By Kristyn Burtt

In a season filled with no viewer voting, a compressed production schedule, and backstage COVID protocols, it’s easy to say that Season 17 of So You Think You Can Dance has been unlike any prior season. It’s understandable that TV audiences are unhappy with some of the changes, and they’ve vocalized their opinions, but it’s hard to wrap our brain around some of the negativity directed at one of the contestants: Beau Harmon

He came into the competition as a Heels dancer, his style was labeled “Specialty” on the media sheet at the Top 12 photoshoot. At 23 years old and a BFA musical theatre graduate of Texas State University, Harmon was ready to show the world what he was capable of — and he was also prepared for the conversations about dancing in heels and “being a bigger-bodied dancer.” Neither of those topics has been an issue this season, but the discourse has still felt personal — and hurtful — at times. “I wasn’t prepared for people disregarding my literal ability as a dancer and saying that I don’t have any,” he revealed to Inside Dance. His studio training began at the age of three, where he trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary lyrical, hip-hop, and continued to his performing arts high school, summer dance intensives with the Joffrey Ballet and beyond to the college level, and his professional career in New York City — Harmon is very well-trained. He’s even “a very advanced tap dancer,” who considered auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance in that style.

The point isn’t to list off his credentials, but it’s crucial to note that Harmon does see the comments online even when he tries to avoid them. “I have to remember that they don’t know everything [about the process of the show], and so I let people draw their conclusions, but I’m not going to lie, it has been difficult,” Harmon shared. He received “sprinkles of hate comments every now and then” at the start of the season, but it ramped up once the show posted his “Big Spender” solo and his Talia Favia-choreographed duet with All-Star Lex Ishimoto. That commentary started to seep into how he viewed his performances on So You Think You Can Dance. “Things that I was really proud of on the show, and I am still very proud of, the negativity began to take away some of that joy — to steal some of that joy. I mean, I was so proud of my duet with Lex, and it was a good duet, and the comments get into the back of your mind and you’re like, Oh, did I let Talia down? Oh, did I let Lex down? No, I didn’t. So I’m saying it’s just, it’s frustrating that I have to start to second guess the things that I am and was so proud of,” he said. 

With his elimination on Wednesday night, along with Ralyn Johnson and Carter Williams, Harmon hates that he feels “excited to be off the show for the viewers, so that they can stop commenting hate comments.” And he’s right when he says that he “shouldn’t have to feel that way,” and it is downright remarkable how Harmon keeps a positive mindset despite the challenges he’s faced. “I’m still so proud of what I did, I’m still so grateful,” he explained confidently. “I will not back off on my joy and sharing that with everyone and sharing my dances, but yeah, it’s just unfortunate that I even have to have those intrusive thoughts.”

With Harmon ready to take the next step outside of the show and “hopefully ride the momentum” of his incredible summer into the professional world in New York City, he’s also holding onto the support he received from the fans whose lives he touched just by being cast on the show. His presence was an important one to many and he’s seen that kindness returned to him in DMs sent to his Instagram account, and from fans who attended some of the summer tapings. Harmon knows that the Top 12 on Season 17 of So You Think You Can Dance was exactly where he was meant to be.

“It’s so much bigger than just me,” he noted. “I’m so glad that this show took that chance on me in this ideology and pushed forward with it because it makes it all worth it.”

Photo: Michael Becker/FOX

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