“I want different! I want new!” declared Paula Abdul on her totally different, totally new CBS show Live to Dance, which debuted last night and continues to live to dance tonight. How different and how new was it? Let’s see!
Auditioners screamed outside while in line. But unlike on American Idol, the auditions took place in a traveling dance dome, NOT a hotel conference room. NEW!
A cheeky, effervescent foreign host peppily rouses up the dancers before they show their stuff. But unlike So You Think You Can Dance’s British Cat Deeley, this host is male, and Australian. DIFFERENT!
The cheeky host pokes the aspirants for sob stories, but unlike the hosts of Idol and SYTYCD, he also gets them to confess crushes on their partners. DOUBLE THREAT!
There’s no age limit on the competition, so contestants over 80 get wild patronizing applause. But unlike America’s Got Talent, these senior citizens get it for dancing, not doing stand-up. DIFFERENT!
Three people sit on the panel: Abdul; Kimberly Wyatt, founding member of the Pussycat Dolls; and Travis Payne, who choreographed Michael Jackson’s This Is It.. But unlike AI, Dancing With the Stars, America’s Got Talent, and The Sing-Off, this trio are not judges, they are “experts.” NEW!
The judges — sorry, “experts” — push a button to award either a gold star or a red star; two or more gold stars get the contestant on to the “Short List.” They do not vote or confer, mind you, they just push buttons. NEW!
The grand prize is $500,000. Not $100,000 (America’s Best Dance Crew), a record deal (AI), or a Vegas headlining show (America’s Got Talent). DIFFERENT!
Paula, still loopy and lovable, hands out standing-Os and flat-handed claps and declares that even the contestants she (reluctantly) rejects “touch her heart.” But instead of her being the only nice person at a table full of criticism, she has stocked the table full of kindness and light, where the harshest advice anyone ever gives is “keep on practicing.” DIFFERENT. Sigh.