The Dancing With the Stars Season 16 Week 5 side-by-side challenge, and the ensuing hype around the returning pros, really highlighted how much dedicated fans of the show have come to care for the professional dancers who return season after season. Heck, some people even vote for their favorite pros, not their favorite stars. How do the pros feel about that?
One pro who wasn't back for Week 5 was Louis van Amstel. He was asked to participate but was too busy, in part because he was dancing in the amazing Dance Legends show in NYC on Saturday, April 13, where he announced his retirement. Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with him at the event, and we asked how he feels about the pros' popularity.
"I'm happy that [fans] feel that way," he said enthusiastically.
Is he worried that fan dedication to the pros can take attention away from the celebrities, who are ostensibly the focus of the show? Not really, because whatever's going on seems to be working. "We're in Season 16," he pointed out. "I think it actually helps.
That said, Louis also explained that it's up to the pros to make sure it doesn't become all about them.
"I think the balance is that the pros themselves don't make it too much about themselves, that they don't lose track. It's still about, 'how good can my celebrity become?' And it's about the partnership and the chemistry between the partners, and not that the pro will just cover up for the celebrity."
He did admit that "sometimes" that balance goes wrong, and you do see pros dancing around their celebs instead of with them.
"But still," he concluded. "It's all about the ratings. As long as we have the ratings, we'll stay on the air!"
He has a point. Whether you're tuning in for the stars, the pros, or — ideally! — both, as long as the show is keeping you entertained, then it's doing its job.
For more about Dance Legends, including info on how to buy a DVD of the show, check out the website here.
Follow Louis van Amstel on Twitter @LouisVanAmstel.
Catch the next episode of Dancing With the Stars on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.