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October 9, 2015

The reality TV dance show scorecard

by Michael Pascua, posted Jun 17th 2009 3:25PM
Chelsie Hightower on So You Think You Can Dance, months before Dancing with the StarsWith the second week of competitions tonight on So You Think You Can Dance, I wanted to point out a trend: reality dance show contestants can't leave television. Several contestants and a few choreographers have jumped ship and have appeared on other reality shows.

The jump basically can plant an already established fanbase onto a different television show. One great example is Ty Murray on Dancing with the Stars. I'm not sure what the percentage of votes for Ty came from fans of Chelsie Hightower and her work from SYTYCD or his charm, but he definitely benefited from someone who knew to make routines that were camera friendly.

Here's a scorecard of contestants. I encourage you to leave comments about other contestants still dancing on reality TV shows that I may have forgotten.

So You Think You Can Dance

  • Choreographer Shane Sparks has made the jump from SYTYCD to America's Best Dance Crew; now you never see his face on SYTYCD because of contract ties.
  • Three contestants have made the jump to Dancing with the Stars professionals: Lacey Schwimmer, Dmitry Chaplin and Chelsie Hightower. Lacey made it to the finals on her first season.
  • As for contestants popping up on DWTS: Benji Schwimmer and Artem Chigvinsev have done a few results show performances, several dancers including Mark Kanemura were part of the Macy's Stars of Dance routines, and Snow Urbin competed to be a professional but lost.
  • Dominic Sandoval, Hok Konishi, and Ryan Conferido were part of Quest Crew on America's Best Dance Crew. They ended up winning season three.
  • Several contestants have come back to choreograph routines for SYTYCD including Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev (Cha-Cha) and Benji and Lacey (West Coast Swing).

Dancing with the Stars

  • Mario Lopez clearly used his increased fame from DWTS to land hosting duties for America's Best Dance Crew.
  • Similarly, Marissa Jaret Winokur has become the host of Dance Your Ass Off on Oxygen. I guess she's become a poster child for weight loss via dance.
  • Louis Van Amstel choreographed two routines for SYTYCD last week. I'm sure we'll see more routines soon.

America's Best Dance Crew

  • The biggest swap is probably the resources of Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo. They first appeared on television as the audition scouts on ABDC. They soon turned to SYTYCD to choreograph lyrical hip-hop.

Reality television shows tend to have a lot of inbreeding where several contestants end up on other reality shows (the biggest current culprit has to be Stephen Baldwin), but I don't understand why the dance community feels inbred. There are plenty of dancers out there and many come to the US from other countries to live their dream. So You Think You Can Dance tends to find a lot of potential, so any contestant who wants to further their career should probably try out. The question is why aren't new choreographers and professionals emerging without nepotism or television trades on Dancing with the Stars?

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Pasha and Anya have been on DWTS as performers during at least one, and possibly more results shows. Dmitry Chaplin has choreographed multiple routines on SYTYCD and danced with Mary Murphy on the finale last season. Travis Wall was in the Wade Robeson piece on DWTS. Several SYTYCD alums were on the "American Idol Gives Back" charity special. Mark Kanemura and Chelsea Traille were on a Macy's Stars of Dance piece on DWTS (choreographed by Michael Rooney).

July 06 2009 at 3:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michelle's comment

Oops, you already mentioned that Mark was part of a Macy's Stars of Dance routine. My bad.

July 06 2009 at 3:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wade Robson has choreographed for SYTYCD and performed on DWTS.

Also, Shane Sparks' no longer appears on SYTYCD, but he has choreographed routines each of the last two seasons.

June 17 2009 at 5:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Porchland's comment
Michael Pascua

Yeah, the group dance last week was Shane Sparks, but unlike all the other choreographers, Shane doesn't get camera time.

Totally forgot about Wade, but probably because I associate him with Michael Jackson.

June 17 2009 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shane Sparks on the show tonight? Talking and everything? I stand corrected.

June 17 2009 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think it's because the current pros on DwtS already have a significant following. It's difficult for a new pro to "break in" at this point, because they're not getting the votes that established pros do (regardless of their celebrity). On the other hand, SYTYCD alums already have a built-in TV fan club. Where else is ABC going to find ballroom dancers who are already household names?

June 17 2009 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Elizabeth's comment
Michael Pascua

The best way to put a new person on DWTS is to give them a ringer in some form or fashion. An Olympic athlete or a musician that can keep rhythm have an upper hand on people like the Woz.

Think about it, the first time we got Lacey she had Lance Bass. Dmitri originally would have had Jewel. Chelsie is the only one that I'm convinced that Ty's charm and her fanbase came together.

Also, there is always America's Ballroom Challenge on PBS (I admit that I watch it sometimes). Those contestants are camera ready.

June 17 2009 at 5:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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