So You Think You Can Dance is an American dance reality show and competition that is broadcast on the Fox Network, on Fox Japan, on CTV in Canada, on Living in United Kingdom and Ireland and on Network Ten in Australia. [1]
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 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.[2] Cat Deeley will return as host for the third season, which begins on May 24, 2007. 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.
So You Think You Can Dance holds auditions across the major cities of the US, looking for the top dancers in each city. All types of dance 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 a new Hybrid SUV, $100,000 in cash and a dancing role in Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show.
Top dancers are then put through grueling rehearsals and auditions and slowly narrowed down to a top 20 list of 10 men and 10 women. These contestants are then paired up and must randomly pick a partnered dance. Often this is not a style that they are familiar with and the dancers must learn the style from scratch. Couples will then perform the routine(s) and America votes for their favourite couple. The bottom couples must then do a solo performance of their choice to win over the judges’ votes so that they do not get eliminated. This continues weekly with one male and one female eliminated weekly.
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 receiver 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 receivers are eliminated each week. In this part of the competition, the judges do not have any direct control of the elimination process.