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By hpboy13 at 11:15 am, February 4, 2014 | Reviewed by Karen Rought

News by You

After 17 seasons of devoted service, DWTS Musical Director Harold Wheeler and his orchestra will depart the show.

In their stead, it seems there will be a small electronic band, as well as prerecorded songs playing like they started to last season.

This is allegedly all to appeal to a younger demographic, but more likely DWTS is just trying to cut costs. The show is not as successful as it once was (few shows are a decade into their run), and the only way it’ll stay on air is if it’s cheaper to make. Hence no more results shows, and now no more orchestra.

If we had to guess, the wardrobe department will be slashed next – the dancers have been wearing progressively less and less throughout the seasons, so it’s only a matter of time before they are strutted out in nothing but bedazzled underwear to appeal to a younger demographic.

The American Federation of Musicians is understandably up in arms about this, but fan reaction seems to be mixed. The DWTS band has occasionally been known to butcher songs – like their infamous slaughter of Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” a few years back (that was so bad, they brought Train onto a results show within a week to do a proper rendition). On the other hand, they usually do a decent job, and sometimes give us really interesting covers of songs. Recall how they made Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” into an epic tango.

But most of all, the orchestra seems an integral part of the madcap mayhem that is Dancing with the Stars. They always got into the spirit of things – like when Harold Wheeler wore full-on Kiss makeup for Rock-n-Roll Night. So Harold Wheeler and company, you will be missed! In our opinion, they all deserve honorary Mirrorball Trophies for their years of devoted service.

Will you miss the Harold Wheeler Band? Or are you happy to see the back of them? And how thrown do you think you’ll be by their absence next season?

Thanks, EW.

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  • http://lauraej.tumblr.com/ Laura Jurgensmeyer

    That’s actually one of the biggest reasons I’ve never liked this show, because I felt the orchestra/music was so cheesy. Maybe I’ll like it more with the change.

  • Riana-Tiana Menezes

    “So it’s only a matter of time before they are strutted out in nothing but bedazzled underwear to appeal to a younger demographic”
    Lol, I don’t know whether I should laugh hysterically or cry because that actually might happen.

  • Elle Lisa

    As a 20 year old musician, I am rather upset that they are taking away the orchestra. I haven’t watched DWTS very much over the past few seasons honestly, but I have fond memories of watching probably the first five with my mom. I do fall into the young demographic and yet, I believe having a fantastic orchestra like that really brought some of the performances to life, even if it was just when I was watching recordings of it online.

    As a bit of a side note, a mistake is bound to happen once in a blue moon to even the most extinguished musicians. However, using the example of Hey Soul Sister by Train to explain this was not a valid point, in my opinion. Especially when said that Train later came to perform it. I do like many songs by them, but it leaves something to be desired when Train performs live I think.

  • Alonzo Watson

    I heard Dance with the Stars is getting rid of the band. This is a big mistake. If they want a younger demographic get younger contestants! Getting rid of the band takes the class right out of the show. This watered down version of the show will not get the demographic they are looking for. It will only alienate the loyal fans. This use to be a great show that the whole family could watch. Every since they lost Macy’s sponsorship, they’ve been running scared and grasping at straws to find a new formula. I realize that it is difficult to
    competing with shows such as American Idol, The Voice and So You Think You Can dance but using the band as a
    reason or scapegoat for lack of viewership by the younger audience is ludicrous! It is no secret that the shows mentioned above, attract a younger audience but partly that is due to the fact that
    they have younger contestants! Yet neither of the shows have the class or enjoy the prestige of having a live band… That is what puts Dance with the Stars in a class by itself and above the rest! I believe it is possible to gain a young demographic with out watering down the show and
    snubbing or showing a blatant disregard for the loyal fans who have kept this show on the air for 9 years! Here are a few suggestions:
    1. Keep the band!
    2. Get younger contestants!!
    3. Acquire an interactive web presents (The younger demographic have to be engaged because they often multitask their show watching experience.
    4. Add behind the scenes, bonus tracks, games and other supplemental material that can spark their interest so that they can connect to the show.
    These are just a few ideas .. I’m sure there are marketing firms that can assist in incorporating a new demographic while maintaining the current viewers! Just a thought !

    Disney use to pride it self in preserving the arts and Enlightening each generation with the the joy of true instruments with live organic music by talented performers. Now they seem to be abandoning the quality that made them, all for a chance of a short term profit. By using artificial sounds programmed by electronic band. This takes the life right out of the music. Music is a expression of feeling through sound created by a human. It can move a person straight to their soul. It engage their mind and leaves a lasting impression. Electronic programmed music dose not last because it can not move a person. Why because it has no soul, it’s not from a human but from a machine. Disney needs to remember their roots and not follow but lead. Stay true to the arts and quality that stands the test of time.

    Dancing with the Stars with out Harold Wheelers orchestra and Singers
    is like the Ice Capades with out the Ice

    is the one bit of class we have left for all to see.

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