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Casting: How Far Will Dancing With The Stars Go For Ratings And Popularity? (Rant Post)

Edyta Sliwinska has written a new blog at Dancing Pros about the producers pairing celebrities with the pros on Dancing With The Stars. In her new blog, she examines “who puts these couples together, how does it happen and, is it fair?” Let’s just say matching dancers and celebrities based on age, look, height or personality isn’t always how producers pair the couples up. Creating the right demographic for buzz, controversy, drama, and purchasing power is more the case. Are you surprised? Below is a take….

So let’s abandon this nonsense notion that the producers try to match dancers and celebrities based on age, look, height or personality. I could give many more examples to prove my point: Cheryl Burke and Chad Ochocinco (huge height difference), Karina Smirnoff and Steve Wozniak (this time the producers went for the ‘Beauty and the Geek’ theme), Derek Hough and Jennifer Grey ( born over 25 years apart). And really, if once in a while a couple happens to be a perfect match, I would claim that it simply happened by chance. The real motivation of the matchmakers from hell at DWTS is to create controversy and buzz. And therefore Cheryl was paired up with Chad and Karina Smirnoff with Mario Lopez, because the prediction was that these attractive and single people, paired up together would certainly generate rumors about their romantic involvement. And they did. However, publicity-hungry producers, at the same time created some great partnerships. My personal opinion is that not many couples could match the amazing chemistry that Mario and Karina showcased on the dance floor in season 2. You might also guess that egotistical Max Chmerkovskiy is not coincidently paired up with some of the strongest women that had appeared on the show. Leila Ali, Misty May-Tranor, Hope Solo and Erin Andrews succeeded in professions dominated by men. Mel B, Debi Mazar and Kirstie Alley are known for their feisty personalities. Pair up a woman who knows how to stand up for herself with an arrogant Russian dancer and you will get a recipe for a drama.

Getting a right demographic of the audience has been a long time struggle for the producers of DWTS. Please don’t get offended if you are 49 or older, but the most desired viewers age, the one that advertisers are willing to pay big bucks for, is between 18 and 49. These are the ages of people believed to have the most purchasing power. Personally I think its nonsense. Most people over 50 that I know spend and have more money then people my age. But I’m not here to convince you about the defectiveness of TV executive’s thinking. It’s a simple fact: major TV networks do everything to attract younger audiences. Does it surprise you then that younger pros usually get better celebrities? When Cheryl Burke won DWTS twice in a row she was at the time the youngest dancer on the show. Later, even younger Julianne Hough, Mark Ballas and Derek Hough replaced her on the podium.

Luckily for the audience the producers can’t predict everything. Some couples who were favored to win were voted off someway along the way, like Mark Ballas and Sabrina Bryan. Others, who no one expected to do well, made it to the finals or even won like Alec Mazo and Kelly Monaco in season 1. This tiny bit of unpredictability might be the reason why you still watch the show with a trill.

Be sure to read Edyta’s new blog in full at Dancing Pros.

I have to say I am not surprised by a lot of what she writes. I love this show and I will continue to watch and be a major fan, but, sometimes, I have to wonder about the heart behind the scenes? Also, I would suffice it to say that Maks is a guaranteed ‘shoe in’ to be on this show for as long as he wants (not that I mind that as long as he doesn’t cross the line like last season).

Heidi’s Note: Edyta complains that the producers are after a big audience and as much fireworks as possible???  Can I get a resounding DUH!!!! Please? Gee, that’s why TV shows exist.  Anyone who thinks their only goal is to entertain or be “fair” is naive in the extreme.

A) NONE Of this is a surprise, but; B) Edyta doesn’t know jack about how they cast the show.  She was one of the dancers, not one of the producers.  She’s hypothesizing like everyone else, but she’s got an actual ax to grind (from the sound of it) since she’s never won the show.  Her explanation for Derek, Mark and Julianne winning?? They get preferential pairings because they were younger. She clearly hasn’t seen a complete listing of Maks’ partners (or Derek’s, Mark’s or Julianne’s for that matter). Of course, she implies that Maks’ partnerships are designed to create fireworks – that doesn’t mean they aren’t good dancers or ringers.  At the end of the day, Edyta’s opinion is no more valid or “true” than Maks’ is when he said that “Derek always gets great partners” or when DEREK does one of his usual PC song and dances.  The truth is likely somewhere in the middle.   I think she’s right about some things, bitter about others. Just like everyone else.

