrical Hip-Hop "Fallin'"—Alicia Keys
Hip-Hop "Outta Your Mind" (District 78 Mix)—Lil Jon and LMFAO
Won Mia Michaels Contemporary Alice in Mia-Land/"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"—Sting
Contemporary "When We Dance"—Sting
Contemporary "This Bitter Earth/On the Nature of Twilight"—Max Richter and Dinah Washington
Nominated Mandy Moore Pop-Jazz "Oh Yeah"—Yello
Jazz "Boogie Shoes"—KC & the Sunshine Band
Contemporary "I Surrender"—Celine Dion
Nominated Stacey Tookey Contemporary "Mad World" (Alternate Version)—Michael Andrews ft. Gary Jules
Contemporary "Sundrenched World" (Live Session)—Joshua Radin
Contemporary "Heaven is a Place on Earth"—Katie Thompson
Nominated Travis Wall Contemporary "Collide" (Acoustic Version)—Howie Day
Contemporary "How It Ends"—DeVotchKa
Contemporary "Fix You"—Coldplay
Nominated Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Cat Deeley
Won Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Series Robert Barnhart
Pete Radice
Patrick Boozer
Matt Firestone
Nominated Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Producers
2012 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Stacey Tookey Contemporary "In This Shirt"—The Irrepressibles
Contemporary "Turning Tables"—Adele
Contemporary "Heart Asks Pleasure First"—Ahn Trio
Nominated Christopher Scott Hip-hop "Misty Blue"—Dorothy Moore
Hip-hop/Contemporary "Velocity"—Nathan Lanier
Nominated Spencer Liff Broadway "Whatever Lola Wants"—Ella Fitzgerald
Broadway "Please Mr. Jailer"—Rachel Sweet
Broadway "(Where Do I Begin) Love Story (Away Team Remix)"—Shirley Bassey
Nominated Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Cat Deeley
Won Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Robert Barnhart
Matt Firestone
Pete Radice
Patrick Boozer
Nominated Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Producers
2013 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Sonya Tayeh Contemporary "Possibly Maybe"—Björk
Contemporary "Turning Page"—Sleeping At Last
Jazz "Sail"—Awolnation
Nominated Mandy Moore Contemporary "The Power of Love"—Celine Dion
Contemporary "Wild Horses"—Charlotte Martin
Nominated Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo Jazz/Hip-hop "The Circle of Life/Nants Ingonyama (District 78 Remix) from The Lion King"—Ella Fitzgerald
Jazz[47] "The Lovecats"—The Cure
Jazz The Beautiful People (District 78 remix)"—Marilyn Manson
Nominated Travis Wall Contemporary "Where the Light Gets In"—Sennen
Contemporary "Without You"—Harry Nilsson
Contemporary "Unchained Melody"—The Righteous Brothers
Nominated Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Cat Deeley
Nominated Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Robert Barnhart
Matt Firestone
Pete Radice
Patrick Boozer
Nominated Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Producers
2014 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Christopher Scott Hip-hop "Trigger (Original Mix)"—Kezwik ft. Mel Presson
Jazz "Sand"—Nathan Lanier ft. Karen Whipple
Contemporary "The Gravel Road" from The Village (Score from the Motion Picture)
Nominated Mandy Moore Contemporary "I Can't Make You Love Me"—Mark Masri
Jazz "Feeling Good"—Jennifer Hudson
Contemporary "Edge of Glory (Live from a Very Gaga Thanksgiving)"—Lady Gaga
Won Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo Hip-hop "Gold Rush"—Clinton Sparks ft. 2 Chainz, Macklemore, & D.A.
Hip-Hop "Run the World (Girls) (Nappytabs Remix)"—Beyoncé
Hip-Hop "Puttin' On the Ritz"—Herb Alpert ft. Lani Hall
Nominated Travis Wall Contemporary "Hangin' By a Thread"—Jann Arden
Contemporary "Medicine"—Daughter
Contemporary "Wicked Game (Live at Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ireland 2011)"—James Vincent McMorrow
Nominated Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Cat Deeley
Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Nominated Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Producers
2015 Won Outstanding Choreography Travis Wall Contemporary "Wave"—Beck
Contemporary "When I Go"—Over the Rhine
Contemporary "Wind Beneath My Wings"—RyanDan
Nominated Sonya Tayeh Contemporary "Vow"—Meredith Monk
Contemporary "So Broken (Live)"—Björk
Contemporary "Europe, After The Rain" —Max Richter
Nominated Spencer Liff Broadway "Hernando's Hideaway"—Ella Fitzgerald
Broadway "I've Got the World on a String"—Frank Sinatra
Broadway "Maybe This Time"—Liza Minnelli
Nominated Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program Cat Deeley
Nominated Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Robert Barnhart, Matt Firestone, Patrick Boozer, Pete Radice
Nominated Outstanding Hairstyling for a Multi-Camera Series Or Special Sallie Nicole, Sean Smith, Dean Banowetz, Ralph Abalos, Shawn Finch, Melissa Jaqua
Nominated Outstanding Makeup for a Multi-Camera Series or Special Heather Cummings, Marie DelPrete, Amy Harmon, Tyson Fountaine, Adam Christopher
Nominated Outstanding Reality Competition Program Producers
2016 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Travis Wall Contemporary "Beautiful Friends"—Helen Money
Contemporary "November"—Max Richter
Contemporary "Gimme All Your Love"—Alabama Shakes
Nominated Anthony Morigerato Tap "Dibidy Dop (Swing Mix)"—Club des Belugas feat. Brenda Boykin
Nominated Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Robert Barnhart, Matt Firestone, Patrick Boozer, Pete Radice
2017 Won Outstanding Choreography Travis Wall Contemporary "The Mirror"—Alexandre Desplat
Contemporary "Send in the Clowns"—Sarah Vaughan and the Count Basie Orchestra
Contemporary "She Used to be Mine"—Sara Bareilles
Nominated Mandy Moore Contemporary "Unsteady (Erich Lee Gravity Remix)"—X Ambassadors
Contemporary "This is Not the End"—Clare Maguire
Nominated Outstanding Lighting Design/Lighting Direction for a Variety Series Robert Barnhart, Matt Firestone, Patrick Boozer, Pete Radice

Teen Choice Awards[edit]

Year Result Category
2006 Won Choice TV: Breakout Show
Choice Summer Series
2007 Nominated Choice Summer TV Show
2008 Nominated Choice Summer TV Show
Choice TV: Reality Dance
2010 Nominated Choice Personality: Cat Deeley
Choice Summer TV Show
2018 Won Choice Summer TV Show

See also[edit]

Similar dance competition TV shows:


  1. ^ From its inception in season 6 and through season 10, the dancer showcase episode represented a non-competitive round with no viewer voting or subsequent eliminations, followed the next week by the first competitive round. In season 11, it was the first episode of the season upon which viewers voted.
  2. ^ a b c In seasons 7 and 8, the judges decided not to eliminate any dancers on the occasion of one results show; in both cases, this event was followed by the elimination of double the normal number of contestants the following week. Similarly, for format reasons, season 9 featured two shows with double eliminations, with four dancers eliminated instead of two for each of these shows.
  3. ^ a b c For seasons 8 to 10, the dancer showcase episode was combined with the Top 20 reveal episode, with groups of dancers performing immediately after being revealed as finalists.
  4. ^ Unlike all previous seasons, season 12 featured the elimination of one "street" dancer and one "stage" dancer each week, as opposed to one female and one male contestant (as in all previous seasons which eliminated two dancers per week).
  5. ^ Season 13 (during which the show was subtitled 'The Next Generation') featured competitors between the ages of 9 (or as young as 8 at the time of application) and 14.
  6. ^ In season 13, the judges held the audition rounds, but the all-stars, rather than the judges, made the eliminations during Academy week to choose the top 10. After this, in episodes 7 and 8, from the two contestants with the lowest viewer votes, the judges made the elimination. In episode 9, the two contestants with the lowest viewer votes were both eliminated and in episodes 10 and 11, the contestant with the lowest viewer votes was eliminated.
  7. ^ In episode 9 of season 17, none of the contestants were eliminated. Three were eliminated in episode 10, while one was eliminated in episode 11.
  8. ^ In season 17, votes are submitted not by the at-home viewing audience through telephone or online voting, but rather solely by the in-studio live audience of each performance episode.
  9. ^ Wade Robson and Mia Michaels were joint-winners along with Rob Marshall and John Deluca from Tony Bennett: An American Classic.


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External links[edit]