In this version of The Confessional, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: do the Team story producer Eric Reynolds writes about the show, i beg your pardon is premiering the 15th season and is CMT’s longest-running non-music show.

When one think of cult television, reflects likeTwin Peaks, Freaks and also Geeks, Party Down, and Doctor Who come to mind. However in the age of the Internet, and after countless articles, forums, and also recaps that currently exist in the internet cosmos, can it really be said that these mirrors are still taken into consideration “cult”? walk a present from the 90s retroactively burned its cult standing if fans and also streaming services permit it come become mainstream end the course of time?

And exactly how does the human being of unscripted/reality tv fit into this cult landscape? most reality shows, by nature, room meant because that mainstream consumption. Native MTV’s Real World/Challenge franchise to CBS’ dominance in the competitive formats to FOX’s singing/talent shows, it’s difficult to place any kind of of these shows right into the “cult” genre, as they room seen by millions and millions of human being every time castle air—and the evaluation by the many legacy and also independent media outlets.

It wasn’t till a few years back that ns started work-related on the 13th season the a long-running CMT reality collection that I concerned understand that cult fact TV was indeed a thing. I am a substantial fan of truth TV and also have been due to the fact that the year 2000. I store my finger top top the pulse the which truth shows are doing fine and try to watch every one of the major competition collection that ns can.

But i had entirely let Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: do The Team (CMT, Tuesdays in ~ 10) slip past me. The series premiered in 2006 and also takes an comprehensive look at the rigorous audition process that females go through to come to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.

The format is a competition hybrid. Some of the optimistic candidates that make it right into training camp annually are cut—by manager of the DCC Kelli Finglass and also head choreographer Judy Trammel, both former Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders themselves—until about 45 hopeful candidates have been reduced to a last squad the 36.

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A common season the the show starts with three episodes the cover the audition phase. In ~ the early preliminary auditions, everyone is welcome to authorize up and also audition through a freestyle routine of your choice. From there, about 100 or so women room selected for semi-finals, whereby they are given a pair hours to learn DCC-style choreography and then perform it that same day because that the dashboard of judges. Those who show that they can pick that up quick (and well) room invited come the Finals round. During Finals, all of the veteran DCC that room on the team return and also have to compete against the brand-new rookie candidates to organize on to their spot. (It’s a dominance that each veteran candidate has to re-audition every year and earn your spot back). After all of the rookie and also veteran finalists finish a panel interview, solo dance and perform the signature kickline ~ above the field, the judges select around 45 women to be main DCC training Camp candidates. At this stage, veterans can get reduced from the team in favor of rookies that come in with more power and/or better dance technique.

Once this audition step ends, the real display begins. We acquire to recognize each of the new TCC (training camp candidates) a little better with backstory packages, and get to view which that the veterans have actually improved because the previous season. Rehearsals occur every episode, with guest choreographers indigenous the large world of dance coming in to spring a new routines top top the contestants. When the DCC layout of run at its main point is strength pom, the females are often taught an ext emotional/lyrical styles of dance, as well. Kelli and also Judy (the director and also head choreographer) are trying to find a well-rounded group of females who have the right to not only perform, however be ambassadors because that the Dallas Cowboys organization as a whole. The DCC are more than just dancers; lock make many public appearances in and around Dallas, from hosting cheer camps because that young children to visiting VA hospitals to honor our veterans.

A reality show about cheerleaders, through 45 cast members

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Dallas Cowboys Cheerleadings: do the Team season 14 hopefuls in ~ tryouts (Photo by CMT)

Before I started working ~ above the show in season 13, i had small to no attention in the town hall a show around cheerleaders (nor had I even heard the this show). It properly stayed turn off of my radar because that over a decade, yet continually churned out brand-new seasons every year.

Many cheerleaders have went ~ above to appear in other reality shows, too. Starr Spangler, a DCC veteran who appeared on the show’s very very first season in 2006, walk on to victory The remarkable Race 13 v her brother. Melissa Rycroft, who was a DCC indigenous 2006 to 2007, go on to appear on The Bachelor once and Dancing with The Stars twice, wherein she finished up win Season 15. She also hosted CMT’s Redneck Island.

