Credit: Mike/Fame Pictures Photo: Maksim Chmerkovskiy at the DWTS Beach Party in Malibu on August 25, 2011

To be filed under: “Duh.” Real Dancing With the Stars fans could’ve told anyone this news years ago.

The New York Times is just catching up with the rest of the DWTS fans, writing about how the pros have eclipsed the celebrities amongst hardcore fans.

Sure, back when DWTS premiered in 2005  Bachelorette Trista Sutter was arguably a bigger star than her pro partner Louis Van Amstel but now many pros have bigger followings than their celebrity partners.

“There is this weird inversion of what the show was meant to be,” Conrad Green, an executive producer of the show, told the New York Times. “Now when our celebrity competitors meet their dance partners, it’s the celebrity who is star-struck.”

Host Tom Bergeron notes that sometimes the pro saves the celeb from being eliminated: “People at home sometimes vote more for the dancer than the star.”

More than sometimes. Maksim Chmerkovskiy could be partnered with a potted plant and last at least several weeks into the show. Same with Derek Hough, who has won DWTS three times at least partially because fans are voting to see more of his own dancing. And we’re going to openly admit that we’ve been voting for Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus because we want to see more of the cute Irish leprechaun — even though he has almost no Twitter following because he refuses to tweet.

Part of the pro power is the fact that DWTS is known for booking B- or C-list talent, as opposed to A-list celebrities who don’t have time for the grueling schedule and don’t need the potential career boost. The other, perhaps bigger part, is that after more than a dozen seasons dancing in our living rooms, the pros have become like family.

“It’s just like with a hit sitcom or drama, I guess,” Derek told the NYT. “Viewers really get to know and love the regulars, and guest stars come and go.”

Yes. Just don’t leave us again, Hottie Hough!

Source: The New York Times