So You Think You Can Sing

I've never liked American Idol. Being an instrumentlist and trained in jazz, it's pretty much the opposite of what I like in music. Don't get me wrong, I like really good singers, and I've learned a lot about singing from my wife (she's classically trained). But to me, American Idol feels too much like overblown karaoke.


But I DO really like So You Think You Can Dance. I grew up doing Filipino folk dances and had lots of fun learning ballroom dances from my parents, so I have an appreciation for great dancers.
From what I observe on So You Think, the bar of excellence is much higher on that show in relation to Idol. If Idol adopted the following approaches (maybe it does already, but I haven't watched in months), I would definitely be more interested in watching:

1. Make the singers learn original songs. The dancers on So You Think have to learn new choreography in different styles and have to perform the choreography with very little practice. Even if Idol has the singers learn original songs, they should start testing the singers in earlier rounds.

2. Make the singers sing in more styles. The dancers on So You Think have to be judged on their mastery of all styles of dance, so singers should be judged on all styles of singing. And the styles shouldn't be limited to popular styles (pop, country, r&b, rock), but also in non-popular styles and classical styles. Perhaps there should even be international styles included, but that might be too much for an American audience.

3. Have more judges. As far as I know, Idol has had only 3 judges and they have been consistent the entire run of the show. So You Think has 6 or 7 judges, which makes the level of dancing higher. If there were that many judges on Idol, maybe the singing would be better overall.

4. Have the singers write their own songs. Yes, I know most singers aren't songwriters, but So You Think has their dancers do their on choreography at least a couple times. Why not have all the singers on Idol try their hand at songwriting?


If Idol learned these lessons from So You Think, I would definitely watch it. In the meantime, I'll enjoy watching the excellent dancing.

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