New producers space usually asked to watch a few episodes indigenous the vault year’s season before starting work top top a brand-new one. One is not required to it is in an professional on the show to get hired, but it doesn’t hurt! Personally, ns watched as many episodes as I might find before I began on season 13 so i was in-the-know any kind of time the judges would refer to previous seasons. There to be veteran cheerleaders from season 13 the were rookies together far back as season 9, and it’s good to understand their story so you deserve to flash back to moments that demonstrate how far they’ve come in their DCC journey.

When i became fully immersed in the world of DCC, it ended up being clear to me just exactly how much that a “cult” display this actually was. Right here was a show that had actually an obsessive/rabid fanbase (check the Primetimer forums for proof) the was essentially ignored by the mainstream.

While the display does cater much more to viewers who room interested in dance-oriented programming, that still packs a the majority of drama and also fun right into each season that can be evaluate by any kind of fan of fact TV. (Seasons 1 come 13 are on CBS every Access.)

Something that deserve to be a little intimidating is the sheer size of each actors that comes through the show. There are 45 females who are competing, and while each brand-new season often tends to focus much more on the rookie candidates for the year, there are regularly season-long story arcs for veterans that can be top top the team as lengthy as six or 7 years.

Also, women who are cut from training camp and also don’t make the team one year frequently return to try again in complying with years. There room some good comeback stories and also there space some frustrating hopefuls that never ever seem to improve.

Despite the huge number that characters, you really do acquire to know the females as much more than just cheerleaders. Many of castle have full-time jobs external of gift a DCC, which is a full time job itself. These women job-related in law, together doctors and veterinarians, as ASL translators, and also of course, together dance teacher to the numerous young girls that look approximately them.

Also, rivals are eligible to be reduced for any kind of reason and also at any allude during cultivate camp. When formatted competition shows like Survivor traditionally have actually one elimination at the end of every episode, DCC: do The Team deserve to have lot of eliminations in ~ any suggest during one episode. Or, like The impressive Race, there may be non-elimination episodes. This unpredictability variable adds one more layer the suspense that helps collection this display apart indigenous others.

In a typical season, the display will premiere ~ above TV prior to the display has perfect filming, so it can be challenging for the producers and also editors come predict that will be the season’s breakout characters, or that will make it far yet ultimately get cut in the end. (Seasons often tend to be videotaped from May-September, v the show premiering around August 1).

Field and also post producers have absolutely zero intake on i beg your pardon of the ladies make the team. It’s a fun an obstacle that regularly leads to part shocking eliminations, and also is a testament to just how real this collection is.

Before the show premiered ~ above CMT in 2006, the audition and also training camp process was currently happening. While countless competition series like Survivor and also Big Brother room specifically created TV, the DCC audition and training camp procedure would take place regardless of even if it is camera crews to be there or not.

Another interesting tidbit around the present is the in its last three seasons (12, 13, and also 14), the present has increased its audience a little bit every year. While many legacy reality collection still execute well, it’s no secret that network TV has actually been losing viewership steadily over the critical decade. Because that this little-known cable show to continually improve its numbers each year is no tiny feat.

Season 13 in 2018 observed 18-year-old Victoria audition to it is in a DCC for the an initial time. Victoria’s mother, Tina, cheered with DCC manager Kelli Finglass in the 80s. When Victoria endured to cultivate camp, that soon ended up being clear the she to be not quite ready to it is in on the team. Her dancing to be powerful, but sloppy. She had actually a fun personality, however was young and also inexperienced (at one etiquette lesson, she believed that quail was seafood). Yet week after week, Victoria preserved surviving elimination. Hardcore fans were upset by what they reputed to be blatant nepotism (Kelli’s friendship v Victoria’s mommy being carried up over and also over), yet were shocked to see Victoria finally got rid of in the penultimate episode of the season.

She returned the following year in Season 14 together a stronger, much more polished dancer, and seemingly unphased through the vault year. It was clear the she had taken time to job-related on she weaknesses, and also the little girl indigenous the ahead season was now blossoming right into a well-rounded woman. She ended up do the team in 2019 and is among the most recognizable cheerleaders on the formation today.

