Dancing with the Stars has made some dramatic changes for its 17th season. They’ve stripped it down to one day, they’ve brought in several new professional dancers, and they’ve moved the judges’ desk to the opposite side of the dance floor (gasp!). But there’s one other change which quite a few fans have noticed. For the first time, the show has begun to use recorded music instead of the live band to accompany some of the dances.
So why the change? DWTS hasn’t given an official reason. Perhaps they’re attempting to placate dissatisfied viewers and bolster the show’s sagging ratings. After all, fans and bloggers have been complaining about the band’s arrangements of popular tunes for years. Gina Carbone of WetPaint listed changing the music as one of the seven changes she’d like to see in the show :
The DWTS band is awesome, but sometimes the singers just don’t have the right voices for the chosen songs. So You Think You Can Dance uses recordings of the original music, like DWTS did on All-Stars for the Michael Jackson songs. We wouldn’t mind more of that, allowing DWTS to experiment with more edgy, unusual music.
And blogger Sean P. Aune expressed his dissatisfaction with the band:
This show has attempted to take popular songs from many different genres, and they leave it to the band to try to make them fit a format they were never built for… And as for the singers… the singers are a whole different matter that just make me cringe. I’m sure they’re fine for certain styles of singing, but a lot of times they just seem totally ill suited for what they are being asked to sing on the show.
I am personally a big fan of the band. Sure, there have been some cringe-worthy arrangements. But there have been plenty of sublime moments as well. The musicians do a phenomenal job of performing an impossibly broad range of musical styles.
In addition, as a fellow musician, I’m always in support of live music. There’s no comparison between the energy generated by a live band versus a recording. Plus, more organizations are replacing their live performers with canned music in order save a buck. As a result, it’s getting increasingly difficult for “gigging” musicians to make a living. I have to wonder if the DWTS band has taken a pay cut not only because the show has been reduced from two days to one but also because they are playing fewer songs.
I truly hope that DWTS won’t make any more cutbacks to the live music. I could go on all day about the important role that the band has on the show. But a picture is worth 1000 words, or, in this case, a video can prove my case better than anything I could ever write. Below, please enjoy a video of DWTS‘s phenomenal vocalist Carmen Carter taking center stage to sing “I’ve Got the Music in Me” for a cha-cha-cha by Wynonna Judd and Tony Dovolani (the performance begins at 1:40 in the video).
- Corbin Bleu’s DWTS Blog: This Week’s High School Musical-Themed Dance Is for the Fans (people.com)
- Dancing With the Stars’ Edyta Sliwinska Pregnant, Expecting First Child With Alec Mazo–See Her Baby Bump! (eonline.com)