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Spoilers ahead for the September 30 episode of Dancing with the Stars.
Dancing with the Stars is a grueling process for the celebrity dancers, and it wouldn't be any fun if the celebs got to just coast through competition because they're famous. That said, Season 28 has seen not one but two celebrity dancers have to drop out of the running for the mirrorball trophy due to injuries they sustained during rehearsal for the show. This raises the question: is rehearsal too intense?
Christie Brinkley was the first Dancing with the Stars star who had to drop out of competition, and she actually sustained her injury before the show premiered for Season 28. She broke her arm while practicing with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, and it was caught on camera. While Brinkley deserves credit for dealing with the break with more poise than most of us could possibly manage, she was clearly in a lot of pain, and the break was severe enough to require surgery. Daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook stepped into her mom's dancing shoes. If that was the only incident, then it might have been an outlier.
But now, Ray Lewis is out of competition along with partner Cheryl Burke because of injuries sustained during rehearsal. In the September 30 episode, it was revealed that when practicing for his tribute to Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Lewis aggravated a torn tendon from back in 2010. He ultimately tore three tendons that would require surgery and rupture if he continued in the competition. So, rather than require surgery to try and win a TV dance competition, Lewis dropped out.
While obviously fewer celebrities are injured than are not on Dancing with the Stars, should any of them be so seriously hurt that they would require surgery? I totally get that the wide variety of ages, genders, and backgrounds of the celebrities means that some will need more intensive rehearsal than others, and it wouldn't be fair if some of them got away with more subpar dancing than their competitors, but losing two celebrities before even two eliminations from voters happened seems like too much for a fun show.
There are already questions of whether the voting for Dancing with the Stars is fair and if some dancing celebrities have unfair advantages in Season 28; should we be wondering if rehearsal is too intense and grueling for some of the celebrities to safely undergo? Should the styles of dancing or requirements be tweaked for some of them?
After all, it's not like the competitors all tackle the same challenges every week. They don't all tackle a samba or tango or rhumba, so they're not really going head-to-head anyway. Then, there's the fact that the dancers who perform earlier in an episode have more time to accumulate votes than the dancers, and the scoring for Dancing with the Stars isn't an exact science. Why not go the extra mile to make sure that dances and the demands of rehearsal are tailored to what the celebs can safely manage?
None of this is to say that Dancing with the Stars or the pro partners have been irresponsible or should be blamed for fluke accidents. The stars aren't forced into doing anything they're not willing to do, and far fewer celebrities drop out than continue. Most of the pain for the star dancers is probably in the form of sore muscles doing brand new things. I would just rather not see any more celebrities hurt to the point of needing surgery for the sake of a dance competition.
Nobody was eliminated in the September 30 episode of Dancing with the Stars due to Ryan Lewis dropping out, so the whole dancing crew will be back next week. Join me in crossing fingers that Ray Lewis is the last celebrity dancer to have to drop out of competition, and tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Dancing with the Stars.