• Kristyn Burtt

Notes on a Season: What Did We Learn About 'DWTS' in Season 28?

Updated: Jan 9


That's a wrap on Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars. It was a season that felt unlike any other as much of the creative team left for different projects or their contract wasn't renewed. In came a new team with fresh ideas — some worked great and some need to go back to the drawing board. That unevenness is to be expected when a different group is in charge, it takes a while to find a rhythm and it's tough when the show is only one season a year.


More: Jenna Dewan Dances into Netflix's 'Soundtrack'


ABC has yet to pick up DWTS for Season 29. That announcement will likely come in 2020, but DWTS is still the leader in this Monday night time slot compared to American Idol and The Bachelor franchise. Unless the network decides to run Idol two seasons a year (doubtful), then DWTS should be safe for renewal. There will most likely be post-mortem meetings about what really worked and what didn't and how they can improve the show for Season 29.


Judging is where the show should start. While Len Goodman has darted in and out of the panel and Julianne Hough joined the group for five seasons, there has been no real shakeup since the show began in 2005. It's time to mix things up. The judging was the most inconsistent it has ever been, and sometimes downright unfair. It's time to rotate at least one judge out for a season because it's the only element that has remained completely untouched from Season 1.


Once that issue is addressed, let's get a true sense of what a Judges' Save means. Does it mean focusing on the contestant's dance ability? Do they listen to America's vote? Should a contestant only be saved once or twice a season? The more DWTS hones in one what this save means, the clearer the save will be to the viewer. (We also agree the live voting situation needs to change, we covered that earlier in the season here.)


More: Looking Back at Macy's Stars of Dance on 'Dancing With the Stars'


The other area that needs to be attacked for Season 29 is creative control. While some pros don't mind having the concepts handed to them, other pros believe it isn't the most efficient way to showcase the talents of their contestants. It's possible to find a happy medium here, one that gives more artistic choices to the pros while letting the creative team offer their expertise and take some of the burden off the pros.


If there is one thing that resonated all season is family. Through the ups and the downs, though personal triumphs and tragedies, this cast was close. They didn't come to deliver the drama, this cast came to dance. And for that, we are thankful.

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