Sabrina Teh, Luke Shorter and Daphne Zhang
The promising reality TV show Dance Boss hit 600,000 views when the pilot first aired seven months ago, so why did it bomb out almost immediately? Contestant Yasuph Shrestha and the Post Production Editor of Dance Boss have disclosed what really went wrong behind a closed curtain.
“We put a callout for workplace dance teams, and it went viral!,” an excited Dannii Minogue claimed as the first episode of her widely anticipated reality dance venture aired on Channel Seven.
Minogue has stated her intention was purely to combine millennials and their occupations with dance and showbiz.
The show sees twelve teams of workers performing for a panel of judges for the chance to win $100,000. The public’s reception to Dance Boss has been primarily negative. The program itself being condemned by twitter users, labelling it as “the worst show on TV” with users suggesting Dannii orchestrated the program against her will.
But with a panel of all star judges and a new and original concept, why did ratings fall by almost 60% from the pilot to the show’s finale? While there have been many theories as to what contributed to Dance Boss’s failure as a reality TV program, contestant Yasuph Shrestha and post-production crew member Ivan Lipanovic make it clearer.
Shrestha, a former contestant from the “Marketing Team”, admitted that team conflict contributed to the show’s failure. He exposed the difficulties of filming with other teams claiming that competitiveness lead to many hostilities.
“Behind the scenes, to be honest I feel like a lot of the contestants were trying to dog [backstab] our team a lot and they’d say things like ‘oh the marketing boys aren’t up to any good’”, Shrestha said. “One day we were in the hotel room messing around and doing things and I put it on my Snapchat story and someone from another team wrote an email to the head producer saying we did drugs in the hotel room and put it on our Instagram and we had a meeting with the head producer”.
The internal conflict between the contestants extended through to failed romances which according to Shrestha caused many problems in rehearsals.
“One of the boys from the Medical Team was seeing one of the girls from the Maccas Team and he told her ‘I can’t do anything with you because I want to focus on the comp’”, Shrestha said. “She was so cut and then he started doing stuff with a girl from the Zookeepers Team, and that girl got so cut. Lots of romantic problems.”
The production team also struggled to maintain strong relationships with the contestants which led to disorganisation and the inability to schedule rehearsals.
“We didn’t go to a dressing day once because we were interstate competing at a dance comp and we didn’t tell them and they [producers] hated us for that. Also I was late to a shoot,” Shrestha recalled.
Producer bias also played a key factor in selecting teams to go through, instead of judging based on talent or considering audience favourites.
“To go far on a reality TV show you have to be really good with the producers”, Shrestha said. “We were favourites but we ruined it because we’d always f##k around”.
Shrestha also said that to appease to the public and their views, the show was staged to look inclusive rather than expert, with the judges choosing a female team in the finale due to behind the scenes accusations of sexism. These included accusations of men on the show receiving more screen time and publicity due to their ‘dick points’ and not merit.
When asked if he knew at what point the show was in trouble, Shrestha said the realisation came with the release of the first episode. “It’s usually the biggest episode and it was received like meh”.
The show’s final two episodes were condensed into one, making what was supposed to be an eight-part show into six. An email stating “because of poor viewing, we’re going to put the last few episodes together” sent to the contestants by the producers was a large indication of the show going south. According to viewers, it was apparent the final episode was cut and pasted.
Post Production Editor of Dance Boss, Ivan Lipanovic, revealed that the last minute effort from post production to squeeze the final episodes together was “only the tip of the iceberg” in reference to the mountain of post production issues. “We had footage missing, cards not working and stuff like that” said Lipanovic.
The experienced editor, having worked on House Rules, My Kitchen Rules and The Block, stated his reasoning behind why he though Dance Boss failed “The concept wasn’t original enough and therefore people were automatically comparing and being disappointed”. This directly reflected the tv ratings of Dance Boss, which by the final episode had one million less viewers than The Block (The number one viewed reality TV show at the time).
Lipanovic compared the different post production environments “Working on Dance Boss was chaos compared to working on The Block. There was no structure and nobody really knew what they were doing”. He also noted that often both live and post production struggled to fix the constant mistakes made by the judges “When they were revealing the final scores, they did it in the wrong order so they went on for twenty minutes and they had to reset everything”.
However, both Lipanovic and Shrestha agreed that despite the multiple errors made by the production crew, it was the contestants and judges that ultimately decreased the show’s ratings. “She (Dannii) often made mistakes on the floor, she called them Dannii Mino-no’s”, said Lipanovic.