Why Do DWTS?

Season after season, celeb after celeb, it’s always interesting to see what kind of mixed bag each cast turns out to be.  Athletes, actors, comedians, models…it’s the variety of stars the show pulls in that makes things really interesting!

 But, as amazing an opportunity as the show might be for the celebs, with certain individuals, we have to kinda wonder what exactly their motivations were to do the show…are they really there for the opportunity, or is it something else entirely?

 So it got me thinking…what might be some other reasons certain stars do the show, besides “just for fun”? Read on…

 Reason #1: They’re broke.

I’m sure they’d never say it publicly, but over time it’s become a bit obvious that certain celebs probably do the show to offset some cashflow problems they’ve encountered as of late.  I can’t fault them – the $200K base pay for doing the show is nothing to sneeze at, and the possibility of getting another $100K on top of that if they win is just icing on the cake – especially if you’re like season 9’s Aaron Carter, who owed over a million bucks in backed taxes.  No wonder the kid was crying after a mediocre rumba – he couldn’t afford to get sent home! Or maybe you’re season 10’s Kate Gosselin, who claimed that she was “just trying to support her family” by doing the show (although I don’t think she was motivated entirely by the money – there was some definitely attention whoring going on there).  It’s also likely the primary reason that Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member Terese Giudice is trying so hard to get on the show – she & her husband filed for bankruptcy last year after racking up over $11 million worth of debt.  Granted, the pay from doing the show probably is probably a small fraction of what these stars are used to pulling in, but it’s still more than enough for we common folk to live quite comfortably off of for a year or two…beggars can’t be choosers ;-)

 Reason #2: They’re doing reputation damage control.

Another less-than-savory motivation for doing the show, it’s a good idea nonetheless – what better way to distract from a recent brush with the law or sex tape scandal than to show America how charming and talented you can be on DWTS? Take Lil Kim – she was fresh out of a year-long stint in prison for perjury.  And she became one of the most popular contestants on season 8! She even took it a step further and managed to speak freely about her incarceration and even poke fun at it.  Season 4’s Heather Mills was likely trying to undo some the damage done during her long, messy divorce from Paul McCartney, which seemed to give her a rather nasty reputation as a vindictive gold digger. Or there was Mel B., who had just had a baby out of wedlock with Eddie Murphy.  And of course, Kim Kardashian was still trying to live down her famous sex tape with Ray-J.  Did the show help erase these indiscretions? Eh, some better than others.  But if nothing else, it gave America something else to remember them by.

 Reason #3: They’re trying to breathe life into a dead career/jump start a new career.

You know those celebs whose names you have to google at first because you have absolutely no clue who they are? They likely fall into this category: they’ve either been inactive for so long that you can’t remember them (or maybe they weren’t that famous in the first place), or they’re so new on the scene that you’ve never heard of them.  Be honest: how many of you actually remembered who John O’Hurley was, without having to google him? Aside from his role as J. Peterman on Seinfeld, he really hadn’t done anything else prior to DWTS – but after the show? His career blew up.  Suddenly he was being offered hosting positions, roles in musicals, voice acting opportunities – all because he did some dancing show that ended up being a hit.  Ted McGinley, another actor with a waning career, tried to do the same on season 7 – albeit unsuccessfully.  On the other hand, those with new careers might be inclined to do the show just to get some exposure…take Gilles Marini.  Most people didn’t know his name, but they sure knew his face-er, body: he was just the “hot naked guy” in the Sex in the City movie.  After a wildly successful run on DWTS, though, he was suddenly popping up everywhere – Brothers & Sisters, Nip/Tuck, Ugly Betty, Criminal Minds, you name it! Proof that if you play your cards right while on the show, the payoff will be far greater than just the money you make for doing it ;-)

 Reason #4: They’re generating publicity for their next big project.

Ok, so maybe they’re still famous, but they’ve been in the background for a bit and are getting ready for a “comeback” of sorts – maybe a new album, movie, TV show, etc.  Getting their name out there by doing DWTS is almost a sort of “primer” – it gets their names on the lips of the American public again, so that when their latest labor of love drops, it’s just that much more well-received.  Ever wonder why Macy Gray was on season 9? Well, judging from her completely apathetic attitude, I think we can all agree it wasn’t because she really wanted to learn to dance (hehe).  However, she did have a new album due to come out not long after season 9 wrapped.  Coincidence? Doubt it – sounds like some smart legwork by a savvy publicist.  Louie Vito was only months away from competing in the winter Olympics (his first appearance there) when he did DWTS…probably didn’t hurt getting his name out there early, to help separate him from the hoards of other famous snowboarders.  Even Nicole probably did DWTS to generate some hype for the upcoming PCD album (and new lineup).  Again, it’s a savvy move – with DWTS’ ratings reigning supreme, the contestants become household names, which helps generate interest when they do other projects after the show.

 Reason #5: They’ve got a score to settle.

Sometimes, it’s just all about sticking it to a former rival/family member/group member/etc…a sort of “bet I can make it farther than you can!” challenge.  Almost all of the NFL stars that have done the show have had a sort of friendly rivalry with other former players that had done the show previously…the most well-known of these probably being the Jerry Rice vs. Michael Irvin challenge, which culminated in a face-off during the season 9 finale.  Warren Sapp also sparred with ESPN commentator (and early season 2 castoff) Kenny Mayne on Sports Center.  Joey Fatone also issued a challenge to fellow NSYNC group member Lance Bass to do better than he did – considering his reputation as the “worst dancer in NSYNC”, I think Lance finishing 3rd (to Joey’s 2nd) was pretty admirable! And then there’s the family rivalries – Marie Osmond vs. Donny Osmond, George Hamilton vs. Ashley Hamilton, and Lisa Rinna vs. Harry Hamlin.  Nothing like a little sibling/father-son/husband-wife competition to strengthen familial bonds ;-) Aside from the friendly challenge of sticking it to a family member, there’s also the added security of getting advice from someone close who’s done the show before. 

 So what do you guys think? Know of any other motivations some of the celebs might have to do the show, besides “just for fun”?