Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3 Reasons Why I'm Shutting Down DWTS Ringer Talk


We are less than a week away from the Season 18 premiere of Dancing With the Stars and the ringer talk has begun. My Twitter feed exploded with questions after PureDWTS wrote an insightful article about Danica McKellar's past ballroom experience. They took the time to dig up extensive evidence of her training where she looks good out on that dance floor. Danica is also seen in her latest ABC video acting a little naive when it comes to being led around the ballroom.

Remember, we are in Season 18 of the show and even Conrad Green, producer of DWTS, has admitted it's harder to cast the show at this point. So fair or not regarding Danica's very specific ballroom training, I go back to these three reasons why I'm just shutting down the ringer talk.

1. It's Exhausting: We've discussed it ad nauseum some seasons on AfterBuzz TV.  I think we wind up talking circles around the topic and we get nowhere. If you look back at Season 16 and the whole Zendaya debate, the argument reached a fever pitch with everyone taking sides. In the end, Zendaya didn't win.

2. It's a TV show: ABC is trying to deliver an entertaining show each week. They bring on celebrities with many different levels of dance training to draw an audience. Last season, we had a mix of trained dancers like Corbin Bleu, natural movers like Jack Osbourne and Amber Riley and lovable personalities like Bill Engvall in the Final Four. Again, the best-trained dancer did not win.

3. It Comes Down to that Freestyle Dance: When it comes to final votes for the average audience member, they vote on the Freestyle Dance. The best dancer may have worked hard all season and been at the top of the leaderboard most weeks, but if that Freestyle Dance doesn't deliver…they don't go home with the Mirror Ball Trophy.

I know you won't all agree with me on this, so help me see the flip side of the coin. Feel free to comment below. I will respond to all comments here, but I won't be able to respond to comments on Twitter. There are so many of you on Twitter and it's impossible to do without annoying my other followers who aren't DWTS fans. As always, please be respectful of others and their opinions. Thanks!

26 comments:

  1. All good points! You have more than my total agreement on point #1!!

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  2. Your reasons make perfect sense to me. I will continue to follow your other reporting endeavors. Ross

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    1. Thanks, Ross! Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  3. Glad you read the post. I find her since deleted comment that is linked in the DWTS Pure writeup stating that she had been asked to be on the show but thought she had too much ballroom to be on it interesting. She is flying under the radar and a little disingenuous imo. Have ringers, DWTS, but please be honest about it.

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    1. I totally agree with you on this. Honesty and transparency are good for situations like this. Trying to hide your tracks on the internet about your dance history…hmmmmm…fishy.

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  4. If I have to be honest, the show would be quite boring without ringers here and there. It led to us seeing dances like Corbin's Jazz and Nicole's Jive which will stick in my mind for so many future seasons. Extensive dance experience or not, everyone comes in with a challenge, and really this will be Danica's to overcome. But the show wouldn't be the same without the types of celebrities we get- I'm really happy with Danica's participation this season.

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    1. Ha….you make a great point for ringers and why we do need them. :) It's true, there is a challenge for everyone who participates. It's not an easy show to do week after week…the live element, new choreography, etc. I love that we have Winnie Cooper and DJ Tanner on…the 90s are back!

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  5. I'm still in "wait and see" mode. I love having "ringers" on the show, I want to see good dancing just as much as I want to see people's progress and journey, you need both. Not sure if any other celeb has been on the show before with this much ballroom specific training or not but even her own omission of thinking she wouldn't be asked to do the show is telling.

    I think the main sticking point is honesty about her background so the judges and audience can be fully aware of the "facts" (not sure how many "facts" exist in a reality show but you get my point). Corbin was constantly held to a higher standard last season because of his skill and background, which everyone knew about. Will the judges be as difficult on Danica if they don't know about her background? Will they compare her and Candace who has NO dance experience? All things we have to wait to see until the show airs on Monday. For all we know Danica will announce her experience to the world during her package.

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    1. Hi Danielle! You make a great point. We don't know what her package will reveal about her dance training. If there is honesty, then totally fair. If they hide it….hmmmm.

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  6. I am very far (France) I love the show dancing with the stars I am committed to this program and discussed with all love! really! while its fair to say I do not know what the background prensentes stars on the show I do not know if it's actors, singers, or other I are discovering only with the dance! then the rest is not very serious, it is normal to have all of the different opinions because we all like different teams ... the show must stay for the fun!
    I love your work kristyn and your team we always find the right mood! thank you very much also to involve fans from different countries it's beautiful!
    mwahhhhh kristyn xoxoxo

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    1. Thanks, Vivi! We love having you join us each season. There are a lot of athletes this season, so it should make for an interesting ride. Talk to you soon. :)

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    2. I want to really see skaters with the dancers there is a lot of hard work in the work of a skater's going to be really interesting and it HAS derek and also congratulations
      our henry is also a pro § I love dancing pro but I expect to have a crush seeing how all dancers dance.
      I always hear my hello afterbuzz he put on me the sun in my heart every time xoxoxo thank you for his good season and 18 of course I would be! lool

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  7. Mostly it's about integrity, telling the truth, not trying to hide something. It is, however, at least for me, magnified by certain pros who feel the need to make a point of using their own partner's "lack of any dance experience" as a bludgeon, or injecting a "pick on someone your own size" comment aimed at another team. The hypocrisy of then feigning awkwardness is just a bit galling. Beyond that, the desperation that would lead to that kind of subterfuge is just sad.

