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‘Dancing with the Stars: Juniors’ is the Show We Didn’t Know We Needed

October 30, 201810 min read

I think it’s a fair assumption to say that A LOT of Americans are pretty dedicated to watching Dancing with the Stars every Monday night.  For 27 seasons, the show has a been household staple, bringing a splash of fun and pizazz into the beginning of the work week. Nothing could take the place of this show in the hearts of so many…. right? Wrong.

Just last month, ABC has released a spin-off of the show but with a twist – kids!  I’m going to be honest. When I first caught wind of this new series, I was more than a little underwhelmed. I mean, a kids version? How many celebrity children are actually out there? I doubt we’re about to see North West and Blue Ivy doing the Cha Cha.  In theory, it all seemed a little bit boring to me.  Oh, how wrong I was.

I wanted to at least check it out, but wow…I was immediately hooked.  Hosted by the ever so talented, Jordan Fisher and charming Frankie Muniz, this show took off with a bang!  Both Fisher and Muniz are so charismatic, and lead each show with such grace and finesse! In an interview with, Fisher said, “I did not know how emotionally involved and attached I would grow to the kids and their families, their journeys, their experiences.  I’m like a proud papa, honestly. I miss them so much when they’re not around. The ballroom misses them, all of the crew, the creative team. Everybody does.”

The three judges, Mandy Moore (DWTS and La La Land choreographer), Adam Rippon (2018 Olympic figure skater and DWTS champion) and Val Chmerkovskiy (DWTS pro dancer), bring a fresh perspective to the judges’ table.  They are each very skilled in what they do and offer kind yet constructive advice to the kids. They take time to make sure the contestants know they are capable and wonderful just the way they are, which is really fantastic to see.

Along with those reasons, there are a few other factors in why this show is so special, and the main and most obvious one is the cast of kids! Some standout duos include Ariana Greenblatt (Stuck in the Middle) and partner, Artyon Celestine, Sky Brown (Pro skateboarder) and partner JT Church and Mandla Morris (Stevie Wonder’s son) and partner, Brightyn Brems.

Each and every child on the show (both the celebrities and dancers) is passionate and honest about what they’re doing. As most of them are younger children, they have boundless amounts of energy and little desire to hold back anything they’re feeling or thinking.  It adds such a jubilant and uplifting spirit to the DWTS franchise, that is normally not much different from the average nightly talent show. Not only that, but the professional dancers are SO talented. Ballroom dances like the Argentine tango and the Foxtrot are far from easy, but they do not shy away from the challenge. One of my favorite dances this season, that blows me away, is definitely Ariana Greenblatt and Artyon Celestine’s Cha Cha in the opening episode! These kids do not hold back, and they truly make you feel like your dreams are possible!

The other amazing part of it is the camaraderie between the pairs! Honestly, adults can definitely learn something from these children, because the love and respect they show one another is unmatched. Often times, it’s difficult to tell who’s the pro and who’s the celeb, because they’re so in sync with each other. The level of teamwork they exhibit every week, and genuine happiness to see each other do well is extraordinary.  There are endless amounts of little tidings of good will dispersed throughout the show that make it so heartwarming.  One of my personal favorite moments is at the end of each dance, spelling bee champ Akash Vukoti and partner Kamri Peterson spin each other around in the excitement of a job well done, whether or not it’s perfect.  They come in with no pretenses, hesitation or embarrassment and just accept each other.

Not to mention, there is no shortage of adorable moments! When asked in an interview with DWTS, Disney Channel’s Jason Maybaum stated, ” I think we should win, because we’re really committed and we’re having a really good time and -” but before he could finish, was cut off by his partner, Elliana Walmsley, saying: “It’s not awkward between us!”

That kind of care and support benefits not only the teams but everyone watching.  It is beyond important to surround ourselves with good and positive media, especially amidst such chaos and uncertainty, and this show is exactly that.

The last point that really makes this show shine is the mentors.  The kids may be excited, but sometimes not even as joyous as their teachers!  For some mentors, it hits even closer to home than just teacher and student.  Professional, Lindsey Arnold is mentor to younger sister, Rylee Arnold!  In an Access interview, Lindsey was asked if it was easier or harder working with her sister, in which she replied, ” I mean, like as far as our connection, so much nicer, because we already were such – we’re so close, obviously!” And Lindsey and Rylee aren’t the only ones, Jenna Johnson got the chance to work with her niece, dancer, Hailey Bills!

All of the DWTS pro dancers do the best job of not making everything so serious. Yes, it is a competition, but more importantly, it’s a chance to try something new and be a part of an awesome experience! They certainly take the time to not only build on the kid’s abilities but also their character.  After finishing dancing on the show’s Disney night, Sky Brown commented: “I just want to say something to all the girls out there, that you can do anything! Just have fun, be brave, and do it cause’ you love it.  Don’t let anyone stop you!” They’re great at what they do, and it’s amazing to watch them interact with the young dancers coming up behind them. As mentors, they are very supportive of their kids and hold each other in the highest regard.

Overall, the reason I’m encouraging everyone to give this show a shot is the same reason I would encourage everyone to watch a Disney movie. It’s pure, it’s light-hearted and it makes you feel connected, but the added bonus is that it’s actually real life! It’s weird to say that about a show like this, but it’s true.  Sometimes we need to be reminded of what’s still good, and who better to do that than a bunch of smiley kids, who feel like dancing.  I’m telling you, you need this show even if you don’t think you do.  Oh, and don’t even try to root for just one pair, because trust me, its impossible!

Featured Image Credits: Parade

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Francesca Creavey

Francesca Creavey is an aspiring singer and writer from Scranton, Pennsylvania. IG: francescacreavey