By Kristyn Burtt

The 17th season of So You Think You Can Dance has been anything but predictable. Some of that has been directly related to the voting situation, but there’s one thing TV viewers aren’t dialed into behind the scenes: the shooting schedule. In prior seasons, the cast would shoot one show per week, allowing plenty of time to learn new routines, clean up the dances with the choreographers, and most importantly, rest. 

Even Season 16, which was the show’s first pre-taped season, (not live like the 15 seasons before it) utilized the weekly format with TV viewer voting. This year, it’s been a quick, condensed shooting season.

The very first episode was filmed on June 10 and two days later, Inside Dance was back for the second episode on June 12. It led to a quick turnaround time for not only the cast but also the crew who works hard to create the elaborate costumes, hair, and makeup looks. This calendar was driven by budgetary constraints, but it resulted in the cast feeling fatigued by the fourth episode — which was 12 days into shooting. 

tWitch addressed the stamina issues that were seen on the “Turn Back Time” episode on July 13. “We are now halfway through the competition and at this point, what the body is going through right now, the winner or the Top 4 are about to stand up now,” he explained. “As your body gets tired, you have to find it mentally and spiritually. Your body is going to get tired.” He’s been there as a contestant in the fourth season when the cast was made up of 20 dancers, and the halfway point is crucial during the competition. 

“At Top 10, my body was like, ‘Can we sit down for a second?’” he joked. “Next week is only going to get harder, so we are really going to see our warriors stand up.” We also have to remember that his season had the luxury of weekly tapings, not the crammed schedule this cast has endured. Yet tWitch understands the challenges this particular cast is facing because of the demands placed upon them. 

“There’s no doubt that everyone is 100% talented. There’s no doubt that everyone is 100% capable,” he shared. “But in the confines of this show and the way that this show is operated, [the dancers have to be] dialing in, picking up on a new style, adding nuance and support for their partner within seven hours. Who is going to step up to the plate?” And yes, you did read that correctly, the contestants are only getting seven hours of rehearsal time this season. So, cheer loudly, give them some social media support, and remember that they are experiencing a season unlike any other So You Think You Can Dance cast.

Photo: Adam Rose/FOX and Michael Becker

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