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Following a controversial Season 27, Dancing with the Stars did not return for its usual spring cycle, but it will be back from its break this coming fall. Fresh off its last installment, fans had expressed a desire for changes, and something along those lines is underway. ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke teased tweaks are coming at the network's upfronts presentation (via Deadline), saying:
We have been pitched some really fun format changes for Dancing with the Stars by the executive producers but right now they are top secret. [Reality chief] Rob Mills and I had a meeting with them a couple of months ago and got very excited about some of the new ideas that they were talking about to freshen up the format. It’s still the show that audience knows and loves but they’ve got some good ideas in terms of how to surprise people in new ways.
Who else is ready for some surprises? Along with Karey Burke’s promising hints at the changes ahead, she also teased Dancing with the Stars would be going after some “bigger stars” in the future. She did not name names, nor suggest any potential talent the show is interested in getting, but fans are always free to have fun guessing.
Through its 27 seasons, Dancing with the Stars has in many ways been about reconnecting younger audiences with celebrities from the past, as well as introducing older viewers to burgeoning stars that are currently making a name for themselves. In recent years, the show's professional dancers have become stars in their own right, but they're already involved.
Having the pros spark with and play off of various entertainers' personalities is part of the magic. Personally speaking, it would also be neat if Dancing with the Stars was able to recruit more performers from scripted entertainment, rather than the naturally athletic world of sports. There is a wealth of talent to choose from there.
Now about those other changes! The ABC boss did not give any specifics. It is hard to tell if the switch-ups will tackle any of the trouble zones that have led to so much controversy. Season 27 saw talented contestants voted off earlier than some fans had anticipated. Making tweaks to other areas of the format could be extremely futile if the real issues are not addressed.
The most significant change I would like to see is something regarding the scoring system, perhaps giving one score for a celebrity’s performance/entertainment value and another for the contestant's technical execution. This should help head off a lot of what happened in Season 27 by transitioning the show from a popularity contest back into more of a dance-focused competition. Many contestants straddle both of those lines well enough already.
Otherwise, just let everyone dance and entertain the audience with their routines. The winner could be selected at the end of twelve weeks, giving everyone a chance to perform all of the numbers. Not being able to see your favorite couples dance in a preferred style adds to fans’ frustration, in my opinion, so maybe that change would be fruitful.
Fans will have to stay tuned to find out what exactly Dancing with the Stars has in store. The series has had more time than usual to sort out some of the potential changes. Hopefully, they are good ones.
Dancing with the Stars Season 28 will premiere this fall on ABC and air Mondays starting at 8 p.m. ET.