Is Dancing with the Stars the best live show 10 has made since Australian Idol?

Producing Live variety TV is not easy, and sometimes even the ratings don't reflect it.

Watching Dancing with the Stars last night I was again reminded just how well-produced this show is.

The contestants were working up a frenzied storm, three entertaining group performances hauled in the judges to dance and Amanda Keller again proved what a classy act she is, hosting 2 hours of primetime Live all on her own.

The show also threw in the dapper Scott Tweedie and a very excited Bindi Irwin. To bring all these moving parts together with costumes, live band, lighting, staging and audience keeps everybody on their toes. One minute it’s a romantic waltz, then an Annie showstopper or something sizzling in grunt and sweat. It puts the ‘show’ back into showbiz.

While the TV ratings may not reflect it, I’m hard-pressed to think of a better Live to Air production 10 has delivered since its Australian Idol days. Those grand finals at the Sydney Opera House had it all from helicopter shots, fireworks, indoor / outdoor broadcasts and talented performers.

Looking back, what are the other obvious contenders? Rove, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, The Project, Sunday Night Takeaway, Studio 10, The Circle, Before the Game, Australia Day concerts and Big Brother live eviction shows.

Readers are also very positive about the show:

Catherine: “Well I watched dwts and I really hope 10 renew it. It was good last night. Loved seeing the judges dance and it is a feel good no drama entertainment show. Amanda is great as host and I really enjoyed scott tweedie last night.”

Cazz81: “I really hope after MAFS ends next week, the ratings for DWTS rises a decent amount. It’s such a well produced and entertaining show, 10 have really done a great job putting it back on air.”

Bruce Banner: “Agree 100%, I hope it returns in 2020 as well, but perhaps it needs to air away from such strong competition next time around.”

andrewg76: “So true, I really enjoyed last night. Especially when the Judges did their dances especially Craig’s. Sharna also did well.”

Beckala: “So true, I love it. Love the format, they chose some great celebrities, the judges are really effective. And some really interesting ideas like the judges dancing last night – that was awesome!!”

Congrats to Warner Bros, producing for BBC Studios.

44 Responses

  1. Amanda is so classy and so right for this show. I love it. Amanda and Grant bounce off each other really well and come back soon Grant, miss your humour. The set, the music, the costumes, nice change of Judges. I look forward to Monday nights. Finally we get some proper entertainment, high end and enjoyable. Even Craig Dahling..

  2. I must admit when I heard 10 were bringing it back I was skeptical. But I did forget how much I missed it. Also because I had no idea who the judges were, I must admit I thought they could have at least bought 1 or 2 of the old ch7 judges back. But I really like the 3 judges. Even Craig is starting to smile and be positive.

    Amanda has been great as host and Grant has been good as well.

    But as I have started on this site before, the only thing I don’t like about it is they don’t talk about the charity. Last night I had no idea what charity Curtly supported.

    Anyway well done on 10 for having the guts to bring it back and making it a fun show to watch. Sometimes you need a break from MKR and MAFS.

  3. Great Question. And the answer is Yes.
    Of course it’s been swamped by MAFS but so has everything.
    Amanda is great. Grant good. Production great.
    Give it another go next year away from MAFS.
    (If we haven’t all gotten over the addictive but nasty scripted drama of MAFS by then.)

  4. I find DWTS far much better on Ten. Great productions. Better celebrities. Amanda is the best DWTS host ever. I secretly hope Grant won’t return. Heh. I prefer Craig to Todd. So, yeah…

  5. Far too many commercials! I felt exhausted by the end of the show, even after chase-playing it from my hard drive! However, I enjoyed the addition of the judges in the 3 routines and next weeks ‘trio’ routines should be exciting, having seen similar in the US version. Maybe a guest co-host each week helps to keep things fresh. The judging panel is just outstanding! Love them all.

  6. I think 10 will renew it. It deserves a second chance, and it is miles ahead of Takeaway. Maybe they should flip the order next year and start with DWTS / Takeaway then Celeb once Mass starts. Amanda to host solo next year? Sorry Grant, but she is more than capable on her own. Great to see her an another show outside of The Living Room

  7. Yes, I’ve always loved DWTS. It’s the most happy feel good 2 hours of Live TV you’re going to get all week. This new production is great too. I like Amanda, Grant and all of the judges. I do feel like it’s a work in progress though. Craig has probably read the Twitter hate and tamed down his nasty comments. It’s unfortunate that Grant is absent as he worked really well with Amanda. Denise Scott wasn’t a good replacement. Perhaps they should keep Scott if Grant can’t make it next week. I don’t like the team/group dancing as it’s supposed to be an individual sport. The eliminations have been a bit clunky on reading out who’s not safe rather than who is through to next week. This week the rules have changed again to a dance off where the judges decide, rather than viewers. I feel like they are doing it now because they have more time but should’ve done it from the start. Even Amanda…

  8. Kudos to Ten. Should defs move it away from MAFS next year agree with other comments…. also Bring back australian idol in it original finals format!!! and put it on during the finale quarter!! I can dream.

