Paula Abdul's 'Live to Dance': What's the verdict?
January 5th, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Paula Abdul's 'Live to Dance': What's the verdict?

Is there room for another dance show on TV?

One with a traveling "state-of-the-art dance dome" - open to everyone from your kids to your grandmother - as well as the former host of "Australian Idol," Andrew Gunsberg? And most importantly, one with (a thankfully-lucid) Paula Abdul?

After two hours of watching the premiere of CBS' new mega-hyped reality show "Live to Dance" Tuesday night, I found myself surprised to say... yes.

The comparisons to the likes of "America's Best Dance Crew" and especially "So You Think You Can Dance" (only four-and-a-half months til the next season!) are unavoidable.

So what does it have over "SYTYCD"? Well, at least this season, the auditions appear to have lasted all of one episode. That's right, apparently next week the semifinals begin.

And, depending on your view, the judges (Paula, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and Michael Jackson choreographer Travis Payne) are on their best behavior so far. Many of the stand-outs are too young to be on Nigel Lythgoe's show (more on that in a moment), and the $500,000 prize doesn't hurt either.

On the other hand, if you're not much of a Paula Abdul fan, you're not going to like this too much. Paula, of course, got the biggest, flashiest introduction, and did you know she changed the life of a choreographer (whom she doesn't remember, and whose troupe she didn't send through)? Good thing Andrew - who is certainly no Cat Deeley - made sure they would have a super-awkward reunion.

Speaking of those rejections, this show has adopted the "America's Got Talent"-esque gold star/red star method of sending dancers through to the "short list." The gold stars are great but the red star rejection buzzer is awfully harsh for the lady in her 90s, the hearing-impaired C-Bunny, the girl who gets a huge bump on her head from falling, the unfortunately-talentless flight attendant paying tribute to Paula, and the aforementioned troupe. Please reconsider that next time, okay?

And then there's the way the show's edited, with the judges giving the stank-face while dancers wait to find out their fate.

Despite all of those misgivings, the quality of the dancers who made it through made it all worth it. I got goosebumps when "Shore Thing" performed to Michael Jackson's "Ghosts," looking as though they would fit right into one of his videos. Understandably, Travis started to tear up.

Another crew going by "Twitch" (as opposed to "tWitch" from "SYTYCD") just blew me away - and the judges as well - with their routine reminiscent of Wade Robson.

Thankfully, it wasn't all crews. We also had some exciting pairs like Dax and Sarah, who performed a thrilling Lindy Hop; Jill and Jacob, who've clearly studied Travis Wall's routines; and Tap Sounds Underground (whose style of dance is obvious).

The best solo act by far was 11-year-old sensation Kendall Glover. Kudos to Paula for telling her to lose the heavy makeup, by the way.

Then there were the trio of "Solid Gold" dancers, whose best days are clearly behind them. Even so, Paula convinced Travis to place them on the short list, because their show had inspired him years ago.

There were also pairs who were just plain cute: senior citizens Bev and Hap, and tween couple D'Angelo and Amanda, representing the ballroom style. I doubt both couples will make it to the next level, but hopefully one will.

So yes, despite this show's many flaws, it was the dancers that won me over. I'll tune in Wednesday night to see how things shake out. What about you? Share your view on an iReport or in the comments below.

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soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. lien tom

    Congrats gang rapper. You completed a course on how to act more like a normal human being instead of heathen ghetto trash. Most people can do this on their own without taking a class FYI.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Laura

    Was excited for the show until they put the old people through to the semi-finals. They got to go right through and the 11-year old had to fight for her spot. Can't take this show seriously now

    January 7, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Samantha

    The "state-of-the-art dance dome" was amazing! What a great venue for a dance show! That 90' geodesic dome was built by DomeGuys International and looked fabulous on television. Live to Dance is great and I am so excited that Paula is back!

    January 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Laurie Sauro

    With regard to the comment on the air about Paula being too showcased – it's her show. Simon Cowell produced American Idol and his opinions were given more weight – you either love him or hate him. Paula is no different; except she's a lot more sensitive. So let's give her a break.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Che Lopez

    I really like the show, As a 56 year old woman who LOVES TO DANCE, it was nice to see any age group can enter
    and be passed through even. It is hopeful! Who knows, Maybe I will try next time around. It is fun to just be part of something like that. American Idol is getting old to me. So far, I have thought some runner ups should have won than the person who did. Adam Lambert, How did that not happen?
    But I still watch here and there. America's got talent, it is alright. Don't usually watch it!
    Glad to see Paula still has it and can get it!

