I started to write my usual “Dancing with the Stars” review when I suddenly realized that I didn’t feel like doing it. For the first time since the ABC television show started, I really wasn’t that interested in what had happened or even what was going to happen in the following weeks. That was a light bulb moment for me.
I started thinking about my lack of enthusiasm and what was behind it. It wasn’t a matter of no longer enjoying the professional dancers do what they do best. That enthusiasm was still there, despite mourning the loss of Julianne Hough or the return of bad boys Alec Mazo and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
I will admit to being tired of great dancers like Cheryl Burke, Edyta Swilinska, Jonathan Roberts, and Tony Dovolani being paired with celebrities that ensure them an early drop out. On the other hand, it’s fun to watch “So You Think You Can Dance” alumnus Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower, and Lacey Schwimmer strut their considerable talents on the floor.
At least, this season, viewers finally got a chance to see Kym Johnson in full action. She has moves that she’s never had the chance to show off in recent cycles.
While new comer Anna Demidova appears to be a talented dancer, her choreography has been less than stellar. Anna Trebunskaya, although talented, doesn’t seem to have the star power she needs to build a loyal following.
Focusing on the celebrities, it was easy to see this year’s crop is pretty lackluster. It is chock full of so-called stars of which television viewers have never heard. Because of that, it’s often hard to get invested in their successes or failures.
Case in point, singer Mya and model Joana Krupa. These girls are undeniably great dancers and probably the leaders of the competition. But who cares? Many viewers don’t know enough about them to get invested and root for them.
While Aaron Carter might be well known to the younger crowd, his “look at me” arrogant attitude has obviously not played well with older DWTS’ viewers. He keeps landing in the bottom two despite his excellent technique and dancing skill.
The choice to include Tom Delay in this cycle is questionable at best. While he proved to be charming in a self-effacing way, it was clearly not going to carry him very far. Plus, his dropping out of the competition denied viewers one of their favorite pro dancers (Cheryl Burke).
The backlash against Olympian, Natalie Coughlin, was likely in response to the dominance of Olympians in past competitions. I admit that I vowed never to tune in again if yet another Olympian won the competition. Enough was enough!
It could have also been a slap at her pro partner, Alec Mazo. His arrogance doesn’t play well to the audiences or the judges.
Karina Smirnoff is always a pleasure to watch on the dance floor. There is no denying that she is one of the best pros in the bunch. However, putting up with the daggers she throws the judges and the audience when things don’t go her way is just too much to ask.
It’s easy to see why Karina and Maks cancelled their engagement. That is too much arrogance to put in one place at one time.
Still, including stars like Donny Osmond and Kelly Osborne was a stroke of genius. Without their immeasurable charm and commitment, the show would have completely fallen flat on its face.
Adding four new dances into the mix, group dances, and dance marathons were also good ideas. They provided the only new and exciting moments of this cycle. But clearly that, along with Tom Bergeron’s wonderful wit, are just not enough.
So what is really at the heart of DWTS’ loss of viewers? It has to be chalked up to a number of things that happened to collide all at the same time.
1. The loss of popular professional dancers early in the competition.
2. New pros that don’t have any punch.
3. Return of professional dancers that haven’t played well to the audience in the past.
4. Inclusion of lackluster “stars”.
5. Celebrity dance leaders that most viewers don’t know.
6. No big name, challenged, or “naughty” celebrities like Heather Mills or Cloris Leachman.
7. No surprises like Marie Osmond’s fainting spell or John Hurley’s self-proclamation as the “real” winner.
8. The same old judges saying the same old thing and rating celebrity amateurs like they were pros.
9. The lack of comedy beyond that provided by Bergeron.
10. No “fun” factor. Donny and Kelly are trying to carry that all on their own.
It would be sad to see “Dancing with the Stars” bite the dust. However, another lackluster cycle like this one would almost certainly ensure just that.
This is my plea to the producers to get their act back together and give the audience what they want – – fun, drama, intrigue, comedy – – and, of course, great dancing. Deny us what we want and we will gladly catch “So You Think You Can Dance” instead. It never disappoints.