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  8. Let's be honest...some of my most favorite routines have been with "ringers." Over the years I've come to realize they are a part of the show and we usually get some memorable dances out of them. Ever since season 2 (Stacy Keibler) there have been ringers so there is nothing new as far as producers asking people with dance experience on the show.

    Kriystn - I agree with each of your points. I think making a pre-emptive strike before the "ringer" debate get's going is great. I'm taking the "wait and see" approach with Danica as well. But truly I really don't care all that much how much of a ringer she is. I get the sense that the producers tell all ringers to down play their dance backgrounds. That's how they dealt with Mario Lopez, Nicole S., Katherine Jenkins, and even Meryl & Charlie this season. I feel like it's a loose/loose situation if you are labeled a "ringer." You admit that you are a ringer and have dance experience and you are crucified i.e. Corbin, Zendaya. You downplay your dance experience and you are crucified that you are downplaying it i.e. Nicole, Katherine Jenkins.

    My issue with the post at pure is their intentions. I can't help but feel that the strategy to label Zendaya as a ringer is being used against Danica. That debate got so nasty that I lost all respect for puredwts. Is Danica a "ringer"? Yes probably since it's clear she's taken lessons at some point. But the FBI level of digging that went into that post makes me wonder about their motives. I was an avid reader at puredwts but it became clear to me who they support and what they do if you are a threat to the person they support.

    I'm also annoyed in general because females labeled as "ringers" get racked over the coals while male "ringers" are not. I can't help but feel that Cody has some level of dance experience probably in the same vein as Zendaya since he's a performer. He also has millions of followers on twitter but I don't get the sense that anyone cares about this ringer.

    As for Danica...I loved Wonder Years and I'm so glad she's on the show. I am also excited to see Candace (love the 90's), Mery & Charlie and Drew. Ringer's or not each of them seem really excited to do the show and are going to have fun with it. I wish fans could do the same.

    Let the glitter party begin!

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    1. Hi Toni! Yes, I am excited to for the DJ Tanner versus Winnie Cooper showdown. I love them both. I wasn't that excited by the entire cast, but it's been growing on me. I think we are going to have some fun this season.

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  9. After 17 season's know one should really be surprised that some of the celebs are going to have some kind of dance in there background. I'm going to keep an open mind with this until I see just how much training she has really had. I find it kind of interesting that this was dug up this early and I hope she does come out honest about it, Last year we didn't find out about the level of training Corbin had until late in the season, which I find interesting as well. In the end how many of the so called ringer's won. For that matter we can say Meryl & Charlie are sort of ringers, as Ice Dancers or any skater we know they all take dance training. But in the end as you have stated, who ever makes it to the finals and has the best freestyle is gonna win anyway, that has been proven time and time again.

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head. Being a "ringer" doesn't get you into the finals. Good dancing will get you high scores and if you are relatively likeable you will get votes to carry you at least the mid point of the season. A combination of the following will carry you along...but by the time you get to the finals it's all about the freestyle.

      1. How well you dance i.e. how well the judges like YOU and the choreography from your pro.
      2. The fanbase of your pro
      3. Your own fanbase
      4. The scores from those crazy judges

      Last season Christina and Elizabeth Berkley did not have all 4 therefore didn't make the finals. For me the ringer debate is pointless because that won't determine who wins the show or get's to the finals. Bill Engvall is proof of that!

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    2. Exactly…let's all keep an open mind and see how ABC presents her training in the first package. I think Monday will be a fun show with all of the new changes. Thanks for your thoughts, Ron.

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  10. Thank you for this mature post. I had wished that conversation about the show would be more respectful this season. The ringer complaints are downright boring and tiresome. Lets just enjoy each persons personal journey. As posters have said, we would probably enjoy the show less if there were no stars with past dancing experience. There is always a surprise and a lot of unpredictable events. Thank you for being so good at what you do. I am a fan of yours.

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    1. Thanks, Maureen! :) The journeys are what make the show. I had so much fun rooting for Bill Engvall last season. Yes, I knew he wasn't going to win, but I didn't care. I can't wait for Monday.

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  11. I only watch the show when they come in and out of commercial breaks.

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  12. I tend to think of the line I use with my students when I handing things out, they are 6-8 year olds BTW, "you get what you get and you don't get upset" or in this case "We get what we get and we don't get upset". Simply for the fact that for every season that there is a "ringer" within the cast it means that DWTS in on our screens for another season and the world is exposed to the brilliance that is DANCE. At the end of the day the show exists to entertain, entertaining routines equals higher viewing numbers which means we get another season of the show! Logically most entertainers have taken some form of dance class at some stage within their career, let alone most 'girls' taking dance lessons as a child!

    I can't wait for the new season to start (both DWTS and AfterBuzz DWTS) as always it will be amazing to hear the words of wisdom coming from the wonderful cast and your guests. Thanks for all your hard work keeping us in the loop on all things DWTS.

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    1. Hi Jane! Can you come teach this lesson to a few DWTS fans? :) We are going to see some great dancing this season and I'm ready to just enjoy it. I am also looking forward to seeing what Amy Purdy brings to the dance floor.

      Thanks for joining us again this season. We are all so excited. See you on Tuesday!!

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    2. I can teach said lesson in April after all I am in LA on the 22nd... As for seeing you on my screen, I will have to wait until Thursday in Aus (your Wednesday) to catch the show as I will be away on an over night excursion (field trip), Luckily I will be home to see DWTS, I'll just have to wait for AfterBuzz. As for joining you I wouldn't miss it!

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