[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C18rL6kGPM&NR=1

I’ve been a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance over the past few summers. I didn’t catch the first season, but have watched each one since. Over the spring, I eagerly looked forward to a new season, wondering what memorable new dances we would see, which style of dancer would rise to the top.

I became a bit nervous when the promos for the show started announcing that they were going to change things up. I liked the show the way it was. I was very surprised when I learned that Mary Murphy was no longer going to be a judge. But honestly, her screams did get on my nerves at times, and at times I thought she put the wrong dancers on the “hot tamale train.”  And I liked Mia Michaels’ choreography, so thought she would be a good replacement.

But then, came the really huge change. Anyone watching the show this season knows that instead of picking the top 20 dancers after auditions, they instead picked the top 11. It was supposed to be the top 10, but they liked 6 of the guys. These 11 dancers (6 guys and 5 girls) got to dance each with with a different all star dancers, with the all stars made up of favorite dancers from previous seasons.

While I like some of the all stars, part of the fun in the past for me was seeing relationships develop between the dancers, since the top 20 would stick with the same partner through the first half of the season, only rotating partners once they were down to the final 10. And unfortunately, through much of the early part of this season, the all star partners too often completely out-danced their partners.

A major problem has been the quick elimination of female dancers. Early in the season, the judges seemed overly enthusiastic in their praise of the male dancers, and overly critical of the females. Couple that with the fact that a large block of voters are young girls, and we quickly ended up with only two female dancers left. This week, one of the two females — Ashley — was eliminated due to an injury, leaving us with just one female and five male dancers. This never would have happened in the past, because each week they eliminated the bottom male and bottom female.

It appears that the producers are trying to make some adjustments to the format. In the past two weeks they’ve had the contestants do one dance with an all star, and another with another contestant. But for me, it’s just too late. I don’t feel as if I’ve gotten to know the dancers anywhere near as much as I did in the past. And the dancing with all stars just hasn’t worked for me. In fact, I’ve fallen asleep during a number of shows, and have become distracted during others.

At this point, there have been no memorable dances for me, so I’ve been checking out YouTube for some of my old favorites. There are so many great dances from past seasons, Neil and Sabra’s office power dance around the table to Sweet Dreams, Janette and Brandon’s disco, to name just a few. But I decided to post Travis and Heidi’s bench dance, because, well, Travis should have won his season.

Is the change working for you? Am I wrong, have there been some memorable dances this summer, and I’ve just managed either to forget or sleep through them? Do you miss Mary, because I never thought I’d say this, but I really miss Mary.