  9. Couldn’t agree more. Very well produced. However major credit should be given to Amanda Keller for how well she seamlessly holds it all together live on air. Not easy to do. Her quick witted ad libs are the outstanding moments in the show. Full credit to the judges too. Their comments are more constructive than nasty for the sake of a cheap laugh, which previous incarnations tended to do. There’s an absolute vibe that everyone on screen is enjoying themselves and this is infectious for the viewer. I sit there watching it with a huge smile on my face, laughing out loud and occasionally a tear rolling down my cheek. The judges dances were thoroughly entertaining. Should do this more. Really enjoyed Bindi Irwin’s energy. Feel good TV at it’s finest.

  10. I have watched a few eps of DWTS and whilst the program isn’t really my type of show I totally appreciate the effort tat has been put in, it looks great that’s for sure and there is a ton of behind the scenes work that has clearly gone into it.

    I actually think the Live, Event style television is what is missing – there’s not alot on offer of late it’s all just reality which is in most cases not live.

    1. Bad idea in my view. Hey Hey is synonymous with its now-veteran cast. Bringing in new people under the same banner would be disastrous. Better to approach from a new angle which is what is planned with Rove. May or may not work, but HHIS is forever Daryl & co.

  11. What a great article David, particularly the reader comments.

    Aside from that, the set and staging is fantastic. I have really warmed to the Judges. TBH when I first watched this show from ep 1, I didn’t know who the Judges were. I really like all 3 Judges in Particular Craig and Sharna.

    Amanda has been fantastic over the whole show along with Grant. 10 really have it quite right, it’s just a shame viewers aren’t tuning in, hopefully that will change once MAFS finishes. With Dancers getting eliminated each week, I thought the show would be getting shorter, but I still love the current 2 hours with the Team Dancing, the judges dancing, it’s been a great mix. I presume 10 will renew it.

  12. The success or failure of these types of programs often hinges on the Director – who largely go unrecognised in this country. While the Americans award Directors of variety series at the Emmys, neither the Logies, AACTA awards or even the ADG recognise variety directors – and there are only a couple of successful ones in this country. Funnily enough most of the successful programs you’ve listed here for Channel 10 would have been directed by the same 2 or 3 people.

  13. I’d go even further and say that 10’s DWTS is in the Top 5 live entertainment productions on Aussie TV ever ! Sevens AGT finals were quite spectacular, but DWTS is just bloody fantastic. And Courtney Act has a big future in front of her.

        1. Agree. Tho I don’t normally like these type of shows [dancing] this one is so well produced. the lighting, staging and camera work is excellent. the set is great and I like that they receive the scores form the “balcony” -better than shunting them into a green room. I remembered to vote in logies on Sunday – right at the last minute and hope Amanda gets the gold – she’s always been great in everything she does. Funny, genuine, not yelling into the mike or trying too hard!

  14. I’m really enjoying this series too. Everything seems to be a step up from the previous version. Amanda and Grant work really well together, but Amanda is exceptional. Her quit wit and edgy comedy are just what the show needs. I like all the new judges, particularly Craig. He has a role to play and does it well. I didn’t like Todd, I think he came across a bit snide, whereas Craig comes across as mean, yet funny.

    A good cast helps too and while I didn’t know who a lot of them were at the start, you soon figure out who’s who and form your favourites. I really hope it gets renewed.

  15. It’s a a shame Grant is injured, I hope he gets better asap. But the show is a lot better without him. Amanda is an excellent solo host and just goes to show that women can host a show by themselves!

  16. Yes ! Nothing against wonderful Curtley but now he is gone the competition standard should be above and beyond ! How good was Jett Kenny and partner doing the Paso Doble in the judges team dance? Wow !

  17. Really been enjoying it, the judges the biggest surprise. Amanda holds her own well. Familiar show to old while still being modern and fresh.

    One query, I notice you mentioned Warner Bros and BBC, so do 10 not have any creative influence? I wondered given on most externally produced shows you always see ‘network executives’ credited, usually as “executive producer” example: Seven’s Julie McGauran.

  18. I turned in a few times last night & was impressed with Scott Tweedie. He would make a great permanent host. He would certainly bring in a younger demographic to the show. His interviews with the contestants was spot on from the little I saw.

  19. The production is second to none, that final shot during Courtney and Josh’s Viennese Waltz looking across the bay to the city like they were on a dock was spectacular, yeah they may add something like that in editing in a film but that was done live.

  20. Brilliant show. Kudos to the cast, production crew, Warner’s and Channel 10 for having the smarts to bring it back! It deserves such better ratings – it is the most entertaining and professional show on FTA by a mile. Sharna is a superstar…Craig is TV gold…and Tristan is hot! Amanda Keller is just outstanding. Love it.

  21. Good article, David. It really is a well done production. I always found the Dan MacPherson iteration of DWTS was good comfort viewing during the winter months from Seven. I hope 10 give this another season but perhaps away from the MAFS juggernaut, maybe next year a Monday night once Masterchef concludes?

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