Real-life tragedies and on-stage dramatics made this season the most exciting ever. And yet Dancing With The Stars slammed the competition in ratings while showcasing people of color in an unrivaled television spectacle. Last night’s finale awarding of Helio Castroneves as champion may have been the pinnacle of the season but let’s not overlook the multicultural wealth bestowed upon its audiences all over the world.
Television casting has a tired tradition of stacking the deck with white males to the point of abject predictability. However, ‘Dancing’ reflects a multitude of faces and races while providing a program of collaboration and competition that is as entertaining as it is inclusive. Other producers and creators should take note at how well the public embraced ‘Dancing’s’ culturally diverse success.
Judge Bruno Tonioli has a cacophony of similes, metaphors, and analogies that tickle the brain and emotion. Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman round out the panel of judges with technical critiques that illuminate both dancers and viewers. Host Tom Bergeron is the wit that won’t quit. His timing, comedy, and insightful comments are gentlemanly skillful. Samantha Harris brings a cushion of warmth and sensitivity to the competitors’ interviews. The bangin’ musical direction of Harold Wheeler harkens back to the days when live music on television was essential to the success of the new medium.
While being enraptured in such celebration I do wish for a minor change for ‘Dancing’. After seeing Mel B descend to first runner-up I wish there were bronze, silver, and gold awards. In no conceivable way did she lose. A silver honor would seem appropriate in light of her brilliant series of performances. She’s most definitely a stunner in every sense of the word. Yet I can’t take anything away from Helio’s charismatic technical ease.
On a final note you must admire the sly Donnie Osmond who characterized the three finalists on Entertainment Tonight as “Helio from Spain, Mel B from England, and Marie from America.” Good divide and conquer strategy but not quite enough to fool the people – this time.
“Never talk defeat.” [Norman Vincent Peale]