So You Think You Can Dance is an American dance competition and reality show that airs on Fox in the United States.

The series first 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 are 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. By the end of this process, 20 dancers of various styles are chosen to compete on national television. Over the course of the show, dancers 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. The first season was hosted by current American news personality, Lauren Sánchez; since the second season it has been hosted by former children's television personality and current game show host Cat Deeley. Spin-offs were announced in August 2006; there are currently versions of the show in New Zealand, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Canada, Germany, Greece, Poland, Malaysia, Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia, with several other versions in the works.

So You Think You Can Dance holds auditions in major cities across the U.S., looking for the top dancers in each city. Dancers with all types of backgrounds are encouraged to audition. Salsa, ballroom, hip hop, street dancing, contemporary, jazz, ballet and many other types of dancers can be seen auditioning for a chance to win the grand prize—which, in the past, has included a new Hybrid SUV, $100,000 in cash, and a dancing role in Celine Dion's Las Vegas show—of US$ 250,000 and the title of "America's favorite dancer." In its six seasons, the winners have been Nick Lazzarini, Benji Schwimmer, Sabra Johnson, Joshua Allen, Jeanine Mason and Russell Ferguson. The show has won four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Choreography and a total of six emmys.

Show formatEdit

Dancers audition for a prize to go on to the next round. During season 1, the next round was held in Hollywood. From Season 2 going forward, the next rounds occurred in Las Vegas. Due to time constraints, most auditions are either cut or edited.

During season one, the 50 top dancers were assigned to groups, each of which spent time working with five different choreographers for a week, at the end of which the choreographers chose the top 16. Every season after the first has been of a format where the competitors at the Vegas callbacks dance choreography in front of the judges who pick the top 20 based on their performances.

After the first season, the format changed from dancers switching partners every week to one where the top 20 keep the same partner until the show has reached ten finalists. Between the top 20 and the top ten, viewers vote based on the couple, rather than the individual. Once the show has reached ten dancers, the dancers randomly pick their partner's name from a hat as well as their style(s) of dance. As well, during the top ten finals, each dancer does a solo, and the viewers have an opportunity to vote on competitors individually, rather than in pairs.

When the season finale comes around, everyone dances with everyone. Both guys dance with each other, both girls dance with each other, and both girls dance with both guys. In the results show of the season finale, the judges pick their favorite dance of the season, and the dancers re-enact it. There are special guest-star performers and surprise appearances. So You Think You Can Dance has been a success for five seasons and season six premiered on September 9.



Male contestant Female contestant Summer season Fall season
Season Year(s) Winner Top 42 3 Host Judges
1 2005 Nick Lazzarini
Melody Lacayanga
Jamile McGee
Ashlé Dawson
Lauren Sánchez Nigel Lythgoe
Guest judges
2 2006 Benji Schwimmer1
Travis Wall
Donyelle Jones1
Heidi Groskreutz
Cat Deeley
3 2007 Sabra Johnson
Danny Tidwell
Neil Haskell
Lacey Schwimmer1
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Guest judge(s)
4 2008 Joshua Allen1
Stephen "Twitch" Boss
Katee Shean1
Courtney Galiano
5 2009 Jeanine Mason
Brandon Bryant
Evan Kasprzak1
Kayla Radomski
6 Russell Ferguson
Jakob Karr1
Kathryn McCormick
Ellenore Scott
Nigel Lythgoe
Mary Murphy
Adam Shankman

1 These contestants are the only ones to have never been in the bottom three couples or the bottom four dancers throughout the entire season.
2 In Seasons 1, 5, and 6 the placements of the dancers according to the final vote were officially announced and contestants are listed in the order they finished in the competition. For seasons 2, 3, and 4 only the winner was announced; as such, official final placements are unknown and contestants are listed in the order they were eliminated from the competition. In Season 4, Katee Shean was named "America's favorite female dancer," indicating she received more votes than Courtney Galiano.
3In Season 6, the finale consisted of 6 dancers, instead of the traditional Top 4. As such, only the top four are listed here to keep the set-up of the template. Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello were the other two members of season six's finale, and Ashleigh Di Lello was another contestant who was never in the bottom 2 or 3.

Season 1Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 1)

The first season was hosted by Lauren Sanchez.

