DWTS – What should change, what needs to change, and what will never change...Read on:
Yeah, SWAT and I are on our bandwagons again, and we’re getting all opinionated and preachy, but that’s what happens in the two weeks before the Dancing With the Stars cast is announced – and it happens every single season. We get desperate for blog topics, so we pull them out of thin air. This topic, however, has a surprising amount of substance to it, and we’re going to take a shot at making sense for a change. So here you go – our thoughts on Dancing With the Stars and how it can get better. In other words, what should change, what needs to change, and what will most likely never change.
Lots of things should change, and those changes should start with the casting (give us some names we recognize), the uneven distribution of talented celebrities (they seem to go to the same pros each season), and the wildly inconsistent scoring (no explanation needed). In addition, things need to change – the favoritism, the favoritism, and the favoritism, and of course, most things will probably never change because it is precisely the things that should and need to change that create controversy and talk. Therefore, that translates supposedly into ratings, which must explain last season's abysmal drop in viewing interest. Controversy isn't always good, but we will never be able to convince the powers that be of that. Thus, they (being ABC) most likely won’t change, but we can dream big, can’t we? To make DWTS a perfect show? Do the following.
Spread around the ringers – In our own little version of a perfect world, those ringers (the ones who have the dance experience) would be evenly distributed. Sometimes that experience is disguised and denied, as in “Oh, I have no dance experience. I only danced in 74 films in my historic career," or “Oh, I only had 13 years of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and Broadway dance…” Not that we’re complaining. We used to hate the idea of ringers but it seems like a DWTS prerequisite so why not? Let’s just make sure the ringers in Season 16 go to Tristan, Chelsie, and Anna. Then the show will get interesting.
We love football, we really do… - We love the sport (we’re talking the American version here, not the one they play in Ireland). We love the football players who have been on DWTS (most of them, anyway), but honestly as much as we love ‘em, the ridiculous built-in fan base makes it almost impossible for the show to be fair. We don’t think Emmitt Smith or Donald Driver or Hines Ward were the best dancers in their respective seasons (although they should have won for pure personality and charm), yet there was no way to overcome that kind of voting power. That means that 20% of the DWTS winners have been football players. In second place? Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor, and Warren Sapp. We loved all these of these guys too, but it wasn't their dancing that won us over. It was that they were all just so darned adorable, but , adorable isn't why we watch. Thus. we think it's time for change. Give us a retired baseball player, a soccer player not named Hope, or a retired male tennis pro. There are so many options out there, DWTS. Take advantage of these options and pull back on the football. Another figure skater would be great, an ice dancer would be better, as long as the ice dancers go to Tristan, Chelsie, and Anna (although Cheryl could probably make things interesting too).
Pros get tired too – Sometimes change is good and in the case of many of the pros, they need a short break. Some of them need a long break. Even one season would do a world of good. Shake things up, bring some new energy and passion, and kick some professional ass, in a manner of speaking. The choreography sometimes seems as though it is new and fresh but upon a second look, it’s the same old stuff to different music. We want to see Tristan get a chance to shine, we want to see Sasha have a partner who matches his energy and passion. We want to see Oksana have a chance to let America really see her skill. Emma has a wealth of knowledge just dying to be shared. Henry has all that choreography just waiting to be unlocked, and Sharna and eventually Sonny could bring the competition to a new level. Bring Damian back – he has never had a chance to showcase his amazing talent, and he is our number one favorite pro next to Tristan. Dmitry deserves to come back. While huge fan favorites, what’s wrong with letting Derek, Mark, Tony, and Maks take a breather. Who knows? The ratings will go through the roof when Sasha Farber backflips his way into the hearts of America or when Emma Slater shows us the true meaning of “fierce.” Let them shine, DWTS, and let Tristan shine by giving him a chance this time around.
Don’t ever, ever, ever come up with these idiotic theme dances again – No offense, ABC, but the only themed dance that even came close to making any sense at all was the Big Top Jazz and that stretched the limits. These dances were supposed to be a challenge? Mission accomplished. These dances challenged us to keep from drinking too much in order to dull the pain, and one of us doesn’t drink a drop. We have nightmares about the following being on the Season 16 agenda: the Mad Men Viennese Waltz, the Medieval Times Salsa/Lambada/Square Dance Fusion, a Waltz/Country Two Step to the music of Vanilla Ice, and the always enticing Viking Disco to a Donna Summer and Dolly Parton Medley. The bottom line is that we do not want to go there again.
