Jacob Takes On…Reality TV Show Finales

Today, I am introducing a new segment in this blog called “Jacob Takes On…” where I will tackle pop culture problems that are causing headaches in the blogosphere and providing solutions to these problems.

Last night was the finale of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). For the first time in three years, I did not watch the grand finale of the show because I knew who would win and after the show was over, I took to Twitter and they proved my assumptions were correct.

Now I am sorry that I missed the current SYTYCD winner’s coronation as “America’s Favorite Dancer” but after watching Wednesday’s final face-off on the SYTYCD stage, I felt extremely bored!  Despite the return of Kenny Ortega and Katie Holmes to the show, I felt that the routines were subpar and did not make the Final Four reach the ultimate potential.

When you have disappointing finale episodes, it makes you not to watch next year and sabotages the viewers’ experience since they were following the show from either the beginning of the current season or as far back as the show’s very first season premiere.   I came up with five solutions on how to fix reality show finales.

1.    Change Location

What makes American Idol final showdowns memorable is that the show leaves CBS Television City for the NOKIA Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.  During these final showdowns, finalists soared to new heights and either locked in the title (Fantasia, Carrie and Scotty) or their future careers (David A, Adam L and Crystal).  By changing venues, the contestants will reach their full potential…just imagine Dancing with the Stars’ finale at the KODAK Theatre or America’s Got Talent performing at the same Vegas venue the live show would be at after the cameras are done rolling.

2. Listen to the Viewers

Every SYTYCD finale has the judges’ favorite routines, sometimes the routines rock and sometimes they “miss the boat.”  Instead of that have the viewers vote on their favorite routines of the season to be performed on the night of the Grand Finale.  By opening up the favorite routines to the viewers, you would see an increase of viewer satisfaction and hopefully, contestant and judges’ satisfaction.

3.    Use Your Alums

What has made IDOL & SYTYCD successful in later seasons is that utilize their alums.   For both shows, it’s very helpful to have Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert perform their latest hits or having Twitch, Anya & Pasha, Neil, Travis and more ready to help current contestants as “All-Stars” or choreographers.    One of the things that America’s Got Talent should do is have a previous act work with an act that made it to the finals from previous seasons.  It would have been great to see Jackie Evancho duet “Time to Say Goodbye” with Season Five Runner-Up Barbara Padilla or Fighting Gravity collaborate with Season Three third place Runner-Up Nuttin’ But Stringz during the last season’s finale.

4.    Segway for An All-Star Season

When your show has been around for at least five years, it is time for an all-star edition of the show to invite popular contestants back for a second shot.  Survivor has done a terrific job with bringing back contestants in Survivor: All Stars, Survivor: Fans v. Favorites and Survivor: Heroes v. Villains.  I remember talking to Dancing with the Stars fans about having Sabrina Bryan, Mario Lopez, Mya and Gilles Marini compete in the same season.   An All-Star season will bring viewers back and will bring a new energy to the entire show.  The season finale is a perfect opportunity to introduce an all-star season.

5.    Play to Contestants’ Strengths

The final way that you can fix season finales is…play to your finalists’ strengths! This year’s SYTYCD’s finale was abysmal because they had mediocre routines by average choreographers with the wrong music.   I remember that SYTYCD had a staff of incredible choreographers including Nappytabs, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson and the team of Tony Meredith and Melanie LaPatin…WHERE WERE THEY?  Instead the abysmal disco and cha-cha routines, they should have incorporated killer hip-hop, contemporary, jazz or ballroom routines from anyone mentioned from the above.    Both AGT and American Idol have done great work by letting finalist select what songs or acts they want to perform…maybe it’s time SYTYCD should let their finalists decide what they want to perform for a final show!

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar