Q: Whoever is in charge of "Dancing with the Stars," please, please get rid of Tyra Banks. She will bring this show down and you will lose all your viewers!
A: I have received quite a few letters complaining about the changes at "DWTS," which I explained in an earlier column. Banks is not pleasing fans of the now-gone Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, the current "stars" seem unfamiliar to many viewers, and one reader objected to a voting system online and via text message, instead of by standard telephone for less tech-minded viewers.
Now, competition shows often change formats, hosts, judges and other elements to keep viewers coming. Sometimes it seems as if the nominal purpose — to demonstrate a specific skill — becomes less important than elevating personalities, including not only contestants but judges and hosts. "DWTS" has certainly been guilty of making changes — glamming up the dances, promoting dancers — at the expense of the performances long before the current season. The problems this year are nothing new, with one big exception.
That is how Banks has changed hosting. Bergeron and Andrews for the most part kept it low-key, apart from Bergeron's occasional witty aside, and let others such as the judges play the flashier roles. Banks, in contrast, has added another flamboyant personality to the show, often with terrible results. She was way over the top in the season premiere, and her costume on the recent Disney night was a horrible distraction. (Disney nights, one of the show's many corporate cross-promotions, are bad enough on their own.) It's not that Banks is bad on TV — I had a pretty severe addiction to "America's Next Top Model" in its early years. It's that she's playing the wrong part on "DWTS."
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