So You Think You Can?

My absolute favourite competition is “So You Think You Can Dance”. With millions of American teenagers calling in to vote each time and with spin-offs in more than 15 countries, I’m sure it’s a huge commercial success although it has fierce competition from shows like America’s Got Talent. It has a number of nifty features such as the young ambitious dancers from all over the US and with a background in all kinds of dance, the talented choreographers and the competent jury and a very tall and brainy hostess. And it is often breathtaking beautiful. But it has many other qualities:
  • Selecting the contestants based on both talent and coachability, and making them dance solo, in pairs and in ensambles.
  • A passionate jury focusing on constructive feedback and not afraid to show their emotions.
  • Clever combination of jury and audience voting.
  • Good mix of music, where new talents are introduced (for example SYTYCD 4 featured Lady Gaga’s first televised U.S. performance.
  • Good use of social media with a website as its hub but with a presence all over the place.
  • Interesting combination of competition and foundation, demonstrating a higher purpose (developing dance throughout the US/world) for example through announcing a national dance day.
  • Excellent scenography with lovely costumes, make-up, lights, camera, editing… and an enthusiastic audience.
  • A very good start for the contestants’ careers not only through the TV show but with the following tour together with former stars.
It would be so cool if I could find a way to implement just a tiny tiny bit of all this in “competitions” I’m involved in! What if for example research funding could be distributed not only according to an expert panel’s opinon but in combination with votes from the research community?