For the next few months, our television screens are going to be filled with reality shows, as the Writers Guild of America has just announced that they will authorize members to return to work. The premiere of Dancing with the Stars’ 32nd season is just the start of the sea of reality television that will be coming to cable and streaming services this fall.
The show has a long history, and the many changes that have occurred since the last season make this premiere highly anticipated. Tyra Banks, who has hosted the last three seasons of the show, did not return this season. Audiences were very critical of Banks’ hosting abilities and many were happy to see her gone. She was replaced by Julianne Hough, a long time member of the Dancing with the Stars family. While this was her first season as host, Hough has participated in previous seasons as a professional dancer and judge. She has won the show’s coveted Mirrorball Trophy twice. Hough’s brother, Derek, also appears on the show as a judge and was a former professional dancer as well. Her co-host, season 19 champion Alfonso Ribiero, returned for his second season in the role.
Although head judge Len Goodman announced that season 31 was going to be his last, audiences were shocked by his sudden passing in April. The show renamed and redesigned the Mirrorball Trophy in his honor. They chose not to replace Goodman, with the panel being made up of returning judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough.
While the show’s professional dancer lineup remained pretty consistent in recent seasons, there were a few changes. Jenna Johnson and Peta Murgatroyd both returned to the show after being out on maternity leave last season. Cheryl Burke, who had been participating in the show since its second season, announced her retirement last season. There is only one new professional this season: Rylee Arnold, the show’s youngest pro at just 18 years old. Arnold was a former junior pro on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors and is the younger sister of former professional Lindsay Arnold, who won the Mirrorball in Season 25.
This season consists of 14 contestants, including athletes, actors, reality stars and everyone in between. Some of the highest scores of the night went to The Bachelorette’s Charity Lawson, singer and songwriter Jason Mraz and Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix. Other performances did not impress the judges, with Too Hot to Handle contestant Harry Jowsey, model Tyson Beckford and actor Matt Walsh receiving the lowest scores of the night.
Matt Walsh ended up receiving the dreaded night one elimination. The judges were critical of his cha-cha-cha, saying that the steps were not strong enough to make it look like a traditional dance. Although Walsh was on the show for only a short amount of time, his appearance will certainly be a memorable one, as he temporarily walked out of show rehearsals before the season began. His walk-out was in protest of the show employing WGA writers, who were on strike to fight for higher pay and better protections. With the strike resolving just two days before the premiere, Walsh quickly returned in time to dance. However, his effort was not enough to keep him another week.
For the first time since season 27, there was no “judge’s save.” This had previously allowed the judges to vote on which of the bottom two couples would go home each week. It was implemented in order to prevent America’s votes from having too much influence over the results of the show and to ensure that the strongest dancers made it to the finale.
Viewers can watch on Tuesday night to see who will be the season 32 champion — the competition has just begun.
Ili Pecullan is a sophomore in the College of Human Ecology. She can be reached at [email protected].