    January 6, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. DotDotDot

    I tried. I got 30 seconds in and couldn't take it. Bad set, bad host, the whole thing grated on my nerves so fast I had to turn it off.

    January 6, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mek

    Didn't watch the show until the very end when the 2 kids were dancing. They were great to be so young. I'm not a hater so whatever job Paula get is her business. I am very happy for her and the other people on the show since it's giving them all a job. If you don't care for Paula or anymore reality shows. Then just don't "watch" them. Your tv isn't autimatically set to these shows! And FYI-more REALITY shows on the way if you tune in to VH1. I'll be watching some other channel on Comcast lineup!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sally

    Enjoyed the show... Paula was great ! Give her a chance, she is sweet & encourages all the contestants, even when they are horrible... When Paula left Amer Idol, the show went downhill... Im happy 4 her & Congrats to Paula..

    January 5, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marie

    I enjoyed the show....Paula is such a sweety. I'll watch for as long as it's on. As a former dancer myself, I love the dancing shows....especiall Dancing with the Stars. As long as the show isn't 50% hip hop dancing, I will watch.

    January 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. virginia

    Good 4 u Paula!

    January 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. whiteglossy

    Paula A-BLECK!!! This was painful to watch people!!! Sorry Abdul... just the way we feel. See –

    January 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sean

    I'll admit, I was very skeptical about this show. I, like many others, still think of Paula as "the one from Idol" but she definitely changed my mind with last night's premiere. The premise of the show is to celebrate dance and you really get that feeling while you're watching...I mean the ages ranged from 6-90 years old and although all of the acts weren't great, you could tell that these people were doing what they love to do. The last act with the two children blew me away and I can't wait to see more!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wendywhite

    Love Paula Abdul. 'Live to Dance' has a freshness to it.. Looking forward to seeing it to the end but, would have preferred if there was an age limit. Not getting selected could be too much to take for some age groups esp. the very young.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mitch

    Yes, the realty show thing is getting old. But so are shows like NCIS. How many more cop & murder investigation shows can we have? Guess that's why I don't watch that much TV anymore.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rolyat

    Had Paula been a contestant on Idol, she never would have made it to the finals with her voice. She is one lucky woman to have had the career she had. She may be able to dance. But sing ? Forget it. And she always acts a little strange. Like she forgot to take her Lithium pill before she walked out of the house. I wish Paula success with this show, cause Lord knows she won't have another hit record.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  16. gerritv

    I think that Shore Thing's choreography was more indicative of Wade Robson than Twitch's – which I didn't get at all. I did not like the huge wall facade behind the judges. I would have liked to have seen the audience because it was was difficult to believe that audience and the judges were in the same room at the same time. Cheering, also, seemed too loud to be true. As for production values, this show is clearly from Poverty Row.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Debbie

    The show was a waste of my time and intelligence. Paula was annoying as usual.. I turned it off, after giving it a fighting chance, and I know three other households that turned it off also. Please stop insulting us with these type of shows.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Christopher Berry

    Oh God another stupid reality show!!! Watched it to give it a chance..when I saw the older people on there, and the fact that they put them through...I could not take the show seriously...I thought at that point that it was a waste of time, and I decided to!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Totally agree about the old people...come on they might have been "cute" but they were about as coordinated as 2 left feet. Makes the show seem just as bad as American Idol

      January 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Mary

    Thanks Marie, I was worried it would be on at 10 to make way for the realty show.

    January 5, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  20. Lori Maurer

    I loved the show. Paula can carry off just about anything she tries. The only thing I kinda missed was the fact that not one of the judges had a bit of the adorable Cowell factor to make it funny and interesting.. GO PAULA!

    January 5, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  21. Mary

    Do we really need another realty show, i personally am sick of all of them and i do not watch them
    What happened to NCIS?? One of the best drama shows on ...

    January 5, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      Actually, NCIS was a repeat and that is probably why they put a reality show at its place. Next week – all comes back to normal and NCIS wil aired on Tuesday and Live to dance on Wednesday ...

      January 5, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny D

      NCIS???? Unbelievable.

      January 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Tyler D

    I'm excited to see what happens after the initial audition, like what the set up will be. But as of right now i'm really...excited about this show.

    January 5, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |

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