Diatribe: Is “Dancing With The Stars” Still About Dancing?
I’ve always said that I watch entirely too much television. But I stopped watching ABC’s Dancing With the Stars many years ago. I think Season Two, when Drew Lachey and Cheryl Burke were the winners, was the last time I watched regularly. Many of the personalities associated with the show, including its host, Tom Bergeron, the three judges (Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli) and several of the dancers have been featured in every episode and, consequently, have become more famous than many of the “stars” who actually dance.
The internet was buzzing yesterday afternoon and, while the show has not officially revealed the cast for the upcoming season, it appears that a few secrets are out. Rumor has it that former American Idol contestant, Kelli Pickler, country superstar Wynonna Judd, Bachelor star Sean Lowe and 2012 Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman will be among this year’s cast.
Possibly more important to the show’s loyal fans will be the departure of long-time professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who has been on the show since Season 2 (2006), without a win to his record. While he never won the prized Mirror Ball Trophy Chmerkosvkiy, 33, did come in second on two seasons … Season 5 with partner Mel B and Season 12 with partner Kirstie Alley. Apparently, it is his hope to stay in the entertainment world as he is currently pursuing movie and television projects.
At least one additional regular dancing pro, Chelsie Hightower (Seasons 8-12, 14-15), will not be returning. Hightower, who has been partnered with celebrities like Michael Bolton, Romeo and Jake Pavelka, has alleged that she is no longer welcome in the ballroom … at least for now … and has been cut from the show’s upcoming season.
It appears that, once again, the drama swirling around the participants, the definition of “star”, the secret casting decisions, the publicity surrounding an individual’s decision to participate or not participate (i.e. Lance Armstrong and Lindsey Lohan), the bickering judges and the possibility of injuries will all take center stage while the actual dancing becomes almost an afterthought. After all, the gossip rags never feature headlines shouting DID YOU SEE THAT SAMBA?! or MOST DRAMATIC PASO DOUBLE EVER!
The official cast of Season 16 is scheduled to be announced, live, tomorrow on Good Morning America. Will you be watching? I won’t.
UPDATE 02/26/13: Cast for Season 16 announced.
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