To Jazz or Not to Jazz? That is the 'Dancing with the Stars' Question
To Jazz or Not to Jazz? That is the 'Dancing with the Stars' Question
Scott Taylor
Scott Taylor
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
There have been a couple firsts on this season of Dancing with the Stars. In season 16, Disney star Zendaya Coleman has become the youngest competitor in the show's history. This has turned out to be a great decision, bringing in some younger viewers, while also incorporating a star that has quickly shown to be one of the best dancers this season. ABC also decided to make a small yet significant addition to the show by adding more contemporary dances like Jazz.

ABC's move may seem like a minor deal to casual fans, but to dance fans, this was a big move. There must of been a reason why it took Dancing with the Stars 16 seasons to incorporate Jazz into the show right?

Knowing Your Ballroom Dance

Before getting into the argument over whether or not Dancing with the Stars should have added Jazz to its week two dance options for competitors, it's important to know what the difference is between more traditional ballroom dances and Jazz.

Ballroom dances, which are routinely performed on Dancing with the Stars consist of an array of different dancing sub groups like the Jive, Foxtrot, Cha-cha-cha, Quickstep, Tango, Waltz and so on. This is why each week dancing pairs have to either choose or get a specific ballroom dance to perform. Now, admittedly, the specifics of these dances are beyond my expertise. ABC actually gives a very good rundown of the history behind all the different ballroom dances on their website if you're interested. However, what I do know is that Jazz dance can be a very different animal.

Knowing Your Jazz Dance


Jazz is a compilation of a broad range of styles with the origins often being tinkered with over time to accommodate modern day moves. Jazz dance began in the early 1900's with the original dance coming from leaps, turns, kicks, and Jazz hands. The important thing to consider with Jazz and Dancing with the Stars is that the dance allows for a lot of improvisation and creativity, focusing more on emotion than style.

Check Out: The Cons of Being a New Pro on DWTS

Jazzing Up Dancing with the Stars

Jazz was performed for the very first time during the week two performances of DWTS. Three teams were given the task of performing Jazz. They were NFL player Jacoby Jones and Karina Smirnoff, comedian Andy Dick and Sharna Burgess, and country music star Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough.

All three teams got solid scores from the judges with Kellie and Derek tying for the week two high score with a 26. Jacoby and Karina pulled in a 23, while Andy and Sharna received a 20.

There has been some criticism of the dance routine on the show. There are some who say the dance doesn't focus on style and technique as much as the more traditional ballroom dances. This was never more apparent than in these three routines. However, can't both have a spot on Dancing with the Stars?

Len Doesn't Get Jazz


One judge in particular has seemed a little more critical of the Jazz dance routines. Len Goodman, who also happens to be the most critical of the judges in general, has mentioned the lack of technique and showiness incorporated in the dance. The numbers do seem to back that up as Len gave a point lower than Bruno and Carrie Ann for each Jazz team performance in week two.

I'm sure for dancing purists, there may be an argument for keeping Jazz dance out of the competition, but I couldn't disagree more. As someone who enjoys entertainment, whether it is music, movies, TV, dance, etc., I want to be entertained. This can be said I'm sure for the millions of people who tune into Dancing with the Stars every week, purist or not. This is why I am thrilled Jazz was brought onto the show.

Related: How to Make DWTS Feel New Again 

It Doesn't Get Better Than Jazz

In my opinion, the Jazz dances were the most entertaining. Andy Dick clearly isn't the best dancer and he isn't going to become the best dancer before the end of the show. What Andy is; however, is a great entertainer, and by being allowed to improvise and use his comedic skills with Jazz, he blew away the audience. Even Len said it was "fun!"

Fun is exactly why I think Jazz needs to stay in Dancing with the Stars. It allows the less talented dancers like Andy Dick improvise and entertain to try and stay in the competition while the better dancers like Kellie Pickler can still absolutely knock it out of the park. Kellie and Derek's week two dance may have been the best performance of the season so far.

Why not continue with all the Jazz? Why can't we have both ballroom and Jazz? I personally love it and I think its adds another much needed dimension to the show. It also may bring in a wider audience who enjoy more creativity and improvisation in their dance routines. What do you think?



Add the BuddyTV Guide app to your phone now to stay up to date with season 16 of Dancing with the Stars.

(Image courtesy of ABC) 


News from our partners