“Dancing with the Stars” is a wonderful competition series that features celebrities from all walks of life who come together and learn ballroom dancing. It has been a big part of reality television for 22 years now. I, along with many other loyal “Dancing with the Stars” fans, have come to love not only the journey of the celebrities throughout the season but that of the professional dancers as well.
Up until Season 30, the show had a little home on the ABC Network. For Season 31, however, the series will move to Disney+. This is huge for “Dancing with the Stars” and a very smart move. If you think about it, ever since COVID-19 started, people have watched less cable television, oftentimes moving to big streaming platforms. In recent years, there have been multiple articles that have discussed the declining ratings for “Dancing with the Stars.” However, a lot of Disney+ subscribers are in the younger generation, which will give the show a new target audience.
I should add that I never watched “Dancing with the Stars” on cable television. The commercials seriously bugged me, and I could just wait until the following day to watch it on Hulu. Now that it is on Disney+, however, there are no commercials! It’s a full two-hour show with no breaks. For the past three weeks that it’s been on, the show has run smoothly. They added an additional host, Alfonso Ribeiro, who’s been fantastic; although Tyra Banks has been the host since Season 29, many fans of the beloved series (including myself) have not taken a liking to her, so we’re hoping the additional host will help ease that tension.
On to the contestants for Season 31. There is some great competition this year … wow! Last season, the show made history by partnering JoJo Siwa with a female pro, Jenna Johnson. Although they didn’t win, their partnership will be one for the books. The current season also makes history, as it has the first drag queen paired up with a male partner. Shangela goes by she/her pronouns while in drag but prefers he/him outside of drag. So, it’s the first male-male partnership, and the pair is doing great! One thing that made me instantly fall in love with the duo was hearing the male pro, Gleb Savchenko, say that he doesn’t view his partner as a gender but as an artist.
A few seasons back, “Dancing with the Stars” had a deaf contestant, Noah Demarco, win the entire competition with partner Peta Murgatroyd. We’ve never seen disability representation like that before, and the fact that he was able to dance so smoothly and effortlessly without hearing anything is truly something else. The reason I bring them up is that this season, we have famous deaf actor Daniel Durant, who I think will be the underdog of Season 31. Watching his dances, he really is a leading man. Not only that but he’s also partnered with Britt Stewart, who is a Black pro dancer on the show. I love the diversity of this partnership. If Daniel wins (which I’m definitely rooting for) it will be huge for not only the disabled community but the POC community, too. It’s the most diverse pairing of the season.
Moving on, we also have Charli D’Amelio from TikTok. Now, I know she may get some comments about how she’s not a genuine “celebrity” because of TikTok and how she’s already a trained dancer. However, I do believe this will be a great opportunity for her to show the audience a different side of her and her pairing is probably one of the smartest choices the franchise could have made. She and Mark Ballas will go far despite the hate she’ll get from her presence on TikTok. Ballas is one of the most beloved pros but hasn’t been on the show in years. They will easily make the finals.
There are a bunch of good contestants for Season 31, but I’m only going to share two more that I believe will make it far in the competition. We have former “Bachelorette” participant Gabby Windey paired with Val Chmerkovskiy. Bachelorettes tend to make it far in the competition, and eventually win the whole thing. I mean, look at both Hannah Brown and Kaitlyn Bristowe. I definitely think Gabby has a great shot at winning with her amazing dance abilities, her funny banter, and her pairing with one of our favorite male pros.
Lastly, we have Wayne Brady. Come on! He’s a triple threat. He has that swagger and charm that will easily carry him throughout the competition. I don’t know if it’s the theater kid in me, but I’m definitely rooting for him to win.
Viewers should pay attention to these pairings this season. Season 31 of “Dancing with the Stars” has been such a blast so far, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of the competition and see how much it thrives on a new streaming platform.