June 29, 2011

Can SYTYCD Save Face With Kristin Chenoweth?

So You Think You Can Dance is banking on Kristin Chenoweth to prove the success of the show's latest ratings generating scheme -- tapping celebrities as guest judges.

The Broadway superstar will be rounding out the panel this week lending her insight as a TV funny woman with power-house vocals. 

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The tiny blond bombshell has held roles on Glee, The West Wing and Pushing Daisies, and has won a Tony for her performance in You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. She is even more well-known for having played Glinda in Wicked.

But Chenoweth's dance resume is a bit light, giving us little hope that she will be influential in helping America make the right choice of which contestants to place in the bottom three couples.

Chenoweth's time in the third judges chair follows two failed guest judge stints by actresses Debbie Reynolds and Megan Mullallay.

Reynolds, while boasting an extensive dance background (performing with Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain) sounded like a senile grandmother praising her grandkids.

Mullallay studied ballet as a teen, but it was clear her pirouetting days were over based on her blind praise for the contestants.

Don't get me wrong, I love all three of these leading-ladies dearly, but SYTYCD is making a big mistake in trying to glitz up the judges panel. What has made SYTYCD unique and, in my opinion, more enjoyable than some other reality competitions, has been its pure focus on dance.

Sure, there's still Mary Murphy and Nigel Lythgoe to give the audience a much-needed dose of reality, this lack of a third, knowledgeable judge is already hurting the competition. Ryan Ramirez and Ricky Jamie landed in the bottom three last week, despite outperforming many of the other dancers. As seen through 10 seasons of American Idol -- America needs guidance when it comes to voting.

The absence of Debbie Allen, Tyce Diorio and Adam Shankman on the judges panel is sorely felt.

But it doesn't look the the celebrity guest judges will end with Chenoweth. Lady Gaga is also expected to fill the seat, which was commanded by Shankman in Season 7. Neil Patrick Harris is also reportedly on the short-list of possible guest judges.

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