After sixteen seasons, Dancing With The Stars has it down to a science, and this season’s cast seems to have it all: an athlete (Keyshawn Johnson), an older icon (Valerie Harper), a surprise pick (Bill Nye) and even one for the MTV crowd (Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi) — but contestants Elizabeth Berkley and Corbin Bleu have been slapped with another label by fans — ringers — due to their extensive dance training and Broadway experience.
“It’s not fair!” veteran stage producer Brian Howie tells RadarOnline.com exclusively. “They have the muscle memory about the ways to do this. I think it’s dishonest that [the show doesn't] level the playing field.”
While it’s unclear how much of their past each contestant will divulge on the show, Elizabeth has admitted, “I was blessed enough to have parents that got me into dance from a very young age. I don’t know if they knew that it was going to be something that I was going to devote my whole life to. … When they noticed pretty early on, though, that I had a propensity for it, as well as a desire to do it almost on a daily basis — which then turned into about 17 lessons a week — it was me pushing and driving them … It’s been a profound thing in my life.”
And it didn’t stop when she grew up: Elizabeth famously called upon her dance training for her role in cult classic Showgirls back in 1995, and even met her husband, Greg Lauren, in a dance class in 2000.
Twenty-four-year-old Corbin has been similarly devoted to dance during his career since beginning jazz and ballet lessons around age the age of two.
He was one of the first students accepted to the prestigious Debbie Allen Dance Academy as a teen, and put those skills to work in High School Musical in 2006. Four years later, he danced on Broadway as a star of In The Heights and just one year after that, he made it to the results show for Season 13 of Dancing With The Stars in 2011.
No, that’s not a typo.
Corbin was featured on the show as an invited soloist, dancing and singing to the choreography of HSM‘s Kenny Ortega and the Macy’s Stars of Dance, who have also danced background for DWTS pro Derek Hough. Corbin received a standing ovation from the crowd, as well as from judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli, who waved a handkerchief in excitement. Watch the video below:
Having trained dancers like Elizabeth and Corbin compete “defeats the purpose of this show being a positive experience to celebrate dance,” Howie says.
“Almost everybody I’ve ever talked to who’s been on this show thinks it’s the greatest experience of their lives and they don’t want it to end. If people are already standing at the line way in front of you on day one, how are you supposed to have any confidence going into it? There’s so much more pressure. It’s not fair.”
Fans of the show agree, and erupted in angry rants on Twitter, also calling out cast member Christina Milian, who had a short-lived pop career.
— Cheereo50 (@cw001956) September 4, 2013
Why are they letting Corbin Bleu do Dancing with the Stars? That’s just not fair to the others #suchagooddancer
— Amanda Doughty (@onelousyllama) September 4, 2013
Elizabeth Berkley is a TRAINED DANCER. How is that even remotely fair? #DWTS
— Robert Pless (@absolute_robert) September 4, 2013
I don’t get how DWTS thinks it’s fair to have ppl like Christina Milian and Corbin Bleu who sing/dance for a living compete against Snooki
— Vicky Bruce (@trickyvicky64) September 4, 2013
Ok Corbin Blue is already a good dancer…….really??? Kinda not fair
— Ronda Wilkinson (@Ronda_fromNash) September 4, 2013
how is Christina Milian on Dancing With The Stars even fair??? looks like I’ll be boycotting THAT show, this season!
— Gamboa Constrictor (@GamboaCon) September 4, 2013
Corbin Bleu is gonna be on dancing with the stars…. How is that fair?
— abby eilermann (@abbyeilermann) September 4, 2013
Corbin Bleu doesn’t seem like a fair choice
— Jonell (@JoeMulatto) September 4, 2013
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!