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Recommended: Come Dance with Me on CBS

Dance Moms (and dads) take to the floor with their kids in this endearing new TV dance competition.
  • Emelyn and her mom Nicole compete on Come Dance With Me (Photo: Narelle Portanier/CBS)
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    Come Dance with Me Season 1 | CBS
    Hourlong Reality Competition

    What's Come Dance with Me About?

    Talented child dancers are paired with one of their parents to compete as a team, executing choreographed routines for judges Jenna Dewan, Tricia Miranda, and Dexter Mayfield, with one team getting eliminated each week until a champion dance family is crowned.

    Who's involved?

    • Jenna Dewan (judge): The dancer, actress, Step Up star, and former Mrs. Channing Tatum has been a mainstay on TV dance competitions for years, having guest judged on So You Think You Can Dance and hosted the Jennifer Lopez-produced World of Dance on MTV.
    • Tricia Miranda (judge): The panel's designated "tough love" judge is a hip-hop choreographer who's worked with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Jason Derulo, and LL Cool J.
    • Dexter Mayfield (judge): If Dexter is the Mary Murphy of this particular judging panel, then his giant clacking fan is his Hot Tamale Train, used to express particular approval of a dancer or routine. A dancer who has performed for Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry, Mayfield is also an actor and plus-size male model.
    • Philip Lawrence (host): The eight-time Grammy winning music producer and songwriter has worked most spectacularly with Bruno Mars, and also with the likes of Adele, Flo Rida, Lil Wayne, and Wiz Khalifa.
    • LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell (creators): Since 2009, LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell have been the stars of the CBS procedural NCIS: Los Angeles, the first of the many NCIS spinoffs. This is the first TV series they've created together, though LL was also a producer and host of Lip Sync Battle.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    If you're a fan of televised dance competitions, it's been a rough few years. So You Think You Can Dance has been off the air since 2019 (and although it's coming back, it's with a completely revamped judging panel and, for all we know, format). Dancing with the Stars just got punted to Disney+. World of Dance was canceled almost two years ago. America's Best Dance Crew has been gone for a decade. Coming along to scratch that itch is Come Dance With Me, which takes the televised dance competition genre to the next logical step. So You Think You Can Dance already did a juniors season, so clearly it was time for a family show.

    There's a ton of potential in a series where kids partner with their parents for something as physically demanding and talent-forward as dance. And even just going by the premiere episode, Come Dance With Me has a bunch of different angles on the family dynamic. All of the parents are presented as supportive of their talented kids, of course, but you've still got the overwhelmed daughter-dads trying their best to keep up with their little girls, the Type A "Dance Moms" who now have to put their own feet to the dance floor, the steadfastly supportive mom of the boy who gets picked on for being girly, and of course the classic archetype: the drummer for Limp Bizkit (for real) and his dynamo of a daughter. If you're the type of person who gets emotional watching dancers harness their natural gifts in order to create stories out of movement, then you're almost certainly going to be feeling things as you watch these incredible kids prop up parents who are trying their best.

    As a competition, the show has a pleasantly straightforward formula: a rehearsal package (where we get to know the dancer and their parent), a performance, and judging, where each judge gives the routine a numerical score from 1 to 10. At the end of each episode, the bottom two teams face off, with the judges then deciding who gets eliminated. The judges themselves do a decent job of giving substantive critique without crushing the dreams of the kids on stage. Both Miranda and Dewan are consistent in delivering the kinds of criticisms and pointers that might help the parents (and even the kids, who are still growing into their abilities). Dexter Mayfield is the enthusiasm judge, and he plays that role to perfection, projecting love back to the contestants.

    As for the production, there's an admirable restraint in telling the families' stories. Come Dance with Me definitely has some hard-luck tales, but the overall vibe doesn't wring tears out of the audience. In fact, the show could lean a bit more on the sentiment. On So You Think You Can Dance, host Cat Deeley has a gift for zeroing in on the emotional core of a given dancer or routine while projecting genuine care and affection for the performers. Philip Lawrence could do with more of that here.

    Pairs well with

    • So You Think You Can Dance, still the gold standard for televised dance competitions and the show that Come Dance With Me owes the biggest debt.
    • MasterChef Junior (streaming on Hulu), still the gold standard for letting children be reality TV contestants.
    • Dance Moms  (streaming on Hulu), if you want to see what happens when parents of dancers don't have to get on stage themselves. 

  • Come Dance with Me (Season 1)
    Premieres on CBS and Paramount+ Friday, April 15, 2022 at 8:00 PM ET.
    Created by: Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J.
    Starring: Jenna Dewan, Tricia Miranda, Dexter Mayfield, and Philip Lawrence.

    TOPICS: Come Dance with Me, CBS, Chris O'Donnell, Dexter Mayfield, Jenna Dewan, LL Cool J, Philip Lawrence, Tricia Miranda