Picks and Pans Review: So You Think You Can Dance

updated 08/15/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/15/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

FOX (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET)

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God, I hope I get it. I hope I get it. How many people does he need? Oops—I mentally channeled the wrong show. Those are the lyrics sung by dance hopefuls at the beginning of A Chorus Line. Watching this (so far) sweetly upbeat series, you may find yourself flashing back to that musical, or Flashdance, or any showbiz hoofer saga that once gave you an insane, momentary wish that you were wearing red shoes and dancing like a fool. Dance, created in part by American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, is Idol for & feet. The first two episodes whittled the wannabes down to 50 finalists. These kids can dance anything: flamenco (Timo, love the cape!), classical ballet, hip-hop, roller disco—occasionally, it seems, all at once. You get the sense that some imagine themselves shimmying through stage fog as backup dancers for Celine Dion. The finalists are then sent off to a sort of choreographic boot camp, preferably without real boots. The winner gets $100,000 and a lease on a Manhattan apartment. The square footage is not revealed.

But then what? Each season of American Idol produces a star, even if it's a singing nougat bar like Clay Aiken. Will Dance's winner have to slog through Broadway auditions? Will he or she get lucky enough to wear a giraffe headdress in The Lion King? Are leg warmers and bottled water complimentary? This isn't as tidy a concept as Dancing with the Stars. Still, it's always good to see dancing that's dancing and not a montage of repositioned limbs (also known as the movie version of Chicago). The dancers line up, and there's expectant energy. It's hope, expressed in movement.


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