Dancing with the Stars

Dancing is back, baby.

It had long legs, rippling abs, dazzling lights and catty judge comments. However you look at it, 10’s Live Dancing in the Stars sizzled last night.

Staged on a massive three storey set, with fetching costumes and a Live band, it’s clear 10 has not cut corners with a fresh makeover.

After a 4 year absence from television, the show was stamped as 10’s very own version last night. Even Helen Richey from the Seven series was there to give the premiere her blessing. “This is the best show on television ever, anywhere in the world!” -and that was before any dancers took to the floor.

At the centre of the action dual-hosts Amanda Keller and (a bearded) Grant Denyer bounced off one another with ease, matched in outfits and in personality.

Celebrities took to the floor with confidence and fear, throwing caution to the wind and kicks into the air. Amongst the stand-out performers of the night were birthday girl Courtney Act, blogger Constance Hall and actor Samuel Johnson.

There were Live TV one-liners that defied scripting. The Living Room‘s Miguel Maestre described himself as “A Vegemite sandwich on fire,” while dance partner Aric said of Michelle Bridges’ energy, “She can go for hours, mate.”

Jett Kenny was complimented on his rig, including by Grant Denyer, Olympia Valance was congratulated for crowd-pleasing lifts and Denise Scott was told, “It take guts to get out there and do what you did.”

It was ‘Jimmy Giggle’, renamed as ‘Jimmy Sizzle,’ who summed it up best, conceding the show was about feeling “as vulnerable as possible in front of all these people.”

Scoring poorly with the judges were cricketer Sir Curtly Ambrose and Cassandra Thorburn who drew a 1 from resident nasty judge Craig Revel Horwood.

That prompted Amanda Keller to say, “Other people would like to give you one I’m sure.”

Indeed the new judging panel were at pains to make their mark on the new-look show with Sharna Burgess and Tristan MacManus finding plenty to support and critique. Both are welcome additions.

But Craig Revel Horwood appeared to be trying too hard to stamp his persona all over the show, with “darling” injected into every sentence. “Stiff, stiff, stiff, and not darling in a good way,” amongst the pearlers we got. Somebody call Zsa Zsa Gabor.

But Dancing thrives on its talkability factor as much as its entertainment value, so Revel Horwood, or Horwood Revel, is doing what he was hired to do. If he keeps it up at this level across the season it will be a turn-off.

Introductions of the “sky lounge” (a nod to the So You Think You Can Dance set) and the dynamic lighting all added to the makeover.

If there is any criticism it is the audio sweetening of arena-style applause did not match the size of the crowd, and we could do with more leaderboard updates through the show. These are teething problems easily fixed. Overall Warner Bros. Australia, producing for BBC Studios Australia, has smashed the first episode. Now the test will be whether 10’s younger audience is into a show that has traditionally skewed older.

With around 7 more weeks of the show to run, Dancing is off to a flying start.

Dancing with the Stars airs Live 7:30pm Mondays on 10.

38 Responses

  1. Are audience members honestly expected to spend six hours on a Monday night sitting in a studio audience? That cuts right across any sort of civilised meal time routine. David, do you know if the audience gets fed at this gig? No wonder they need to augment the studio audience with canned applause. I can’t imagine them getting hundreds of folks through the door on a Monday night to give up six hours of their time. I live only a couple of km from the studio, but this sort of time commitment at the start of the working week is deal breaker for me (never mind having to explain to my boss that I want to leave work early on Monday afternoon to just so I can see a TV show).

    1. From producers: “On shows with a pre-recorded performance we require audience there at approx 5:15pm and show ends just after 9:30. It’s a later call time if we don’t have anything to film prior to going live. Pre-records consist of promo spots, integrations and the occasional large scale production number. Because it’s a live show the actual show time goes by very fast between 7:30 and 9:30 and it’s a great audience experience. We rarely get any complaints unlike taped shows. Audience capacity is between 450 and 500 and we now have a waiting list. It’s a great night out.”

      1. Thanks for looking into this.
        It is appreciated.
        If they now have an audience waiting list, then I guess there is no shortage of potential audience members.
        All in all, not quite as bad as what was written by an earlier poster, but still a fairly hefty time commitment regardless.

  2. Overall I thought it was pretty good. I liked how they alternated between Grant and Amanda, and thought the casting was pretty spot on. My only criticism, the performances seemed a lot shorter than usual.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed the show last night! I think Sam Johnson and Courtney Act will be the last two standing. Also, Denise did such a brilliant job. I suspect she’ll be in the competition for a quite a while.

  4. I loved it overall and Enjoyed having a lot less commercial breaks which helped keep the momentum going. A few criticisms. The sweetened cheering throughout the dancing was unnecessary, the dance routines seemed to be shorter than previous series and seemed like it was over too quickly. Craig had a very tame audience. maybe next week they will play along or as he said if you can’t boo properly don’t bother booing at all darling. I would have liked to not have the singers & band hidden away. It was lovely to see Helen supporting the series.

  5. I loved the Daniel McPherson years of the original run of DWTS but tuned out once he left. So great to have it back and it’s bigger and better than ever. The fake crowd noise was a put off, but apart from that, loved it.

  6. I’ve never watched a full episode of DWTS, and even when Gogglebox UK have clips of the UK version I lose interest. But last night I decided to give it a go, and it was actually pretty good. Not sure if we’ll need the padding each week showing the rehearsals prior to the performance, but in all it was good TV. Only got to watch the first hour, but recorded the second half.

  7. Craig produced some of the funniest moments of the show. Loved it when he gave it back to the crowd and when Denise Scott gave it back to him. He plays his character well. Hosting was pretty good, nice to see a bit of banter between Amanda & Grant. Overall very watchable and engaging especially for a longer program.

    1. I swear I read something a while back that Bonnie Lithgow was announced as the 4th judge but only saw that piece of information once and never heard anything about it again (I was a tad confused when the official judges announcement came up the other week and there was no Bonnie).

      I can’t be the only one who read about it or was I just imagining it??

  8. It was a great show and for once, good on 10 for not going to a commercial break in the first 15 minutes so they could keep the people who were watching. By the time the first break rolled around I was sticking with it.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode. My only feedback, is that I think Grant or Amanda needed to acknowledge the band and singers at some stage during the show. The last season of DWTS the band was removed from the stage and there was backlash, so it was great for them to be partly seen. Next week, it would be nice for them to be acknowledged.

  10. Not a fan of Craig, thought he was way too harsh for Night 1.

    Courtney was the standout, and I was pleasantly surprised by Denise. Thought she’d be awful, but she was actually pretty good.

  11. Funnily enough the ‘nasty judge’ I found entertaining in a pantomime kinda way. The show was very well produced. Grant and Amanda worked well together and the whole show was good fun. I’ll be back next week. Fingers crossed the ratings were decent.

  12. Yes the only thing that turned it off for me was “the nasty judge”. do we really need them anymore? thought those days were over. Grant and Amanda worked well together. Nice to see Amanda hosting on the dancefloor. First time I’ve seen that

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