The final show aired on October 5, 2005. The winner 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.

Season 2Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 2)

The show premiered on May 12, 2006, leading audiences through the audition stages. Cat Deeley became the new host. The top 20 finalists were revealed on June 8, and the winner, Benji Schwimmer, was named "America's Favorite Dancer" on August 16, 2006 after 16 million votes were collected for the season finale. Travis Wall was named runner-up.

Schwimmer almost did not make the show's top 20—he was officially first runner-up dancer in case any of the male dancers ran into unforeseen difficulties prior to the start of filming. As it happened, for the second year in a row, Hokuto "Hok" Konishi was unable to get his visa cleared to work in the US in time for the first taping, and he was cut. Schwimmer came in and proceeded to routinely wow the judges and the audience on the way to victory.

There were several changes to the show's format in the second season. 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 Vegas.

Season 3Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 3)

Open auditions for Season 3 began early October 2006, held in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Like the previous season, those that made the cuts moved on to Las Vegas. The taped auditions premiered on the Fox Network on May 24, 2007, and the subsequent shows were taped and broadcast live for a 12-week season. Cat Deeley returned as host, and Nigel Lythgoe returned as permanent judge. Joining Lythgoe permanently at the judging table was Mary Murphy; her promotion was reported by TV Guide on March 8, 2007. The prize for the winner was increased to $250,000 cash. On the performance finale show (August 16, 2007), it was announced that the series had been picked up for a fourth season. Sabra Johnson was named "America's Favorite Dancer," while Danny Tidwell was named runner-up.

Season 4Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 4)

Auditions for Season 4 began in Texas on January 17 and took place in six locations through March 2008. The show kicked off its two-hour season premiere on May 22, 2008. Cat Deeley returned as host and Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy as permanent judges. This season saw the introduction of new dance styles, including Bollywood, and new choreographers, including hip-hop duo Tabitha D'umo and Napoleon D'umo. The prize for the winner was again $250,000 cash, the title of "America's Favorite Dancer" and an offer for a role in Step Up 3D. In the finale, viewers voted Joshua Allen as the overall winner, while Katee Shean was given a surprise award of $50,000 for being the top female dancer.

Season 5Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 5)

Auditions for Season 5 kicked off in New York City on November 13, 2008 and continued on to Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Memphis, and Seattle. The premiere aired on May 21, 2009. Louis van Amstel joined the show's cast of choreographers and Shane Sparks returned to choreograph while on break from America's Best Dance Crew. The prize for the winner was once again $250,000 cash, the chance to be on the November 2009 issue cover of Dance Spirit Magazine, and the title of "America's Favorite Dancer." On August 6, 2009 (the finale), Jeanine Mason was given the title.

Season 6Edit

Main article: So You Think You Can Dance (season 6)

It was a special episode of Dance featuring viewer's favorite dance routines from seasons 1-5 which aired Wednesday, September 2, 2009 8-8:58 PM ET/PT, the sixth season of Dance, premiered on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. Adam Shankman joined as the permanent judge for the first time this season. The winner was Russell Ferguson.

Special showEdit

On September 2, 2009, a special show aired, featuring the top 15 routines from the first five seasons. At the end of the show, show creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe presented his favorite performance, a contemporary piece choreographed Tyce Diorio and performed by Melissa Sandvig and Ade Obayomi.

