So You Think You Can Dance is an American dance reality
show and competition that broadcast on the Fox Network and
on CTV in Canada.
The series premiered on July 20, 2005 and has a similar
premise to the American Idol series of singing competitions,
with nationwide auditions leading to the discovery of the
next big star. The show was created by Idol's Simon Fuller
and Nigel Lythgoe and is produced by 19 Entertainment and
Dick Clark Productions. A mixture of contestants is chosen
for the show, ranging from unknown street dancers to winners
of national championships. All contestants have to work
their way through a rigorous audition process, and then over
the course of the show they are assigned different dance
styles and partners each week, to test their versatility.
It was the #1 rated show in summer 2006 for adults aged
18-49, and on July 24, 2006, while still in production of
its second season, it was renewed for its third season. In
August 2006, it was also announced that there are now
spinoff versions of the show in New Zealand, Turkey, Israel,
and Norway, with several other countries in the works.
Many dance styles have been featured on the show,
including jazz, contemporary, pop, modern, American jive,
swing, disco, hip hop, krumping, paso doble, quickstep,
lyrical, Broadway, Viennese waltz, smooth waltz, Argentine
tango, mambo, cha cha, Cuban rumba, and salsa.
There are three judges on each show, one of which is always
producer Nigel Lythgoe. The other two judges are a rotation
of professional dancers and choreographers. The judges that
have appeared on the show are Dan Karaty, Mary Murphy, Shane
Sparks, Brian Friedman, Ron Montez, Doriana Sanchez, Nu
Stylz (Olisa Thompson & Cicely Bradley), Jean Marc Genereux
and Mia Michaels.
The early rounds include multiple bad auditions, in the same
vein as Idol, with a majority of dancers getting cut by the
judges immediately. There are several intermediate rounds of
cuts before the final rounds, which include an equal number
of male and female competitors.
The format is somewhat similar to that of ABC's Dance Fever,
a short-lived 2003 reality show.
Changes from the first season to the second season
Partnerships and styles
In the finals of the first season, the contestants were
partnered up and given a dance style, both chosen by a
random draw each week. From the rounds of final 14 to final
10, the top vote-getter among the bottom 6 (later bottom 4)
dancers was allowed to choose which person they did not want
to partner with.
For the first five weeks of the second season finals, the
partnerships were permanent (unless one half of a couple was
eliminated). As with the first season, dance styles were
assigned randomly. Once the top 10 dancers were chosen, the
previous couples were dissolved. New partnerships and dance
styles are assigned randomly each week, as in the first
season. Couples perform two dances together on each show,
and each individual dancer also performs a solo.
In the second season, the show began airing two nights a
week. Like American Idol, there was a live performance show
and a results show.
In the first season, the judges chose three couples as
the worst of the week, and those six dancers went into an
individual dance-off voted on by the viewers. One male and
one female contestant were then removed from the competition
based on the audience vote.
For the second season, the voting was changed significantly.
During the first five weeks of the finals, instead of voting
for individuals, the viewers voted for their favorite
couple(s) on performance night. On the results show, the
three couples that received the least number of votes were
revealed. The six dancers that made up those couples then
became eligible for removal by a decision of the judges. One
male and one female contestant were removed each week.
Although the solo dance-off still occurred, this change
significantly reduced its importance, as Lythgoe explicitly
stated on the show that the judges' decisions are based on
the "entire audition process", not just what occurs in a
given week. The dance-off still had some influence on the
judges, however, as Lythgoe at times castigated dancers for
their poor solo performances, and on one occasion, stated
that dancer Ivan Koumaev was kept on the show partly because
of his exceptional solo.
After the first five weeks of the finals, the voting changed
again to a different format. The public votes on individual
dancers, and the male and female lowest vote-getters are
eliminated each week. In this part of the competition, the
judges do not have any direct control of the elimination
The first season was hosted by Lauren Sánchez.
The winner of the final show aired on October 5, 2005 was
Nick Lazzarini, who received over 37.6% of the vote.
Lazzarini won $100,000 and the use of an apartment
overlooking Central Park in New York City for one year.
Melody Lacayanga was named runner-up.
The show premiered on May 25, 2006, leading audiences
through the audition process. Cat Deeley became the new
host. The top 20 finalists were revealed on June 8, and the
winner, "America's Favorite Dancer," was announced on August
16, 2006, Benji Schwimmer, after 16 million votes were
collected for the season finale.
There were several changes to the show's format in the
second season (see above). New styles of dance were
introduced, and the prize for the second season was
increased from $100,000 to also include a new car and a
one-year contract to perform in Céline Dion's show in Las