Friday, December 3, 2010

Dancing with the . . . . stars?

Open Letter to ABC:

Politicians and their families are not stars.

People who appear on reality shows are not stars.

It's even questionable if long retired astronauts are stars.

I've been a faithful viewer of Dancing With The Stars since the beginning, but season 11's publicity stunt featuring the Palins to create buzz and viewers was so low that I may never be back to watch the show again. And what do I read this morning? That ABC is now courting Todd Palin to be on the show. Enough is enough! There are enough Stars (not merely celebrities or those who are famous just for being famous) who really would like to participate on the show.

What used to be an entertaining dance competition in spite of its incompetent and always annoying host, Tom Bergeron, has turned into a caricature of itself, resembling nothing short of a sketch on Saturday Night Live. The show was solid when it focused on competition regarding traditional ballroom dancing. ABC has messed with the formula each season, adding such superfluous fluff as the "instant dance."

The program's treatment of the more senior contestants has been downright disrespectful - for example, Cloris Leachman, a once brilliant actress who was forced to go for the laugh rather than go for the dance and poor Buzz Aldrin, whose performance became even more painful to watch each week he remained on the show. Can't you allow these people to have an ounce of dignity left at this stage in their lives?

I can't say that I blame Michael Bolton for lashing out as well as not returning for the finale of season 11. The man never should have gone along with that ridiculous "dog house" bit. It was demeaning and ridiculous.

Season 11 convinced me that the voting system is rigged, allowing people who are not even viewers of the program to cast votes for someone who, with a different mother and different last name, would never have made it beyond the third week of competition. You can't tell me that ABC wasn't thrilled over all of the controversy and online buzz surrounding this season. Ratings. It's all about ratings rather than producing an entertaining variety program.

I also get quite annoyed with a few of the professional dancers who prefer to show off their own skills rather than doing the best with what their celebrity partner has to offer (Maks, Karina, I'm talking about you). On the other hand, we have the always professional Derek Hough and Tony Dovolani who always choreograph dances that make their partners look good without being self indulgent. These two men get what the show is about.

ABC, you are dancing on a very thin tightrope in my book. One viewer isn't going to make you or break you, but it's becoming increasingly unlikely that I'll be around for season 12.


  1. Are you sending this? I've only seen about half of the shows, so maybe don't feel as strongly as you. I couldn't watch Cloris Leachman, and lost a lot of respect for her. This type of show showcases their personalities, unscripted, and sometimes it's a downfall for them.

  2. Barb - no I'm not sending it. I don't think the big corporations listen to the little guy. Just had to get some things off my chest. :-) The season when Cloris was on - like you, I had to skip a few episodes until after she was voted off. It was just too painful to watch.