A dress code might be a good idea – Ever since the Peta/Gilles diaper-wearing mess in the Gangnam Style dance, we still shiver with the side effects – and we’re not shivering in a good way. That was just wrong. A whole lot of wrong. Diapers/towels combined with black dance shoes are just hideous on a lot of levels. We always had Edyta at the top of our “least clothing worn on DWTS” list but Peta has leap-frogged over her. A deep breath probably would have caused a big old “oops” moment that we don’t wish to think about. Peta isn’t the only one; there were several times that we thought Sabrina might have a wardrobe issue, and more than once, Cheryl’s girls have threatened to make an appearance.
Ban yellow and feathers from costumes – And yes, we chose yellow to highlight our points for a reason; hopefully you will see how annoying it can be. We also request that yellow and feathers be banned from DWTS costumes. We have our reasons. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs, you’ll get this immediately, but honestly, the blinding yellow Salsa/Samba costumes not only make our eyes bleed but the feathers drift east from L.A. to the extent that we have permanent damage to our respiratory systems. Now don’t be mean and suggest that it’s the dust bunnies in our houses that accumulate because we spend too much time on here and not enough time dusting. That might have a bit of truth to it, but it’s the suspicious yellow feathers and remnants of yellow fabric that blew east that have messed us up – not the dust elephants. Er, bunnies.
No more reality show people, please – They aren’t celebrities. Bottom line. Ever since Jake scooted across the floor in his tighty whities, we (after temporary blindness) begged ABC to never allow that again. You want reality show celebrities? We’ll create our own online show, call it television, and be on DWTS next season as “those charming MacManiacs from 'It ain’t real tv but we’re married (not to each other) so we can’t be on The Bachelor, we hate bugs and snakes so we can’t be on Survivor, and we are both dynamic dancers in our fantasy life, so we qualify as ringers.' " Enough said.
No more “who the heck is he/she?” people, please – By definition, a celebrity is “a famous person.” If we have to google them and still can’t find much other than an undocumented Wikipedia report, then they shouldn’t be on the show. If you google either of us you will find nothing…so apparently we should qualify based on DWTS standards, and nobody wants to see either of us shaking anything on national television. Trust us on that.
Give Tristan a ringer – Did we mention that already? Well, let’s just say he has paid his dues. The average age of his celebrity partners has been 50 something, and while we loved Nancy, Gladys, and Pamela, it’s time for Tristan to finally get a chance to show his amazing talent with a young, athletic, talented, gorgeous ringer who can create chemistry and magic with Tristan. That’s not asking for much, is it?
Any Latin heartthrob or any other heartthrob should not go to Cheryl - Ms. Anna T is the one who should be burning up the dance floor with the celebrity version of Sex on a Stick, and we’re not even going to argue the point. Anna gets the sexy dude. It’s what’s right.
Allow us (SWAT and Shakes) to cast the show and then allow us to be part of the judging panel – Well, why not? We’re as logical and consistent as the current judges and probably more so. We know what we like, we know what we don’t like, and we know what the MacManiacs like and that makes up a nice part of the voting population. We should get what we want. Yeah, we sound like we’re two years old, but we want Tristan to win so we’re getting a little whiny.
If you break the rules, you pay the price – In other words, you choreograph a non-quickstep Quickstep, leave out basic Foxtrot elements, or make your Paso Doble look like a Cha Cha just because you want to, you should get nuttin’ but big fat zeros. There’s creative license and there is just “in your face I don’t wanna because I’m an arteeeest." We ain’t buyin’ it.
Mix up the running order – We get ratings; we also get that going first might potentially be of interest just as going last. Going at the top of the hour can mean more viewing just as going at the end. Here’s the problem with all that logic. The majority of the viewing audience doesn’t know who is going first, second, third, or last before the show and so what if I tune it at 8 or at 9:50? I don’t want to see the same people in the same spots every week. Mix it up. Make it fair. We don’t need to see Maks and then Val or Val followed by Maks every week. The same celebrities benefit while others suffer. Case in point – In Season 12, Kirstie Alley went last in 3 of 8 weeks prior to the semi-finals; she went next to last once, and her team in the team dance went last another week. In the first nine weeks of Season 15, Emmitt and Cheryl went last three times, Peta and Gilles twice, and Val and Kelly twice. Those odds seem off to us How many times have Tristan and his celebrity partner gotten the benefit of going last? Not once. Apolo and Karina last season? Zero. That’s just not right. They call it the pimp spot for a reason, and everybody should have a shot at it.
So what is going to change? Probably nothing but we can hope it does. Count on us to continue to complain about a whole lot. It's just how we roll.