Jeff Thacker, co-producer of the American version, talked with Tuoi Tre Newspaper about the show during his visit to survey the Vietnamese market.
Could you please explain more about the show? When did you start “So you think you can dance”? Were there many reality shows in America at that time?
I started it in 2005, and I think the two only reality entertainment shows at that time on American TV were American Idol and Dancing With The Stars.
America is a country of entertainment. “So You Think You Can Dance” gave a spotlight. There’s no specific requirement, no boundaries, no barrier, no door, no lock. If you can dance any style of dance including hip-hop, contemporary, ballet, or jazz, it doesn’t matter what it is. The show is about seeing what you can do, and then takes what you can do, and shows that you may be better than you think you are.
We don’t look for the best dancers, we look for America’s favorite dancers. Therefore it’s not just about dancing, it’s about who you are, your personality, your character. Most dancers never have the opportunity to show who they are because dancers just dance, but with this show, you’ll have the chance to show and tell the audience who you are, who you really are inside.
It doesn’t matter how good or untrained you are, because everybody can dance!
There are many kinds of activities you could have put into your show, why did you choose dancing? Is it because America likes dancing?
“So You Think You Can Dance” is a reality show meant for big entertainment. So we want to entertain, hopefully educate a little bit, and show people different styles of dance.
I came from England to do the show. When FOX was looking for a show Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe, who created American Idol, wanted to create a similar show, but for dancing instead of singing. They were looking for a show for summer which would be entertaining, fresh and vibrant. So we change every year, we develop and always make it different every year to keep it fresh.
Reality shows in Vietnam usually involve scandals to draw public attention. As a show without celebrities, will “So You Think You Can Dance” follow this path?
Honestly, I can’t answer that because I’m not sure about what Vietnamese audiences want. We have never had any scandals or tricks.We are literally fresh. The show itself is so open, that’s different. It’s a very honest show.
Sometime, in “So You Think You Can Dane”, people just say “Wow, are they (pair of contestants) really in love with each other?” It’s true, but not a scandal.
Jeff Thacker, co-producer of the American reality dancing show “So You Think You Can Dance”
How do the lives of “So You Think You Can Dance” winners change?
I think all their lives have changed. Because they went from just being a dancer, to now having 20 million people that know who they are. And at the end of the show, they become celebrities. Some of them have joined world-renowned diva Celine Dion’s concerts or made appearances in the famous hip-hop dancing movie Step Up.
As producers, we have always mentioned the difficulties that come with their reputation. But it depends on them and if they’re strong enough to overcome obstacles to succeed.
Is it fair for untrained contestants to compete with trained dancers?
No, because if they’re trained, we’ll expect more from them. And it does not mean that if you’re trained for ball room dancing, you’re a good hip hop dancer, too. We give the untrained the opportunities too.They are special in their own styles. They do their own kind of training. We want to create breakthroughs combining the untrained with trained dancers.
They compete in pairs, but will be judged individually.
In your opinion, what makes the show attractive year to year?
Dancers. Every year we have different dancers, different characters, different personailities.
“So You Think You Can Dance” is an American dance competition show that airs on Fox in the United States and is the flagship series of the international “So You Think You Can Dance” television franchise.
A typical season of the show is divided between a selection process, during which expert judges select competitors from a wide pool of applicant dancers, and a competition phase, during which these 'finalists' (more typically referred to as the 'Top 20') compete for votes from home viewers. Though it is produced over the course of months, the selection phase is highly edited and usually constitutes only the first two-three weeks of aired episodes, with the competition episodes forming the remaining eight-nine weeks of the season.