So You Think You Can Dance

TV review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
So You Think You Can Dance TV Poster Image
Dance version of Idol struts its stuff.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 24 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive messages

The contestants work very hard to polish their performances, and the show clearly appreciates those with skill and dedication. But judges also make harsh comments to some competitors: "You look like the Bride of Chucky," "That was a bad car accident," etc.

Positive role models & representations

The majority of the competitors are passionate about dancing and dedicated to working hard to achieve their goals. The judges, on the other hand, are a mixed bag, ranging from positive and supportive to negative and catty.


Some dancers fall and get hurt (blood and bruises) during auditions.


Some suggestive dance moves. Very skimpy outfits worn by some female dancers.


Generally quite mild.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Competitors have talked about past experiences with alcohol addiction.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series is the brainchild of Simon Cowell and bears many similarities to his mega hit American Idol. In the early auditions, some aspiring dancers are clearly looking for their 15 minutes of fame, while others are earnest but lacking in skills. And a few are physically hurt in the process. The judges can be mean-spirited in their critiques of the dancers. When the dancers are good, it's awe-inspiring, but there's too much fluff to sort through to get to the real meat of the show. Once the final 20 are selected, wannabe hoofers young and old will enjoy the competition.

User Reviews

Parent of a 8 and 12 year old Written bylaess113 June 4, 2009

Great show!

My girls and I love this show (8 yo. & 11 yo.) we have watched it for years. My only concern is sometimes the outfits are pretty revealing and occasio... Continue reading
Parent of a 4, 5, and 6 year old Written bylorenaj79 September 11, 2009

Alright for 5 and up after final 20 are picked

Some dance moves are very sexual in nature (Latin ballroom) but it is just dance and it's amazing to see how far people can come with perseverance and dedi... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 31, 2011

Worst show I've ever seen

In my opinion, I think it's crazy that people actually like this show!! It's so boring! Dancing with the Stars is such a fun and entertaining show com... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytimmphy do June 7, 2010
best tv show in the world!!!!!!!!!

What's the story?

It'll be hard to keep your feet still while watching SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. After a series of auditions around the country, 20 dancer hopefuls tap, break, or sashay their way to Las Vegas for the formal competition, where they work with five of the nation's top choreographers. Live results determine who keeps dancing, who's going home, and who's crowned America's No. 1 dancer.

Is it any good?

When the heat is on, it's great fun to watch a show that combines all types of dance, including ballet, salsa, hip hop, jive, ballroom, tap, and more. But the series needs work. It doesn't have American Idol's polish or fluidity; exchanges between judges are awkward and lacking in conviction, and they give unclear advice to competitors who are turned away.

Kids who like to dance or like to watch dancing will enjoy the program. But some questionable material needs to be screened: One contestant talks about drinking problems interfering with his dancing, another calls himself "Sex" and describes himself as a male sex symbol, others get bleeped when responding to the judges, and so on. If kids (and their parents) can see past this and focus on the dancing, it's very inspiring to watch the dancers' hard work. It's contagious, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amount of hard work, patience, and strength it takes to make it as a dancer. Do you think you could do it?

  • What do you think of the judges' critiques? Which ones are constructive? How can someone bounce back from such disappointment?

  • How do you feel about the competitors who weren't serious about the audition? Do you think that impacts the show's integrity?

TV details

For kids who love dancing

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