The Emmy battle continues between TV’s popular dance competition shows “Dancing With the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Once again, they’re pitted against each other in the race for Best Choreography, but over the years the results have been decidedly unequal. “So You Think You Can Dance” has won eight times, while “Dancing with the Stars” has won just once.
This year “Dancing with the Stars” is nominated twice in the category, compared to three bids for “So You Think You Can Dance.” While the FOX summer hit appears to have the advantage, ABC’s celebrity dance show actually boasts this category’s only previous winner. Derek Hough was that lone “DWTS” champ, taking this award in 2013, the only year the category was presented during the primetime telecast. (It’s back at the Creative Arts Awards now, which are on Sept. 12.) This year he’s nominated with his sister Julianne Hough and Tessandra Chavez for their “Elastic Heart” routine. This is the seventh overall nom for Derek, the third for Julianne and the first for Chavez.
Also nominated for “Dancing with the Stars” is Witney Carson. The 21-year-old is a relative newcomer to the show, but she’s already a winner; she took the season 19 title with celebrity partner Alfonso Ribeiro. Now she’s up for her very first Emmy for choreographing three dances with Ribeiro: “369,” “It’s Not Unusual” and “Sing with a Swing-Apache.” Could she win another prize to go along with her mirror ball trophy?
She and the Houghs will have to get past a formidable trio from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Spencer Liff has been choreographing dances for the FOX show since 2009 and earned an Emmy bid in 2012, losing to Joshua Bergasse for NBC’s Broadway drama “Smash.” This year Liff is nominated for three dances: “Hernando’s Hideaway,” “World on a String” and “Maybe This Time.”
Sonya Tayeh is also nominated for the second time for “So You Think You Can Dance.” Her last nomination was in 2013, when she lost to Derek Hough; she hopes their rematch will end in her favor. She contends with the dances “Vow,” “So Broken” and “Europe, After the Rain.”
Travis Wall was a contestant on “So You Think You Can Dance” in season two and actually performed a routine that won the show one of its first Emmys: “Calling You,” choreographed by Mia Michaels. Wall has since returned to the show as a choreographer and mentor, and he’s nominated for the fifth year in a row. This time he has been recognized for his dances “Wave,” “When I Go” and “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Will he finally win?
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Photo: Derek Hough performs in “Dancing with the Stars.” Credit: ABC/Adam Taylor
Photo: Travis Wall in “So You Think You Can Dance.” Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX