‘Dancing with the Stars’ dropping its orchestra

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11:15 am EDT, February 4, 2014

by Irvin K

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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