I see a lot of comments going on about how people are sure the producers & judges are manipulating things behind the scenes to produce a particular outcome.
Suggestions such as favorite dancers are given dances suited to their styles (Melissa/pas des deux), non-favorites are painted in a bad light (Evan's ugly face), you name it.
I just finished re-watching season 1, and just finished watching season 2 through the selection of the final 20 (I never saw the 2nd season at all).
I don't know how many people remember or even saw this. But at one point, there is a very young guy in the audition process in Vegas, his name was Mikey. After a particularly unstellar performance, Nigel really rips Mikey a new one. Nigel tells him flat-out that he is the executive producer of this show and he will NOT have him screw up on the show and no matter how anyone else feels about him, he will override ALL of them and cut him if he feels he would ruin the show.
There were a couple other instances of Nigel saying something to this effect but none quite as memorable.
I think it's pretty clear that yes - the producers and judges do some work in directing who is going to do what and what is going to happen. I don't completely buy into all the conspiracy theories that float around, but this comment and the ones I can't remember did pretty much solidify for me that there is SOME basis of truth to those theories.
I don't think it's always successful. The judges have, all along, given Evan a particularly hard time and harsh criticism, yet I'm almost sure he's going to take the top spot.
I do feel the elimination of Natalie during the audition process was some sort of manipulation. She wasn't given a chance to dance for her life the way some less talented dancers were. I think either she was used for dramatic effect (oooh - they'll cut ANYONE!!! Auditioners beware!) or she was cut because she's not typically "pretty" like others they could decorate the stage with.
I don't agree that they are pushing Kayla into the top spot, I think she's a truly talented dancer and to NOT praise her would be dishonest.
About the possible true/not true story about Mia Michaels getting pissed over Jeannette getting cut and refusing to choreograph the contemporary routine that Stacy Tookie did, I could totally believe that. But I see a different spin on it - I tend to see Mia as more honest in her opinions & actions. I have wondered if anyone on the staff is as disgusted by Nigel and his carousing & off-color comments, and of everything, somehow I get the feeling Mia would find his actions the most offensive. I can see her getting pissed over the whole process of the show and stomping off in a hissy fit.
Well, that's just a few of my observations on just a few of the conspiracies floating around. I hope that bit from Nigel on Mikey I brought up sheds a little light on the thought process going on behind the scenes. It opened my eyes a little.
So You Think You Can Conspire?