Patrick Ecclesine/FOX
Kate Ward
May 26, 2011 AT 09:22 PM EDT

Over the past few seasons, we’ve had a strange relationship with So You Think You Can Dance. For five seasons, it was the perfect antidote to our American Idol withdrawal. It was a viable replacement for the Idol season — and even boasted better music. (Yeah, I said it!) But then, after season 5 concluded, its producers decided to switch things up, offering us a fall season. And after having just watched Jeanine Mason pick up the win, So You Think You Can Dance fans weren’t necessarily eager to watch the show stretch its legs into another season so soon.

Then, thanks to poor ratings, SYTYCD decided to revamp its premise for season 7, hiring all-stars to renew our interest in the show. The new premise worked for hardcore fans — but failed to pick up many more viewers. In fact, the season posted some of the least impressive ratings of the series’ entire run. Had the show lost its luster? Or, after two back-to-back seasons, did we simply experience SYTYCD exhaustion, making its summer premiere less anticipated?

We’ll see which is true tonight, with the return of the dance competition series. Admittedly, I’m more excited for the show than I was last summer — distance truly makes the heart grow fonder. (It’s been almost a year since we watched Lauren Froderman pick up the season 7 win, believe it or not.) And then there’s the Mary Murphy factor: I guessing a louder, more bombastic SYTYCD season will garner much more excitement. Plus, I really, really missed Cat Deeley, didn’t you?

Are you ready for SYTYCD, PopWatchers, or did you bid it adieu already?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWardEW

Read more:

‘SYTYCD’: Mary Murphy on returning to the judges chair, and the cancer scare that almost took her voice

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