I would also argue that the female celebs are easier to match with male pros than vice versa – the female celebs are more likely to be shorter or similar in heights, and they are more likely to have previous dance or performing experience. The producers can tinker more with matching personalities, age groups, whatever. With male celebs you are more likely to have a huge variation in height and are therefore limited in pairings….as for age not playing a part?? I bet it does…but Edyta never even considers the fact that some celebrities have the clout to request a particular professional. People have requested Derek, Mark and Maks (and probably Edyta herself, along with Cheryl and Julianne, etc)….and they’ve gotten them.  When you have a couple celebs in a season making requests and getting them, that really narrows down who the remaining ones can be paired with.

Of course she’s right about them wanting ratings and the various ways they will go about getting those ratings…they’re in business.  But I think she over simplifies and makes the easy argument without considering all the angles.  Just like many fans of the show.

January 12, 2012 I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

Dancing With The Stars Karina Smirnoff Upcoming Dancing And Teaching Events

Golden Door, North America’s premier destination spa, is offering a special Dance Week in the secluded rolling hills of Northern San Diego, California. Karina Smirnoff will be teaching a series of exclusive dance classes for guests from Feb. 8th-10th. Karina will also talk about her inspirational journey and be available for photos during a special evening presentation. Below is more from Luxury Travel Magazine.

“I have been a fan of Golden Door for years and I couldn’t be more excited to do my DanceFIT program here! We’re going to dance, get in shape and have a ton of fun! It’s a perfect FIT for the start of 2012!” says Karina. Beyond being an incredible teacher and world champion, Karina is dedicated to helping people lead healthier lives, and will be sharing her exclusive DanceFIT program and dance moves, designed for all fitness levels (private sessions offered as well for an extra fee). In addition, a variety of other dance classes will be offered by our skillful staff.

As a form of self-expression and communication, dancing is a powerful emotional and spiritual outlet. As exercise, it provides all the essential components of a complete aerobic workout, improving endurance, balance, strength, flexibility and core stability.

For information on how you can attend this fun event (and see a cute picture of Karina), visit Luxury Travel Magazine.

If this special dance week with Karina isn’t to your liking and/or fits into your schedule, how about a cruise with “Cruising With The Stars“. Karina will be in attendance to teach and dance on this special dancing and sailing getaway. The ship takes off June 3rd from Los Angeles and travels to the Mexican Riviera. Sounds fun. For ticket information, visit this link.

I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.

DWTS Louis Van Amstel ‘Taking Ballroom Dancing To The Next Step’

This past week, Dancing With The Stars pro, Louis Van Amstel, went to Charlotte, North Carolina to give some private dance lessons and to promote his dance fitness business “LaBlast”. Tony Prado of Queen City Ballroom in Charlotte says Ballroom Dancing is the new alternative to fighting crowded gyms to stay in shape for the new year …especially “after seeing celebrities transform their bodies on the hit ABC show “Dancing with the Stars.” Below is Louis’ take on it from WSOCTV.

“Because that is what “Dancing with the Stars” is about,” said Van Amstel. “No dance experience, and how fast can you change someone’s life; how inspiring can you be.”

Van Amstel has taken ballroom dancing to the next step. He’s modified the traditional dances like rumba, cha cha and disco a high-energy, low-impact workout program.

“La Blast” is really a work out in disguise,” said Van Amstel. “Because you dance to your favorite music, you learn all these dances, and yet, you’re losing all that weight.”

Prado said whether you’re looking to lose weight, or you just want to learn how to dance, the best part is, anyone can start dancing. “It’s definitely for all ages. Our youngest dancer is four years old and our oldest dancer is 94.”

I’d sure like to see that 94 year old swinging those hips. I agree how dancing is for all ages!!

You can read the full story at WSOCTV as well seeing a new video of Louis talking about it.

I Written By

I'm a fashion and music fan....and I have always loved dancing too of any kind. Dancing With The Stars seems to have this way of bringing all of those things together. One of my favorite dancing quotes at the moment: "No matter what, nobody can take away the dance you've already had...." ~Gleb Savchenko . For fun music and dance mixes, visit WilUnleashed Soundcloud.