Circumstances have, over the last number of weeks, led me to the official Fox Youtube account to watch the routines. If you've never had the pleasure, the official account just shows the routine -- no rehearsals prior, no judges' comments afterwards. The experience of watching the performances in isolation is disorienting, not to mention time-saving -- I can finish an episode's worth of routines in half an hour! -- that the absence of all of the show's ancillary stuff feels so much more acutely missing. With so many packages and so much content devoted to things other than the actual depiction of dance, you could say that dance interrupts all the other reality-tv goings on, much like the song interludes in a musical.
I'd even go so far as to conclude -- polemically -- that SYTYCD isn't even about dance (at least not anymore), and that rather it's an exercise in finding appealing bunch of kids who are willing to play by an arbitrary set of rules in the hopes of getting audiences to vote for them (and since voting now takes place entirely through an app, the cynic in me wonders how much of SYTYCD has become an excuse in data mining, much in the same way that tv content was created to sell ads). That is, it's first and foremost a reality tv show -- one punctuated by dancing -- and that its narrative is propelled by other tangentially related matters. Then, in a Zizekian maneuver, I'd claim that its blatant Emmy-chasing (which, already being a non-entity in terms of granting critical recognition to the tv industry, is even more vapid as an arbiter of dance) is a symptom that's meant to cover up its lack, a shameless search for validation of what it's abandoned.
But anyway, I adored Jacque in "99 Red Balloons."