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Putting a Non-Star on Dancing with the Stars

In the many years since I first created Pure DWTS, there is one message I get on the Pure DWTS “Contact Us” form (Note: Many people confuse us as the show or the producers of the show even though it clearly states that we’re not either and have no affiliation with the show) than any other. That message is that some “normal” person (That’s the term they usually use, not me) would like to be on the show even though they’re not a star. It often is stated as a groundbreaking idea and includes some story of why being able to be on the show would be an extraordinary thing for that person.

Here’s a sample of one from Mandi that she said I could share. It illustrates how passionate and excited people are just thinking about what it would be like to be a contestant on DWTS.

Hi my name is Mandi I am from Louisiana. I am a huge fan of the show and the thought of sending this is the most terrifying and exciting thing I’ve ever done, I know I am taking a HUGE shot in the dark and no one will probably ever read this but here goes. I am a person who never takes chances because of fear, but not today, today I’ll be brave and take a chance! I have watched the show over the years and I’ve noticed over the past couple of seasons that DWTS has taken some amazing chances in putting people on the show that may not be your typical dancer or “star” for that matter and turning them into amazing dancers while helping them grow as people. I am not a star by any means, most of my days are spent in carpool and running around after my two rambunctious boys 😉 I figure that if your pros can teach an army veteran with one arm and leg to dance or a completely deaf person can win the mirror ball or even a little person who has the cards stacked against her to succeed in this kind of competition then they can certainly teach a regular ordinary stay at home mom to dance.

August 2016 was a month I’ll never forget! As I stood in my living room with the water rising in my home I felt like I was in a dream, everything my husband worked so hard to give us was about to be destroyed and there wasn’t anything he or I could do about it. We climbed out of my youngest son’s bedroom window into our fishing boat and drove around our neighborhood in total shock, we couldn’t believe what was happening it was all too much! If I have learned anything through this it’s that my life can change in a second! Don’t waste time! So this is my step of faith, I want to be on dancing with the stars to prove that anyone can overcome whatever is happening in theirs lives and to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to! It’s so easy to get lost in life, feeling like “just a mom” or “just a wife” especially being a stay at home mom like me and not getting that gratification from your job or the social interaction with someone other than a 5 year old 🙂 Like I said before I don’t even know if anyone will read this but had to try!

Louisiana Strong!!

(Note: I love that Mandi took this risk even if it was to us and not the producers of the show. I hope she keeps taking risks.)

Why This Is A Longshot
Let’s all be honest. Most of us “normal” people would love to be on the show. How incredible would it be to have an opportunity to learn from all of the incredible pros on the show? For most people in the world, it would be the experience of a lifetime. I also think it’s unlikely to happen and that’s too bad.

I say that it’s unlikely because it would cause some serious challenges for the producers of the show. First, the show is literally called Dancing with the Stars. If they bring someone who isn’t a star, then it kind of goes against the whole premise of the show.

Plus, would anyone be surprised if some of the stars that are selected for the show might be upset if the cast wasn’t full of stars? I could see some of the arrogant ones getting really pissed if a show called Dancing with the Stars included a contestant that wasn’t a star. As if some of these B, C, D … list stars are really a huge draw for the show themselves, but I digress. I could see some stars egos having a problem with a non-star being on the show. That’s not something the producers likely want to deal when casting the show.

I think the show also benefits from many of the stars bringing their fan base to the show which can help ratings. Of course, a normal person wouldn’t bring a fan base that would do anything for ratings. Although, it would be quite a story that many media outlets would want to cover if the show to put a normal person in the cast.

How It Could Work
While I think it’s unlikely that they’ll put a regular person on DWTS, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t do it. I don’t think you’d want to do it every season, but to do it for one season could be a tremendous boost for the show. So many people would be interested in how this regular person did on the show.

We already saw this once. Alek Skarlatos was about as non-star as you can find. Notice that I didn’t call him a regular person. He’s an extraordinary person, but before the show very few people knew him. They knew of his act of heroism, but they really didn’t know him. It’s not like he brought a big fan base to the show. The analogy isn’t perfect since so many people in the US are fans of the military and heroism. However, Alek is the closest to a “normal” person being on the show that they’ve come and he did tremendously well.

I think if DWTS did want to include a normal person, they’d just need to create a process where the person who gets selected to do the show essentially becomes a star in the process. It’s a pretty amazing concept if you think about it. If you create some sort of contest and exposure for the people in the running to be on the show, you could access the stories of millions of ordinary people and out of that contest could create a star. At least as much of a star as Alek or any of The Bachelors.

Can’t you just see the 10 finalists on GMA telling their story of why they want to be on DWTS? It could get really cheesy if they’re not careful, but it could also be incredible TV with everyday heroes like Mandi above who spends her days in carpool and raising 2 kids.

One of the amazing things that reality TV like Survivor, Amazing Race, and even shows like America’s Got Talent, American Idol, etc have tapped into is that those watching at home can sit back and dream about being on the show themselves. There’s an incredible power in that which makes watching the show even better for the viewer. Having a regular person on DWTS would do the same for the show.

Like I said, I’ll be surprised if the show actually did this, but I also think it would be a great thing if they did. Can you imagine how many people would apply to be on the show if they opened one slot up for a non-star? I know a blogger that would be interested. I won’t even be picky about which pro I get, but if they want feedback I think Edyta or Emma would be best for me 😉

Until then, at least I now can point people to this post when they send me their “great idea” of having a regular person be on DWTS.

November 23, 2016 I Written By

Better known as Charlie.

Karina Smirnoff On Controversial Dancing With The Stars Casting And More

Did you know Dancing With The Stars’ Karina Smirnoff started her career in figure skating, ballet, and then gymnastics? It wasn’t until later Karina started ballroom dancing. Karina talks all about it and how ballroom dancing is “the perfect combination of art, sports and showbiz.” Karina also talks about Dancing With The Stars and the criticism behind casting the celebrities, her past partners, and more. Here is a snippet from the interview. Is her answer to the first question below true or false? I’d say true, but, I still wish they’d get a few more A-listers. I still have loved this show regardless and I always end up liking people I have never heard of and/or thought I wouldn’t like.

The most recent season of “Dancing with the Stars” was criticized for a celeb cast that didn’t engage the public the way that past casts have. Here’s Smirnoff’s take:
“There is an element to that I can agree with, but we always have some sort of controversy. If the public likes the cast and everything’s happy about that, then the controversy’s, well, is it fair that he or she is a different type of dancer (meaning non-ballroom dancer)? … There’s always something, in a way, to complain about. Which is good – as long as we discuss the show, it keeps it relevant and going. But I feel like we do a great job because we have characters from a different area of the industry every single time. We have the reality star, we have the war hero, we have the athlete. There is one for every taste, which is one of the reasons why the show is so successful, because it pulls in so many different demographics.”

The relationships don’t necessarily end after the show wraps:
“I’m good friends with most of my partners. I’m probably best friends and the closest friend with my season 12 partner, Ralph Macchio. He is a dear friend, and his family is unbelievable. We rang into the New Year together. We try to see each other as much as we can. Some people do become part of your life after that experience. You get to see each other at your worst, at your best, at your strongest, at your most vulnerable. So you really grow together as a team. After 10 hours a day for three-and-a-half months, you get tired of that person, you can’t wait to have an opportunity to miss them. But, at the same time, you grow so close together.”

You can read the full interview at The Day. Note how Karina and Season 13 partner, J.R. Martinez will be dancing at the Mohegan Sun this upcoming Sunday. For information on how you can attend, see the Mohegan Sun.

January 19, 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. To view my photography site, see Lisa Kay Photography.