While the show is fun and often light-hearted, the does not come without criticism. Among the key reasons the Victoria was reduced at the finish of Season 13 was since of her physical appearance. The DCC are critiqued heavily on how they look, from how big their hair is to just how toned your stomachs are. It’s important for them to it is in in shape, however however important their body have the right to be to whether or no a confident makes the team, it deserve to still it is in cringey to watch a veteran get cut from the team for looking heavier 보다 she had actually in vault seasons.

It’s essential to note that this is no necessarily an facet that’s specific to the DCC; the entire civilization of experienced dance comes v these type of physics critiques. Kelli and Judy were both DCC themselves, and also are pretty perceptible to these worries when lock come up. They do their finest to warn females who room on the chopping block, and are at threat of being reduced in stimulate to provide them time to correct whatever worries they may have. And also if the squad has some issues with a cheerleader’s appearance yet she is still excellent in all other aspects of the job, she will likely retain her spot.

Season 15 was filmed this past summer throughout the pandemᎥc, an interpretation the whole production took place inside of a bubble—the Gaylord Texan Resort— for this reason cast and also crew lived together reduced off native the outside civilization while castle filmed the show.

A significant thing we hear native a many fans is the they want to acquire to know the cheerleaders better, which deserve to be an overwhelming when the layout of the display largely concentrates on run rehearsals. It’s tough because our manufacturing team precise films around the DCC’s schedule, and also most of the cheerleaders are currently working full-time and then coming directly to exercise afterwards.

Access deserve to be a problem that is frequently out that our control in post. Things were a bit different this year, though, together the candidates were all in one hotel during the whole filming process. But rest assured, us always shot to do as lot as we can exterior of rehearsals to provide each candidate their own unique story.

A bigger readjust that was made partially as result of the pan was how editors cut together dance sequences. A couple of seasons back, a common dance sequence on the display was full of tighter, close-up shots. That looked great, yet it was hard to phone call which girls were nailing the choreography. Last year, we began leaving vast shots of thegroup dances up longer and also it assisted a lot through showcasing who was excelling versus that was struggling.While every season tends to emphasis on the year’s brand-new rookie candidates, that seems prefer fans want to see just as lot (if no more) that the veteran candidates that they’ve gained to understand from before.

We shot to be mindful of giving every one of the females their moments to shine as soon as the opportunity arises, and also really, they every deserve it! periodically there space one or 2 girls the we usage a lot of (see the DCC Wikia’s confessional rankings) since they give an excellent soundbites or simply provide an excellent TV moments, therefore while it deserve to sometimes seem like producers are shoving a select couple of candidates under their throats, it’s mainly just due to the fact that those space the girls that make us laugh or smile in that moment.

Post manufacturing was taken on remotely, and also each of the producers and editors functioned from home to modify this upcoming season.

Editing remotely from residence was how amazing much more seamless 보다 I believed it would certainly be! The whole filming/post process was delay by a couple of months as production established how they could safely put together this season, but once it started up, that was essentially the same procedure from once we to be in an office. Some mirrors will provide hard drives of clip to your house, however for DCC, we controlled our work computers from our houses via remote access software.

All the the producers and editors had Zoom meetings in ~ the start of the week and then combination via email/text messages together we reduced the episodes. It was a little bit sad not being able to be with each other (we all acquire along!) however were thankful that our production agency gave united state the possibility to occupational from home. Also, a lot of the producers and editors have operated on the display for a while—our most an elderly editor has been on since season 8 in 2013—so we recognize the style of the show and how to make it work, which definitely helped keep us ~ above schedule and meet every one of our deadlines.

The layout has stayed reasonably the same, with the exception of holding online auditions via internet videos this year. Because that season 15, the normal audition phase is basically skipped since they choose their training camp candidates kind their audition videos. The very first episode will jump right into the start of this previous summer’s cultivate camp experience.

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When Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: making The Team premiered in 2006, the TV see was various than it was today. Ago then, network truth programming to be booming and every cable network was desperate to have their very own hit reality collection to present off.

Since then, many collection have come and also gone, but this one has actually defied the odds and also hung about for longer than a show around cheerleaders may have been expected to. The women who audition space passionate, dynamic, and intelligent—and those of united state who work on the display love it and do their ideal to lug you one exciting new season every year.