Once upon a time, in an era quaintly known as the “90’s”, scripted sitcoms were all the rage on the four major networks and America’s homes got their T.V. Guides delivered every week. Fast forward 20 years, and reality TV rules every channel on the boob tube! Some reality is blatantly scripted, but there are a few gems that stay true to the notion and rely on talent and skill. One that fits into this genre is Dancing With The Stars which airs on the Disney-owned ABC network. I had the privilege of attending a recent taping and what you see on television holds true up close and personal.
It’s a fast paced, live action extravaganza!
What started years ago as a reawakening for some B to C listers’ careers, has now become a catapult for established entertainers and athletes. The show I attended boasted the talents of Steelers nation fave Heinz Ward (my personal favorite), Disney star Chelsea Kane, 80’s heartthrob Ralph Macchio (ageless wonder!), and funny lady/comeback queen/the extraordinary Kirstie Alley. Each contestant performed 2 dances that they were given less than a week to master. This particular episode featured the “instant dance” in which the contestants had to learn and choreograph a piece on the spot, literally performing their dance later in the same show.Talk about showcasing your skills under pressure.
This is why I love and respect this reality show on the short list of ones I enjoy. PURE TALENT! These entertainers worked hard and mastered their moves. Because it was live, if there was a mistake, it was laid out on the floor, literally. And let’s not forget the judges- Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba- who were engaging both on and off camera with the contestants and audience alike. Their feedback and antics were sure to keep the contestants and the at-home audience on their toes. Top it off with celebrity hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke and mix in a few celebrity audience guests like Joe Jonas (who singed autographs for teen fans at the taping) and Broadway star Kristen Chenoweth, and in-studio commercials breaks feel a bit like a red carpet premiere.
The entire season, as a whole, was one of the most entertaining yet. It felt like there was a contestant for everyone to cheer for whether you were a sports fanatic or someone who uses the phrase “sweep the leg” as your profile status. It’s the hottest ticket in town (tapings are at the CBS lot in Hollywood) and the reason DVR’s are standard in almost every home nationwide. Each season, there is much anticipated hype leading to the announcement of the “cast” that is set to strap on those dancing shoes to vie for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. My predictions are that Heinz Ward takes home the prize on the upcoming finale! The bigger question is…who will be the lucky ones this fall?
I guess we’ll just have to wait with baited breath. While you’re at it, you can go ahead and set your DVR for 2032, when I am set to make my comeback with a Tango that you can later market into a workout DVD. Dancing With Stars is already helping me set up my 401k!