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.