‘Dancing with the Stars’ premiere leaves audiences with mixed reactions


Graphic by Rachel Olefson ’25

Satire image describing many viewers’ thoughts on the upcoming season of Disney’s “Dancing with the Stars” Graphic by Rachel Olefson ’25

The mirrorball trophy is back up for grabs, baby! Hit television show “Dancing with the Stars” is back and better than ever before… or so I thought. 

In recent years, “Dancing with the Stars ” has taken a major hit in terms of viewership. According to an article by The Wrap, “‘DWTS’ [viewership] has plummeted from season 1 heights — with a 5.1 rating… and 16.79 million average total viewers — to a 0.74 rating and 4.89 million total viewers for season 30”. 

I have a sneaking suspicion that the decline in viewership is due to the main focus of the show: the “stars.” 

The stars this season range from “influencers”, such as Charli D’Amelio, to B-list actors like Wayne Brady and even NFL wife Jessie James Decker who seems to forget she’s also a country star. 

The ballroom lit up with some performances, leaving me wanting more in the upcoming weeks. But this year’s stars show a lot of weaknesses.

— Rachel Olefson ’25

“Dancing with the Stars”’ new home, Disney+, which generated $5.2 billion in revenue in 2021 according to Business of Apps, has somehow decided that these “celebrities” are the very best possible use of their money. 

Some performances in the season opener, such as Sam Champion’s foxtrot, were severely disappointing. Production clearly tried to distract from his stiff movement and lack of energy with a stormy/cloudy backdrop to go along with Champion’s weatherman history, but it’s clear that the graphics were better than the dance itself. 

There is also a lack of surprise.  For instance, it came as no shock to me that Charli D’Amelio, who is also a former competitive dancer (at a studio in Norwalk!), performed well on opening night. However, unlike professional dancer-type stars in the past such as Heather Morris, Charli, the second-most followed person on TikTok according to Dexerto, wasn’t low-scored due to previous experience, but rather praised for her form and skill. What’s that I smell? Is it… a double standard? 

And as for some other contestants, such as Jason Lewis, I had trouble focussing on the snooze-fest of a dance on the TV screen in front of me. 

One of the only exciting parts of this season is the return of season 30 winner and recent Emmy award nominee, Daniella Karagach, who hopes to claim the trophy a second year in a row. She is partnered with contestant actor/bodybuilder Joseph Baena (who is also Arnold Schwarzenegger’s son). The pair brought the energy during their jive and were nearly as electric as Wayne Brady and pro Witney Carson’s cha-cha. Brady’s stage presence was intoxicating, I quite literally couldn’t look away. 

So what’s my rating? I give the premier a solid 3.5/5 stars. The ballroom lit up with some performances, leaving me wanting more in the upcoming weeks. But this year’s stars show a lot of weaknesses. Let’s just say I won’t be voting for them to stay!