A few things remain apparent as the Dancing With the Stars season ended.  The show does in fact continue to draw bigger and bigger stars.  In size as with Pen Jillette and Jason Taylor, in pure face recognition as with Priscilla Presley and Steve Guttenberg and with pinnacle achievements as with Kristi Yamaguchi and Monica Seles.  The producers are to be commended with maintaining and growing the core of the show, the Stars.  The Tuesday night stars are also more prominent as indicated from Usher’s appearance on the finale.  Add to that his willingness to include the show’s dancers.  Whether the stars draw the number of viewers or the numbers in the audience are now drawing the stars may now be irrelevant as the ball is rolling down the hill hopefully under its own momentum for a while at least.

The stars’ human faces are seen in background, at practice sessions, and as conversational footage each week.  They provide fans a different but mostly positive perspective of each of the stars.  The not only large but dedicated audience can only enhance the future draw, recognition and eventual paychecks of all the celebrities.  The show its hosts, the judges and producers will all benefit from more recognition and prominence.  So however anyone looks at it, it is as extolled in the 7 Habits a WIN-WIN-WIN.

That is not to say there are not any naysayers.  The local paper here was quick to point out what they felt were the cheesier and predictable parts of the show.  The Live Band, costumes, lighting and such seemed to bother them.  Although I cannot think of any regular series that does not follow same formula.  All together now, CSI Paris would include:  a) Crime, b) Initial Investigation, c) Interviews, d) New Investigation, e) Analysis, f) Capture.  All in French clothes and with an accent however to make it original.  Yet it is still entertaining to watch exactly the “How” and nuanced differences and sub plots.

Even at a local level Dancing With the Stars continues strong.  Many cities have adopted their own competitions, partnering local celebrities with local instructors to produce a benefit performance where a local worthwhile charity will benefit.  Again promoting the celebrity status of the local newscaster, politician or community activist and helping a good cause at the same time.  Even the local dance studios that provide the instructors benefit.  Unfortunately for the local celebrities, the local pros are not subsidized by a producer to teach the 20-30 hours per week and if necessary to follow the star to their current gig to practice on off times and produce background footage.  Quite often the local celebrity has a real job and life and cannot devote the equivalent time needed to shine like the superstars.

They do it regardless, knowing some publicity is better than none.  I just hope the local audiences realize that given the same time and rehearsals many of the locals could perform just as admirably.  Given the same support and chance many of the local pros would also shine.  I take nothing away from some of the celebrity pros that have in their own right and time proven their expertise, certainly as showmen and dancers.  Whether the choreography and teaching is all theirs as is implied does not matter to the audience.  They like most of the world only want entertainment and more time with their favorite stars.  The results so far for everyone remain strong, and should continue if the producers keep on track as they have to date.  Just wait with the rest of the world and see who is up next and see if the trend continues.

Michal Reichenbach


Dance Week

Vol. XXXI, No 12

June 6, 2008

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