01/05/2011 AT 9:30 AM ET
No night is a complete waste if you can bask for a few moments in Paula Adbul’s magic. It comes beaming right out of the television screen, like the white light in Poltergeist. She is a dancer, singer and choreographer, but her real talent – uncovered in seven seasons of American Idol – is as a pearled dispenser of wisdom and comfort. If she sat in a carnival booth I would drop in a gold coin to hear her talk.
Now she has returned as one of the judges and mentors on a new CBS reality competition called Live to Dance. The show, a cross between America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance, is no Idol – in fact, its two hours of auditions Tuesday didn’t add up to much of anything.