Season Couple Style Music Choreographer(s) Note(s)
1 Jamile McGee
Destini Rogers
Hip-hop "Shake"—Ying Yang Twins featuring Pitbull Shane Sparks
1 Nick Lazzarini
Melody Lacayanga
Broadway "All That Jazz"—Ute Lemper Tyce Diorio
2 Benji Schwimmer
Heidi Groskreutz
Mambo "Black Mambo"—Angel and the Mambokats Alex Da Silva
2 Ivan Koumaev
Allison Holker
Contemporary "Why"—Annie Lennox Tyce Diorio
2 Travis Wall
Heidi Groskreutz
Contemporary "Calling You"—Celine Dion Mia Michaels Won the 2007 Emmy Award
3 Hokuto "Hok" Konishi
Jaimie Goodwin
Jazz "The Chairman's Waltz" from Memoirs of a Geisha Wade Robson Won the 2008 Emmy Award
3 Neil Haskell
Sabra Johnson
Jazz "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)"—Eurythmics Mandy Moore Nominated for the 2008 Emmy Award
3 Danny Tidwell
Lacey Schwimmer
Samba "Hip Hip Chin Chin"—Club Des Belugas Dmitry Chaplin
3 Pasha Kovalev
Lauren Gottlieb
Hip-hop "Fuego"—Pitbull Shane Sparks Nominated for the 2008 Emmy Award
4 Mark Kanemura
Courtney Galiano
Jazz "The Garden"—Mirah Sonya Tayeh
4 Mark Kanemura
Chelsie Hightower
Hip-hop "Bleeding Love"—Leona Lewis Napoleon D'umo
Tabitha D'umo
Nominated for the 2009 Emmy Award
4 Joshua Allen
Katee Shean
Contemporary "Hometown Glory"—Adele Mia Michaels
5 Brandon Bryant
Janette Manrara
Disco "Loving Is Really My Game"—Brainstorm Doriana Sanchez
5 Kūpono Aweau
Kayla Radomski
Contemporary "Gravity"—Sara Bareilles Mia Michaels
5 Jason Glover
Jeanine Mason
Contemporary "If It Kills Me" (The Casa Nova Sessions)—Jason Mraz Travis Wall
5 Ade Obayomi
Melissa Sandvig
Contemporary "This Woman's Work"—Maxwell Tyce Diorio


Ratings for So You Think You Can Dance in Season 1 made it the #1 summer show for the summer of 2005. However, when NBC's America's Got Talent premiered in the summer of 2006, it took key demographics away, and America's Got Talent became the #1 summer show in the summer of 2007. In the summer of 2008, Talent held on to the title and broadened its lead, while Fox started competing with CBS's Million Dollar Password on Thursdays and even drama reruns on CBS on Wednesdays. In summer 2009, the show premiered strong with a 3.4 rating in its target demographic, although with the start of America's Got Talent roughly a month later in the same timeslot, Dance fell to number four on the ratings board.


Emmy AwardsEdit

Year Result Category Recipient(s)/
Performers Style Music
2007 Won Outstanding Choreography Wade Robson Season 2 finalists Pop-Jazz "Ramalama (Bang Bang)"—Róisín Murphy
2007 Won Outstanding Choreography Mia Michaels Travis Wall
Heidi Groskreutz
Contemporary "Calling You"—Celine Dion
2008 Won Outstanding Choreography Wade Robson Hokuto "Hok" Konishi
Jaimie Goodwin
Jazz "The Chairman's Waltz" from Memoirs of a Geisha
2008 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Mandy Moore Neil Haskell
Sabra Johnson
Jazz "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"—Eurythmics
2008 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Shane Sparks Pasha Kovalev
Lauren Gottlieb
Hip-hop "Fuego"—Pitbull
2008 Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera
Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Amy Strozzi
Heather Cummings
Tifanie White
Crystal Wolfchild
2009 Won Outstanding Choreography Tyce Diorio William Wingfield
Jessica King
Contemporary "Silence" from Unfaithful
2009 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Napoleon D'umo
Tabitha D'umo
Mark Kanemura
Chelsie Hightower
Hip-hop "Bleeding Love"—Leona Lewis
2009 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Mia Michaels Stephen "Twitch" Boss
Katee Shean
Contemporary "Mercy"—Duffy
2009 Nominated Outstanding Choreography Dmitry Chaplin Joshua Allen
Chelsie Hightower
Argentine tango "A Los Amigos" from Forever Tango
2009 Nominated Outstanding Makeup For A Multi-Camera
Series Or Special (Non-Prosthetic)
Amy Strozzi
Heather Cummings
Tifanie White
Marie DelPrete
2009 Won Outstanding Costumes For A Variety/Music
Program Or A Special
Soyon An

Wade Robson and Mia Michaels were joint-winners along with Rob Marshall and John Deluca from Tony Bennett: An American Classic.

Teen Choice AwardsEdit

Year Result Category
2006 Won Choice TV: Breakout Show
2006 Won Choice Summer Series
2007 Nominated Choice Summer TV Show
2008 Nominated Choice Summer TV Show
2008 Nominated Choice TV: Reality Dance
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