Fox TV has a big
hit with the show
So, Do You Think
You Can Dance? (which I`ll call SYTYCD for
short). The show has just the right mix of soap
opera-style drama, flashy theater, and a veneer of
sports-style competition between dancers. Dancers come
from all across the USA and, in some cases,
contestants are eliminated from the show in preliminary
rounds. After the early contests, the remaining dancers
compete until the last man, and woman, is standing.
Last week, the
top 20 dancers were paired into couples for competition.
The following table contains the names of the Top 10
couples who were paired by the judges of the show from
the Top 20 dancing contestants. The race and gender of
the contestants is very revealing, especially when their
demographics are compared to those within the
competitive dance community and the U.S. population.
Top 20 Finalists (as of June 22)
The most obvious
common denominator among the contestants (besides their
youth): 80% of the
couples are interracial. Only the first two couples
on the list are of the same race. Four of the ten are
black-male/white-female pairings while two are
there isn`t a single same-race minority couple!
of interracial partners is quite an anomaly considering
that according to the U.S. Census Bureau,[PDF]
marriages represent only
5 percent of the total population. Less than 5% of
the black population marries 0.4% of the white
population, so SYTYCD is seriously skewed compared to
real-world population in the U.S.
My question: why
does SYTYCD have so many
claim that partners are chosen at random. So it could be
mere coincidence that so many couples were interracial.
But there are
many skeptics who think the entire selection process
is rigged. Is there a political or financial reason Fox
chose interracial couplings?
If ratings are
any indication, Fox producers aren`t making good
business decisions. SYTYCD has slumped in the ratings
ever since the year 2005 when it was the #1 rated
summertime show. In 2010, it had roughly half as many
viewers. Interracial relationships don`t seem
very popular in the U.S., so it`s no surprise that
shows featuring an intimate activity like dancing—the
choreography this season is particularly steamy—aren`t
going to be shining stars of the ratings game.
If there were a
dearth of white guys that can dance, the large number of
interracial couples could be the result of
minorities crowding white men out of dance
competitions. Random selection would mean that
interracial couples would be common.
evidence shows that there is no shortage of white males
that can dance, so it`s far more likely that Fox is
playing a Political Correctness game.
understand a few basics about dance competitions to
understand that there is no shortage of good white male
dancers. In the U.S., competitions come in two major
flavors: competitive ballroom
which is a serious nationally-sanctioned sport; and
competitive jazz contests that typically allow a wide
variety of judging formats and dance styles, such as
tap, hip-hop, ballet, etc.
SYTYCD is much
closer to a jazz dance contest in terms of style,
because most of the show resembles grass roots street
dancing —and more importantly the standards for judging
champions are about as rigorous as those of
World Wrestling Federation (WWF).
In all aspects
of competitive dance, whites are well represented and in
some they dominate. Ballroom dancing is dominated by
whites in standard
Ballroom Competition, although skin colors turn
noticeably darker in the popular international Latin
ballroom competitions. But there is plenty of talent in
worldwide competitions for all races to be well
represented on a show like SYTYCD. If everything was
judged equally, there would be
proportionately more white men than there are now.
assumed that blacks completely dominate styles like
hip-hop. But that
stereotype isn`t accurate because Whites, Hispanics,
and Asians also do very well at competitions—as
examples, check out the results at the
Buffalo Dance Championships, 2010, look at the
The First Five Crews to compete for MTV`s America`s
Best Dance Crew, or internationally see pictures of the
International World Championships.
In the real
world of competitive Dancesport, mixed couples are far
rarer than SYTYCD would have its audiences believe.
That`s because partnerships are chosen for pragmatic
reasons of ability and compatibility – not by the whims
Politically Correct TV producers, who have profit
motives and political agendas as their first priority.
I did my own
research of random ballroom competitions to see pictures
of the couples who are winning competitions. There are
many examples to choose from. Since I don`t care to do a
PhD dissertation, my samples are small, and therefore
subject to criticism even though the conclusions are
First I looked
at some excellent
photos from 2007.
Vancouver Open 2007 is very interesting because
there were two dominant races:
Asian and Whites. They rarely mixed however. “The Embassy Ball 2007“
competition was much the same except minorities were
almost non-existent. Mixed-race couples at both of these
events were rare.
from the Northwest DanceSport Championship, 2010
show that most of the winners are same race. Links are
provided to their pictures but most of you will guess
their race by reading their names.
Interestingly the two couples who may be
interracial (#4 and #5) don`t have pictures that are
easy to find on the internet.
Adult Championship Standard
Li & Ksenia Michtchenko – BC
Bartholomew & Zoa Lopez – UT
As of last week,
the field of dancers on SYTYCD has one less same-race
couple because Iveta Lukosiute and her partner
Nick Young were eliminated. Iveta Lukosiute
(pictured below, a blonde
Lithuanian)is arguably the best dancer for this
season. Based purely on merit, Iveta was a slam dunk to
win—and that was true whether she is viewed as a world
ballroom champion or a
diva. Her demise was presaged when Fox producers
assigned an obnoxious Indian Bollywood themed dance that
was totally out of character for both Iveta and Nick.
They did a respectable but not great
Bollywood routine. If assigning them a Bollywood
routine was a setup, it worked perfectly!
never call these shows. But I decided to make an
exception to vote for Iveta—and to see what it is like
to call a reality TV talent show. Over a 12-hour period
of calling multiple times to the phone number reserved
for Iveta, I got nothing but busy signals, so voting was
impossible. The jammed phone line convinced me that
Iveta was being guillotined by the Fox producers. Iveta,
at age 30, was the oldest dancer of the 20 finalists, so
there may be an age bias issue as well as racial.
I`ll admit to
having a sour-grapes attitude ever since
Iveta Lukosiute was eliminated from the show. But to
me the fact that she won`t be back this week offers very
good proof that the results were rigged—because the
producers of the show want the American public to see
mixed race couples performing sexy and steamy dancing
Rob Sanchez (email
him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for
Californians for Population
and author of the "Job
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