Fame costs. The contestant application for Fame — NBC's newest reality show — even warns against possible exposure to "injury and death." So we're guessing a few aspiring singer/dancers are about to start paying!

"Well, you know, I might maim them a little bit in rehearsal. I'm known to be tough," jokes Debbie Allen, who auditioned hundreds of performers for the 10-week series (debuting tonight at 8 pm/ET.) She'll now coach her 24 hand-picked semi-finalists as they face viewers and celebrity judges — including Britney Spears and 'N Sync manager Johnny Wright, who'll usher the winner into a recording studio after the talent search is over.

Just what should the next J.Lo or Justin Timberlake do to woo their critics? Here, Allen mentally choreographs her idea of a knockout number: "I might [perform] Madonna's 'Die Another Day,' 'cause I could dance and sing the hell out of it. 'I'm gonna die...' Just imagine the leg going up. '...another day.' Drop to the floor. 'I'm gonna die...' Split! Look at the judges. '...another day.' Get up, then pulse. Honey, they'll be dead! I'll be in Hollywood! I will have shown technique, my ability to sing and that I have a personality you might want to watch."

Wow! If it sounds like Allen's expectations for her hopefuls are high, just listen to what she has in mind for Fame itself. "[The original '80s drama] created a stir and a phenomenon around the world," she says. "I mean, in warring countries — Egypt and Israel, and England and Ireland — people were laying down their battle weapons to sing and dance. That's the power of what we did with the TV series, the records, the tour. I think this [Fame] is gonna put the arts back on the front burner, where they need to be."

And if anything says High Art, Ms. Allen, it's tapping 'N Sync's Joey Fatone as host. Somewhere, Ryan Seacrest is quaking in his Prada boots.