Monday, November 22, 2010

Dancing With the Almost Famous

I don't watch Dancing With the Stars. Talent competition shows have never exactly been my cup of tea. But one does not have to be a loyal viewer of the show to know that there has been some controversy among its fans over Bristol Palin being on the show and, what is more, returning every single week. The gist of their arguments is that Bristol Palin is not a star. She is simply the daughter of a former vice presidential candidate and a teenage mother who had a child out of wedlock.

I don't know about Bristol Palin's dancing, but they have a point that she is not a star. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sense 5 of star as: a.) the principal member of a theatrical or operatic company who usually plays the chief roles; b.) a highly publicised theatrical or motion picture performer; c.) an outstandingly talented performer (a track star), and d.) a person who is preeminent in a field. Now Bristol Palent is not the member of a theatrical or operatic company, let alone one who plays the chief roles. She is not a theatrical or motion picture performer, let alone a highly publicised one. She is not an outstandingly talented performer in anything (particularly her dancing if her critics are to be believed. And she is not preeminent in any field. It would seem then that Bristol Palin is definitely not a star.

Of course, if you ask me, this is not the first time someone who is not a star has competed on Dancing with the Stars. Earlier this year Kate Gosselin, whose only claim to fame was having her own reality show (Jon and Kate Plus Eight), competed on this show. No less than Hugh Hefner criticised this fact. When asked if he would ever considered Kate Gosselin posing for Playboy, not only did he say, "No! No! No!" but he also stated he did not understand why she was even on Dancing With the Stars. Hef said flatly, "I don't think she's a celebrity." I have to agree with Mr. Hefner. Kate Gosselin fits none of the definitions of star, unless someone can construe that she is preeminent in the field of reality shows, which is a most dubious honour indeed.

Of course, Kate Gosselin was not the first time a non-star appeared on the show. Dancing With the Stars let the genie out of the bottle all the way back in its first season when Trista Sutter, famous only from The Bachelorette, danced on the show. Since then there has been Kim Kardashian, Melissa Rycroft (she was on The Bachelor, in case you don't recognise the name--I had to look it up myself), Kate Gosselin, and Bristol Palin. In none of these cases were these individuals stars by any stretch of the imagination, yet somehow they appeared on Dancing With the Stars.

It seems to me that if Dancing With the Stars continue to feature individuals who are not stars, individuals who are almost famous, or for whom for fame is a fleeting thing at most, then perhaps it should change its name. Perhaps it should be Dancing With the Almost Famous or Dancing With the Fleetingly Famous. It certainly does not seem like it deserves the name Dancing With the Stars!


Raquel Stecher said...

Well, I don't think the show would survive if their criteria was real stars or celebrities. Because really do the likes of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have time to do DWTS? Nope. And do they need it for their fame? Nope. But these pseudo stars do need any limelight they can get and this is a good way to get it. Maybe they should have called it something else.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Well, I have to agree with you about movie stars. They would be out of the reach of any TV show. But those aren't the ohnly real stars or celebrities out there. DWTS had Florence Henderson on this season, and I would say she is a TV star, even if her biggest show was forty years ago. They also had John O'Hurley and George Hamilton, whom I'd put in the same category as Miss Henderson. And they've had sports stars and music stars as well. So why do they insist on putting people like Bristol Palin and these reality show folks on? They aren't stars by any stretch of the imagination!

KC said...

Stunt casting= ratings. People may love Florence Henderson more, but they tuned in to gape at Bristol.