- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 21 September 2016
- Written by MARIE SOLDO | STAFF WRITER
The 23rd season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, which premiered on Monday September 12, began with new celebrities, elaborate dances and a little bit of chaos. The four judges, Julianne Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli, give their advice and critiques as 13 celebrities and 13 professional dancers compete to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Celebrities and their partners must dance 10 of the different ballroom style dances, which includes the salsa, Argentine tango, Viennese waltz, samba, paso doble, rumba, foxtrot, jive, cha-cha and quickstep. While the judge’s input is important, the fate of the celebrities ultimately lies in the hands of fans that vote through text messages. Each week, a celebrity is eliminated. The judges are there solely to give the celebrities constructive criticism so that they can improve and hopefully make it to the end of the competition.
On this season of Dancing with the Stars, there is a wide range of competitors, from country singers and actresses to Olympic medalists and politicians. Prior to seeing the season premiere, I was familiar with a few of the competitors. There is 60-year-old Maureen McCormick, formerly known as Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch. After McCormick’s waltz to Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel,” she was surprised when her on-screen mother, Florence Henderson, paid her a visit - it was a very heartfelt moment amidst all the chaos.
Next, there is 32-year-old female country artist and actress Jana Kramer, known for her singles “Why Ya Wanna” and “I Got the Boy.” The last competitor I knew of was 32-year-old Ryan Lochte, the reason for all the chaos. The twelve-time Olympic medalist, over-exaggerated about an altercation that happened in Rio while he was intoxicated and claimed that he and three others were robbed at gunpoint and therefore filed a false police report. As a result of his actions, he has been suspended for 10 months and cannot participate in the world championship meet which will be held in Budapest next July.
Right as Lochte and professional partner, Cheryl Burke, were about to get their critiques, two protestors in anti-Lochte t-shirts took over the dance floor; the two men were Barzeen Soroudi and Sam Sotoodem. It was the first instinct of many that they were armed, but fortunately they were not and no one was in danger. Soroudi and Sotoodem were protesting the fact that Lochte was able to participate in the competition after lying. Security quickly responded to the misconduct; the two were pinned down and then escorted out of the studio. Following the incident, ABC news reporter Jason Nathonson tweeted a photo of the two handcuffed with the caption, “Cuffed for rushing the stage at #DWTS during @ryanlochte’s dance.” Soroudi and Sotoodem earned themselves charges for trespassing. I was probably just as shocked as the dancers and audience were that night. Even though nothing too serious happened, I never expected to see something like that happening on Dancing with the Stars!
The rest of the DWTS celebrity cast for this season are Marilu Henner, James Hinchcliffe, Calvin Johnson Jr., Amber Rose, Jake T. Austin, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Laurie Hernandez, Rick Perry, Terra Jolé and Vanilla Ice. The professionals, who have dreamed of dancing professionally since they were young, come from Australia, Russia and the Ukraine. In previous seasons, there were also dancers from Poland, New Zealand, South Africa and Prishtina. It is common that most of the professionals are from other countries. However, in this season, a majority of them are from right here in the United States. The American dancers are Derek Hough, Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, Allison Holker, Emma Slater, Witney Carson and Cheryl Burke, who is considered to be the best professional dancer of them all. The remaining professional dancers are Sharna Burgess, Artem Chigvintsev, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Gleb Savchenko, and Sasha Farber.
I remember watching the last season around this time last year, and I was blown away by Nile DiMarco, a 26-year-old model that is completely deaf. Many believed that he would never learn any dances with his disability, but he did and truly redefined dance, just as his hashtag said. On this season, none of the competitors blew me away or left an impression on me as much as last season, however I am rooting for Maureen McCormick, AKA Marcia Marcia Marcia. McCormick revealed that dancing is one of her biggest fears and one of her biggest insecurities. It is inspiring to see others come out of their shell and overcome their fears, but, I also hope to see Lochte succeed in this competition. He should not be protested against or judged for the mistakes he made in Rio regardless of how severe they were. Everyone makes mistakes and they should not be seen only for their mistakes, they should be seen as the person they are.
If you want to follow this season’s competition along with all the glitz, glamour and chaos, be sure to tune into ABC every Monday night at 8 p.m.!
IMAGE TAKEN from www.nbcnews.com