July 30, 2012 12:00 PM

>With the calendar year dominated by reality talent contests, America’s Got Talent (NBC) and So You Think You Can Dance (FOX) rule the hot months. These are lighter entertainments than muscled thunder gods like American Idol or The X Factor, and that’s a relief. Talent, which will take a break for the Olympics, is nearly done winnowing out the novelty acts—goodbye, pocket-size saloon singer Big Barry!—although some genuine performers have been sacrificed: Fourteen-year-old powerhouse vocalist Danielle Stallings wept like something out of Dickens after judge Sharon Osbourne alone voted to keep her in the race. (Howie Mandel and Howard Stern supported the high-flying acrobat act Donovan and Rebecca.) After seven seasons, the show knows how to skillfully play the emotions. So You Think You Can Dance, in season 9, brings us a much more consistent lineup of performers, all attractive, young, athletic and able to move with erotic grace—it’s the sexiest reality show out there. And the choreography gets a huge boost from the music selections, which are hip and intriguing. The only disruptive note is the explosive enthusiasm of judge Mary Murphy. “People are just gonna Google you up!” she told one dancer after his routine. But she’s only a judge. If she danced too, that might be a problem.

BOTH SHOWS: []

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