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Back In The Limelight: Dwts Boosts Celebs Profile

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Back in the limelight

The Gold Coast Bulletin

19 April 2005

On the surface Channel Seven's hit show Dancing With the Stars looks like just another ballroom dancing competition. But, as film reporter Melanie Pilling writes, it is the perfect stage for ailing celebrities to resurrect their careers

THE celebrities on Dancing With the Stars must be loving the show as much as the viewers.

Rating in the top 10 every week with an average two million viewers, the second series has followed the same path as the debut last year, giving the celebs more exposure than their regular weekly gigs (if they have them at all).

For first-time viewers, it would be easy to dismiss DWTS as just another ballroom dancing competition, after all, that is the essence of the show.

But look a little closer and you find that the dancing is technically not that good and one half of the couple dancing is not a professional, but a celebrity.

Coincidence or not, many of the celebrities who have featured on both the first and second series have either been small-time celebs looking to elevate their status or those who are past their prime and don't want to let go of the fast-fading limelight.

The most obvious example is host Daryl Somers. Missing from TV land for five years, the former Hey, Hey It's Saturday host made the `gamble' to return to live hosting at the age of 54.

But it has paid off and now Daryl is looking at taking on more projects in 2005, including a third series of DWTS.

Sidekick Sonia Kruger, although there to offer her dancing expertise (she has been dancing since she was four and appeared as the bitchy Tina Sparkle in the 1992 movie Strictly Ballroom) has also profited from the role, increasing her profile dramatically.

But arguably the biggest beneficiary has been Bec Cartwright. After winning series one, Cartwright has gone from soap star to superstar.

Her character is now getting all the good storylines on Seven's Home and Away, she is currently pregnant and doesn't know who the father is - not to mention her Gold Logie nomination.

"She was just another soapie star and now suddenly she has shot to fame after winning Dancing With the Stars," said pop culture expert at Sunshine Coast University, Karen Brooks.

"Obviously getting engaged to Lleyton Hewitt helped, but a lot of has been from her appearance on the show. Dancing With the Stars is the perfect place for celebrities to get a bit of extra exposure, surely that is why they sign on.

"Plus they are putting themselves out there and viewers can see them in a different light from what they are used to on a week to week basis.

"We all appreciate risk taking and that is what they are doing. When a star leaves the spotlight, unlike the rest of us there's not many options and that's why we find them trying to get back in. Dancing With the Stars lets them do that."

Following on from Cartwright's success and equally that of the show, Seven is even talking about a dance off between the two champion pairs once the winner of the second series is decided tonight.

Former Gold Coast girl Holly Brisley has also had her career resurrected thanks to DWTS and she is the first to admit it.

Holly had been in the career doldrums but things are back on track with a role in soap staple Home and Away.

Brisley thanked Seven for reviving her career. "In Australia you don't have that many things that can catapult people into bigger and better things and Dancing with the Stars is the best machine for that, " she said.

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