Welcome to Dance Off, where stars and pros dance Latin and ballroom dances to earn money for the charity of their choice. Sound a lot like Dancing with the Stars? Well, that’s because it is a lot like Dancing with the Stars, just with charities and fictional stars.
This season on Dance Off, we have JC Webster, Olympic swimmer and gold medal winner, and Olivier Gautier, pro rugby player, along with a Miss America winner, a bigoted radio host, and more in a group of mostly B-list celebrities. JC is out as a bisexual, but Olivier has kept his sexuality hidden – it’s no one’s business but his own.
Attraction at first sight between JC and Olivier turns to lust, and in turn to a deeper emotional connection as the competition progresses, but with the cameras always on and rolling, how can either make an advance without giving it all away? And as the show comes to a close, the inevitability of their separation looms overhead. And neither are quite sure what they want to do about it.
I’m not big on reality shows, but I absolutely adore the dancing competitions. I’ve watched Dancing with the Stars for years, and love watching the stars improve. While in the show, the scores matter, they were sadly overdone here. The descriptions of the dances were hit or miss for me – as the story went on, I felt like there was a lot more attention on the competition than the romance. That being said, I did enjoy the bits of a relationship we got to see. Unfortunately it just needed more – and that’s the main reason I didn’t give it a higher grade than this. I wanted fewer scores and more scoring, as it were.
Overall, it was a little too close to the actual competition to work well for me. If I skimmed through the scores and the comments from the competition judges, the story is fast and fun. The judges are almost exactly the DWTS judges, down to similar names, nationalities and personalities, same with the hosts. There’s just a bit too much the same for my preferences.
Now, it sounds like I didn’t like it very much, but I actually did – it’s a quick read, an interesting dynamic, and not something I’d seen before. JC is a great, well-rounded character – he has survived bullying as a kid and an out athlete, and come out the other side stronger. We get a little less about Olivier, but he has understandable reasons to be reticent about coming out of the proverbial closet. The two of them together seem to have a healthy relationship, as short as it is, and things progress fairly naturally, even if in a shortened time frame, since they know they have a limited time in the competition.
We do get a variety of other characters as part of the show, but other than JC’s family, they are fairly one-dimensional. They’re fun, but only necessary as far as the competition goes. JC’s abuela, though – she’s a hoot! I adored her.
In the end, I’d say there was more good than bad. I am definitely planning on looking for more by these authors, to see what else they are capable of – I just will be staying away from any more reality show stories they may have. I’m not big on pop culture references as main portion of a plot.