Last night's episode So You Think You Can Dance took a shocking political twist.
Some in the military and dance communities were startled when choreographer and judge Wade Robson billed one of his routines as "anti-war."
Us Magazine reports that, in a taped package that aired right before Jaimie Goodwin, one of the ten finalists, performed to John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," Robson took his stance, saying "[the routine] has to have something everybody can connect to. It's about peaceâ€¦it's about the war â€" anti-war."
"I was upset. My brother Thomas is a Marine. [The message] was an interesting choice," Karaty says, adding that his feelings are echoed by his parents, who are former dancers themselves.
Karaty, who counts Robson as a close friend, believes that the primetime program was the wrong place for the choreographer to make his feelings known.
"Everybody has the right to have an opinion," he says. "Part of the reason our troops are [fighting] is that so we can all have our own opinion. We are given the freedom to do whatever we want conceptually and choreographically, which is a great thing. The producers of the show trust us," he says, adding that he is unaware of a production policy of clearing routines and themes prior to air. "But," he insists, "I don't think So You Think You Can Dance is the right form to express political opinions."
Adding fuel to the fire was judge/choreographer Mia Michaels, who was wearing a military-style jacket with a military logo. According to Karaty, the judges and choreographers are allowed to select their own attire.
"My family was upset over the jacket that Mia had on just because its a question of who should be wearing that kind of jacket and why....only certain people should be wearing those jackets," Karaty says.
Judge Mary Murphy said she hopes the competition can move past this controversy.
"I support our troops and everyone's right to express their opinion," she says. "So You Think You Can Dance features talented dancers with amazing personal stories. It is my hope that after tonight the focus will shift back to the dancers and away from political statements."