A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Viewers are exposed to basic dance terminology. Positive representation of teamwork, learning from mistakes, and overcoming adversity.
Contestants seem genuinely excited at the opportunity to learn a new skill in dancing. Some take to it with greater success than others do, and there's disappointment in failing to move forward in the competition, but overall the experience is a positive one that encourages teamwork and the willingness to step outside comfort zones. While winning is the ultimate goal, it's obvious the experience is the greatest reward. Much diversity exists in the cast, which includes both boys and girls.
Positive Role Models
Everyone involved in teaching and encouraging the contestants keeps a positive attitude through the ups and downs. They work with the kids' physical strengths and unique personalities to showcase their abilities. Judges give honest feedback in kind ways, and other contestants cheer on their efforts.
Products & Purchases
The show is a spin-off of Dancing with the Stars and features many participants from the original series as mentors and judges. Contestants' other endeavors (acting, music, modeling, etc.) receive mention in some segments.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is very similar to Dancing with the Stars in structure but features teams of child and young teen stars and professional dancers. Contestants come from a range of backgrounds, from fame by association like NBA great Scottie Pippen's daughter Sophia to reality TV notoriety like Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson. As such, their dance abilities and ease in the spotlight varies greatly, but all seem to genuinely enjoy the experience of learning to dance and competing on this big stage. Contestants must learn to work with their partners and their adult mentors/choreographers and to step outside of their comfort zones to take chances on the floor. Judges encourage but offer honest criticism when its warranted, and all of the cast members show sportsmanship in victory and defeat.
Is It Any Good?
This exuberant spin-off of a long-running reality competition favorite is a genuinely enjoyable watch, thanks to the enthusiastic young cast of stars and pros. There's a decided absence of hesitation among the contestants who, regardless of their dance skills (or lack thereof) coming into the competition, throw themselves into training and performing with gusto. Even when their stage work gets a little off beat, they obviously have fun doing it and seem to revel in the opportunity to learn something new. The whole package makes for great family entertainment.
The only thing missing in Dancing with the Stars: Juniors is audience involvement that helps drive the drama of the contest. Because eliminations are determined onsite by the judges and the live audience, viewers at home are left without any say in the results, which is a big miss for a show that has such broad appeal for families. Even so, there's a lot to like about the contestants' enthusiasm for the challenge, the diversity among the cast members that defies stereotypes about dancing, and the lessons in teamwork and perseverance that the endeavor holds for them. Oh, and the dancing itself is pretty spectacular considering many of the juniors are grade-school age.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.