High school student Kristen Aimes entertains her friends one afternoon by telling them how she met her favorite T.V. star, Eric Archer, also known as “Mr. Mambo,” at an audition for the hit reality show, Dance America. Kristen and her best friends, Casey Harmon and Danny Rodriguez, have each been chosen to spend the summer in New York City and compete for the show’s $1 million prize. The only one in their group not chosen is Kristen’s closest male friend, Johnny Stevens, who is too shy and awkward to tell Kristen he is in love with her. Instead, Johnny calls the local radio station every night and anonymously dedicates a song to Kristen. Unknown to Johnny, Kristen thinks it’s Eric – secretly conveying his “crush” on her but keeping it a secret from the public.
Kristen, Casey, and Danny appear on the next episode of Dance America. The star of the show, Eric Archer, picks Kristen as his partner for the week. The audience response to Kristen and Eric together is so great that Eric’s pushy manager, Sally Stratton, convinces Eric to romance Kristen for extra publicity. Eric asks Kristen out, and Kristen is now more convinced than ever that Eric is the one dedicating songs to her on the radio. Eric’s former partner on Dance America, Amber Catrell, shows up after the broadcast, and decides to reclaim her spot on the show.
Johnny follows Kristen to New York and convinces Danny to let Johnny sleep in Danny’s hotel room. Danny agrees. When Johnny leaves, Casey arrives, and she and Danny decide that tonight is the night they will become romantically intimate. Johnny finally tracks Kristen down, but she is with Eric. Kristen is delighted to see Johnny, but has to leave to go rehearse with Eric.
After rehearsal, Eric escorts Kristen to her hotel room and tries to seduce her. They are interrupted by Casey, who is eager for details of their involvement. Danny comes in and explodes in a fit of jealousy when Eric flirts with Casey. Danny and Eric come to blows, and Eric has Casey and Danny thrown off the show. Danny and Casey break up.
Despite her friends’ misfortune, Kristen is excited about competing on the next live episode of Dance America. She is just about to change for the show when she realizes the dress she is supposed to wear is missing from her dressing room. Kristen is frantically searching for the dress when the show starts. The curtain goes up, and Amber appears on stage wearing Kristen’s dress. Having no choice but to finish the show with Amber, Eric dances with her, and the two are hailed as the show’s official new couple. However, when the cameras are off, Amber returns to being her normal cruel self – until Danny and Johnny hatch a plan to get Amber off the show and Kristen back on.