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Ultimately, this isn’t “So You Think You Can Choreograph”: while we connect with different choreographers and create our own hierarchies while watching the series, the show itself is right to portray them as a happy family of professionals working together to bring dance to America.
At the end of the day, the choreographers are there trying to make a name for themselves, so it is technically a competition to put themselves out there and connect with audiences (and thus producers who will retain their services for future episodes).
However, that competition is never acknowledged within the text itself, which keeps the So You Think You Can Dance Family as one happy unit which just happens to have a different balance of over-achievers and black sheep for each of its viewers.
However, the real problem was when Lythgoe took time during his critique of Kent and Courtney’s Jazz piece choreographed by Tyce Diorio to specifically thank Diorio for choreographing a “real” Jazz piece, very specifically calling out Travis regarding his earlier stylistic faux pas (just watch Wall’s face in the following shot of Diorio to see how pointed this attack was).
In the first instance, you could argue that Lythgoe was helping educate the audience, and explaining his disappointment that he wasn’t able to see Ashley push herself in a different way than they’d seen in the past; in the second instance, however, he was outright attacking Wall for his earlier error, the kind of criticism normally reserved for contestants.
Michaels was a judge and choreographer on "SYTYCD" for most of its nine seasons, earning the show and herself three Emmy awards.