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Mia Michaels Quits ‘SYTYCD,’ Fans Lose Will To Live (Or Watch)

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Much ado was made earlier this year about Paula Abdul's shocking departure from American Idol, but I personally find today's news--that genius judge/choreographer Mia Michaels has quit So You Think You Can Dance--to be much more crushing.

This morning, the twisted-minded choreographer with a knack for twisting dancers into impossible new shapes made her resignation announcement via her Facebook and Twitter pages (just as Paula did a few months ago). Her Facebook post read:

IT'S BEEN AN AMAZING 5 YEARS ON SYTYCD……I THANK THEM FOR ALL THE GREAT MEMORIES AND MOVEMENT I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CREATE FOR THE WORLD…..TODAY WAS MY OFFICIAL RESIGNATION OF THE U.S SHOW AND LOOK FORWARD TO WHATS AHEAD FOR ME.

And she also tweeted:

- I AM OFFICIALLY AN ADORING FAN OF SYTYCD….THANK U FOR 5 WONDERFUL YRS

- TO CREATE MOMENTS AND MOVEMENT FOR THE WORLD TO SHARE WITH ME WAS A GIFT…..

- THANKS SYTYCD AND LOOK FORWARD TO WHATS AHEAD FOR ME…LOOKOUT WORLD!!!!!

[Insert action-movie-style aerial shot, birds scattering in all directions as I look up to the sky and howl] Nooooooooooo! Not Mia! Anyone but Mia!

This is terrible, terrible news for SYTYCD fans like myself. I do believe Idol will survive without Paula...but honestly, I have serious doubts about a Mia-less SYTYCD. In my opinion, Mia IS the show. While she has sometimes behaved very cruelly and unusually during her critiques (in particular, her treatment of Brandon Bryant during last season's Vegas Week was needlessly harsh), she's always interesting, and more importantly, her Emmy-worthy routines have been among the series' all-time best. While there are many other truly gifted choreographers on the show--like Tyce "Cancer Dance" Diorio, Tabitha & Napoleon, new cast addition Laurieann Gibson, and Mandy Moore (who masterminded my favorite SYTYCD routine ever, "Sweet Dreams")--none of them quite possess that special Mia magic. Mia simply cannot be replaced, and the program will suffer greatly without her bizarre brilliance. At least I know I will suffer...

But of course, I will always have my fond, dream-haunting memories of my favorite Mia Michaels So You Think You Can Dance routines. And so, I will share them with you, season by season...

SEASON 1 - Ashle & Melody, "Message In A Bottle"
A lot of people don't remember season 1 of SYTYCD that clearly--that was the pre-Cat Deeley season, after all--but they sure remember this amazing finale routine between the two female finalists, Ashle and Melody. This was such an athletic tour de force, I got tired just watching it. But to this day, I never tire OF watching it. Mia sure put these girls through their paces, but happily, they were up to the task:

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SEASON 2 - Heidi & Travis, "Park Bench"
Well, DUH. Of course this one made the list. An Emmy-winning routine that has rightfully appeared in ever best-of-SYTYCD retrospective, this dance was filled with so many goosebumpy moments I feel tingly just typing about it now. Oh! When Heidi laid beneath that bench, reaching out to Travis? My heart still flutters and my mind still boggles. And that moment when Travis slid down the bench, like a robot ragdoll? Only Mia would ever ask one of her dancers to try something like that. And I'm so glad Travis (now a choreographer on the show himself--possibly a successor to Mia?) obliged:

SEASON 3 - Lacey & Neil, "Flowers"
Mia's routines are usually dark and deviant, but with "Flowers" she revealed her kinder, gentler side, indicating that maybe, just maybe, she's a big softy at heart. The routine was actually a tribute to her late father--whom she also sobbed over this past season after Tyce's cancer routine, during another one of her rare tender onscreen moments--and I am sure Papa Michaels was very proud:

SEASON 4 - Katee & Twitch, "Mercy"
On the lighter side, Mia's depiction of a crazy woman scorned and her cad of an ex-boyfriend, all centered around a prop doorway, was dance comedy at its finest. Katee did such a killer job in her psycho-beeyotch role, the show may as well have been retitled So You Think You Can Act. (Katee deserved an Emmy of her own for this!) This was an ideal example of the right dancer, the right choreographer, and the right concept all coming together to create the perfect dance storm:

SEASON 5 - Kayla & Kupono, "Addiction"
Another example of Mia at her darkest and dancers at their most dramatic, this harrowing routine is actually my favorite Mia Michaels dance all of five seasons. Focusing on the theme of addiction--be it addictive love or something more literal, like drugs--the number required Kupono to embody addiction (to portray someone, or something, with a deathgrip on his victim) while Kayla played the helpless addict unable to escape his power. Both dancers, thanks to Mia, were perfectly cast. Kupono was so completely convincing as he mercilessly dominated and manipulated teary-eyed Kayla, I almost feared for Kayla's safety at times. This routine was just so violent, so disturbing, so DEEP. Kudos to Mia for drawing such intense performances from both dancers, as only she could:

Sigh. So who will come up with crazy/beautiful stuff like this now that Mia is gone? Who will create routines centered entirely around a doorway, a park bench, or a woman's posterior (honorable mention for Evan & Randi's season 5 "Butt Dance," of course) and rake in the Emmys as a result? I have no idea. But I know Mia will be missed.

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