Seven Sensational Seasons of "So You Think You Can Dance"

April 24, 2011

As “So You Think You Can Dance” embarks on its eighth season, the DS editors take a look back at some of the show’s most memorable moments.

  • Sabra Johnson becomes the first female winner during Season 3.


  • Front-runner and fan favorite Alex Wong gets injured during Season 7 and is forced to withdraw from the competition. Luckily, Ellen DeGeneres (briefly) steps in to take his place.
  • Beautiful Brit Cat Deeley replaces Lauren Sánchez as host in Season 2. She immediately wins over audiences with her quick wit, chic outfits and ability to buddy-up to the contestants.
  • Tyce Diorio choreographs a routine about breast cancer for Ade Obayomi and Melissa Sandvig during Season 5. The piece is beautiful, moving and a total tearjerker.
  • For Season 5, “SYTYCD” joins forces with Dance Spirit! In addition to being named America’s Favorite Dancer, winners receive a DS cover feature. Jeanine Mason lands on the November 2009 cover, followed by Russell Ferguson (March 2010) and Lauren Froderman (November 2010).
  • Season 7 debuts with a new format: All-Stars (former contestants) are added to the lineup to partner with the Top 11 contestants.
  • Season 5 includes a Russian folk dance, performed by Jeanine Mason and Phillip Chebeeb. We don’t really want to talk about it, but it was memorable, to say the least.


editor Katie Rolnick got “SYTYCD” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe to divulge exactly what it takes to become America’s Favorite Dancer. Here’s his advice:

1. Pick up all the different styles as quickly as you can. To do this, you need basic training—ballet is a fabulous foundation for any form of dance.

2. Have a personality. At the end of the day, personality beats technical ability every time. That’s how Benji won over Travis and Sabra won over Danny.

3. Dance for the audience so they’ll pick up the phone and vote for you. Everyone has to enjoy your performance, not just dancers.