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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Was ‘So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation’ Ahead Of Its Time?

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Was So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation ahead of its time? I am starting to think so. We know Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is headed our way this fall, but Nickelodeon has two upcoming dance shows — one in production and one currently casting — and Lifetime is also jumping back into the dance game with a new competition show.

Remember, Little Big Shots, America’s Got Talent and World of Dance — which added an entire junior division in Season 2 to accommodate the talent — are major players in the TV dance genre shows. When Season 13 of SYTYCD came our way, viewers and Nigel Lythgoe groaned; everyone wanted an adult version of the show, but even Nigel came around.

“I wasn't expecting the talent to be so great. I wasn't expecting the kids to be able to express themselves either physically or verbally. They all were quite brilliant,” He told DanceDish in 2016. “Their personalities — because they are unfiltered — nothing is holding them back from that point of view. They were terrific whether we were talking to them outside of their auditions or during the auditions.”

Even if the format wasn’t viewers’ favorite, it led the way for a season that felt more like SYTYCD after a very uneven Season 12 with Stage vs. Street. That All-Star Season 13 format was also used in Season 14.

The Top 10 Season 13 cast delivered some of the biggest dance talents in the 8-13 age category, too. Winner Kida Burns is a viral sensation on Instagram, Ruby Castro is a part of Season 2 of World of Dance, Tahani Anderson was on Season 1 of World of Dance with immaBEAST, Sheaden Gabriel is one of the biggest talents in commercials and music videos and JT Church has been on everything from Dancing with the Stars to Lip Sync Battle Shorties.

We will see more of the Season 13 Top 10 cast in at least three other television opportunities later this year — that’s how talented this cast is.

With all of the grumbling about the show, it was a success. Maybe the format didn’t work in the adult SYTYCD time slot and The Next Generation should have been considered a spinoff? However, we now know it introduced us to an entire group of working dancers in the industry.

Will FOX take a look at the current trend of junior dance shows and perhaps revive the idea as a spinoff? There’s no indication that they are looking at the concept, but it’s hard to ignore the young dancer trend. It also may be too late because the trend is about to hit it big time in the next six months with a glut of shows.

So it’s time to reframe the overall idea of So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation — it was never a bad idea, it only was ahead of its time — just ask Nigel.

“And if you really do love dance, it's great to see the next generation,” he summed up.


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