Amateurs strut their stuff on NBC's 'Dancing With Myself'
NBC's "Dancing With Myself" isn't necessarily all about skill. But it can be a distinct advantage.
That's the take-away from the eight-episode competition series that premieres Tuesday, May 31, in which 12 contestants vie in five rounds of high-energy dance challenges that test their creativity, improvisational skills and ability to choreograph and learn dances that were designed by celebrity creators Shakira, Nick Jonas, Liza Koshy and host Camille Kostek.
Isolated in pods, the dancers have a limited amount of time to learn the dances and then perform them for a studio audience, who in each episode vote on the winner of a cash prize.
The series is inspired by social media and the millions who log on to watch the latest dance crazes. John Irwin, who executive produces the series for Irwin Entertainment, says it's yet another product of the pandemic, where people isolated in their homes found a new way of entertaining themselves via that new standby, Zoom.
"DJs across the world are holding these house parties," he explains, "and you have people from all over the world getting on the same Zoom that essentially turned into a cyber house party. And then out of that came this whole phenomenon of people shooting themselves on TikTok doing dances, and then suddenly celebrities got on board and it just became this crazy phenomenon that took over, literally, the world."
The contestants here, Irwin notes, are from all walks of life and range in age from preschoolers to people in their 70s. And though some are quite polished, none are professional dancers, just people who love to dance and would be inclined to post their dance videos on TikTok and other platforms. All have larger-than-life personalities, which Irwin says come out in their performances.
"Sometimes you'll see somebody on TikTok who certainly is not the best dancer," he explains, "but there's just something about what they're doing, and maybe it's what they're wearing or how they look or just the personality you feel from them that gets them five or six million likes. And so we've definitely sort of captured that same essence. ... It's a very fun watch."
Shakira's passion for dance and the success of her 2021 video "A Girl Like Me" provided some impetus for "Dancing With Myself" (she is also an executive producer here), and Irwin hopes the show will spur viewers to give the dances a try.
"People tried to (emulate) what she was doing on the dance and went so far as to dress like her," he says. "I mean, it really kind of took off. So, I think that part of our hope here is that we will be able to get some level of social engagement where this show motivates people to get off their couch and actually post the dance online and some of these things become viral sensations."