I will be the first to admit, 10 years ago, when I first heard of the show, Dancing With The Stars; I thought the concept sounded terrible. I didn’t think that watching non-dancers perform ballroom dancing routines was a terrible idea. But was I ever wrong! Within the first episode or two, I was hooked. Kelly Monaco and her petite and powerful frame and John O’Hurley with his suave silver-foxiness were among a perfect cast that showed that dance was for everyone. Now, the cast is larger, the dances have higher production value, and every season, we fall in love with unknown stars and reacquaint ourselves with old favorites. What a terrific show!
And tonight, ABC celebrates the milestone of not only 20 seasons of the Emmy-winning show, but the celebrate a full decade of bringing ballroom beyond PBS and to the masses. They also take a look back at favorite performers and performances.
The show’s opening (choreographed by Mandy Moore) features so many of the current and former pros. The show’s audience is a who’s who of former DWTS contestants.
Tom started the night with taking a look back at the winning moments and a dance highlight of the champions from the previous 19 seasons. It was incredible to recall each of the incredible talents (in areas other than dance) who found success on the dance floor. From singers, to actors to athletes, they each share a common, mirror-balled history.
After a break, Season 1 champ Kelly Monaco shows that she’s still got mad dance skills and her body is simply incredible. If I was her I would wear little more than a bathing suit at all times. Once she and Val stripped down to their skivvies, I appreciate that they were dancing on a wet surface, but I think other shows have done “Wet dancing” with more success. Still, their bodies … I promise you that neither one of them has eaten any carbs this week.
Next, A plethora of former contestant and champions performed to “Uptown Funk” (this is the dance where Derek Hough was injured during last week’s rehearsal). Performers included Kristi Yamaguchi, Maria Menounos, Amy Purdy, Amber Riley, Chelsea Kane and Katherine Jenkins danced with Sasha Farber and Mark Ballas. After the dance, Jenkins announced that she’s 4 months pregnant. Aww, congrats to her and her dancing baby!
Then we were treated to a mash-up of spills, bloopers and not-so-stellar moments form the show. I definitely laughed so hard that I cackled and could watch that over and over again. I know that if I was ever a contestant on the show, I would be a walking blooper reel.
Season 4 contestant, Billy Ray Cyrus, reminded us that he once sang a song that we all danced to. Oh Billy Ray, do you wish it was still the year 2006? Life was simpler then.
I had a feeling that I wasn’t going to watch an entire hour of DWTS “Best of” moments without crying. The show highlighted the incredible triumphs of Heather Mills, Amy Purdy, J. R. Martinez, Marlee Matlin and Noah Galloway and served as tear-enduing reminders that dance is for everyone. You can dance regardless of shape, size, or ability.
Not mentioned, but worth mentioning are some of the difficult situations that arose during several of the DWTS seasons. Several of the contestants experienced injury or personal problems and for those who continued on the show and persevered through those challenged, I send them much respect and remember that dance is such an emotionally freeing state that some of the contestants may have used dance to escape from other messiness in their lives.
Next, the two most recent champions face off in what Tom Bergeron was calling a Ballroom Showdown.” Happily the paddles have been put away, because noone is in a judging mood tonight. These routines are for pride only.
Alfonso and Witney reminded us why they won last season with a fun Cha Cha to “Fun” but Pitbull featuring Chris Brown. Season 18 champions Meryl and Maks performed their ballroom showdown routine to “Heroes (we could be)” by Alessso, featuring Tove Lo. Is Meryl a professional ballroom dancer yet? She is just so incredible! And we got a peek at Maks’ audition video, which was hysterical.
Melissa Rycroft and Tony Dovolani danced a fun Conga and then shilled for the Dancing With the Stars Live! Tour that Melissa is hosting.
Up next, each judge got to choose their favorite/ most iconic dance.
Len, who is always looking for “Technique” selected Helio and Juliann’s Quickstep from Season 5.
Carie Ann wants to be touched by “Emotion” and found that in Amy and Derek’s contemporary dance to “Human” by Christina Perri in Season 18.
Julianne looks for “Artistry” and found it Donald and Peta’s Argentine Tango from Season 14.
And Bruno is turned on by the “Passion” of Mel B and Maks’ Season 5 Paso Doble to “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue.
Up next, DWTS reminded up that dance can be beautiful and masculine at the same time — and athletes make terrific dancers — when they had 7 Former NFL players (Kurt Warner, Jacoby Jones, Michael Irvin, Donald Driver, Hines Ward, Jerry Rice and Emmett Smith) dance a Paso Doble to the Monday Night Football theme song. It was cheesy, imperfect, wonderful and my son made me rewind it three times. But where were Warren Sapp, Lawrence Taylor, Jason Taylor and Michael Sam? We also got to take a look back at home of Jerry Rice’s best dance outfits. He looks great in a wig.
After much anticipation, Patti Labelle, performed “Lady Marmalade” with Amber Riley and Lil Kim. Damn, Patti still has it. Riley is the real deal and is LaBelle junior and Lil Kim, god bless her, but what happened to her face? She looks like a member of the Jackson family.
After another weepy moment where a few celebs like Bill Engvall, Candace Cameron Bure, J.R. Martinez, Sherri Shepherd and Katherine Jenkins reminisced about the wonderful experiences they had and how their participation in the show changed their lives.
Finally, they brought out seemingly everyone who’s ever performed on the show for a mega line dance. It’s the dance that we’ll all be doing at weddings this summer.
Even after a decade, Dancing With The Stars doesn’t show signs of slowing down. In 20 seasons, the dances have gotten more dynamic and could almost be considered performance art, the are costumes skimpier and the judges older, but dance is still a wonderful connection between people, music and an audience. I think it’s a bit ironic that one of my favorite quotes about dance comes courtesy a baseball player.
“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”