Sunday, 13 February 2011


Private network TF1 aired yesterday the premiere of Danse avec les Stars, the French adaptation of BBC Worldwide's global hit format Dancing with the Stars (Strictly come Dancing in the UK).

Licensed to more than 30 countries, this format teams up celebrities with professional dance partners competing in Ballroom and Latin dances in front of three judges, and viewers can vote. Co-produced by BBC Worldwide and TF1 Production, Danse avec les Stars arrives in France six years after TF1 tried a similar concept/format called Celebrity Dancing.

The contestants are former model Adriana Karembeu, former football player David Ginola, stage actress Marthe Mercadier (82 years), singer M Pokora, Spanish actress Rossy de Palma, composer, jazz pianist and former French Pop Idol judge André Manoukian, singer Sofia Essaïdi (who was a contestant in Celebrity Dancing), and comedian Jean-Marie Bigard. They team up with dance pros Fauve Hautot, Katrina Patchett, Grégoire Lyonnet, Julien Brugel, Silvia Notargiacomo, Candice Pascal, Maxime Dereymez and Christophe Licata.

The show is hosted by Sandrine Quétier and Vincent Cerutti. And the judges are dancer and actress Alessandra Martines, Salsa world champion Chris Marques (who worked on Strictly), and Canadian dancer and choreographer Jean-Marc Généreux (judge on the Canadian edition of So You Think You Can Dance). And the voice-over is provided by France's most reputed voice-over and dubbing artist Richard Darbois. French-speaking voice of Harrison Ford, Danny Glover or Richard Gere, Darbois is also the voice of radio station NRJ and the gaullic equivalent of American trailer God and voice-over master Don LaFontaine.

In spite of high production values and an astute celebrity casting, the entertaining Danse avec les Stars won the evening with only 4.840.000 viewers and a 23,9% share. There are certainly adjustments to be done with the young hosts (Quétier is 40 and Cerutti is 30) and the judges, who both often recall the French Got Talent instead of Strictly. Don't forget that in Reality TV it's the jury who makes the programme strictly worth watching, the judges who makes the "stars" dance. Ask the amazing Craig Revel Horwood, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. (Official site - In French) (Ratings - In French)

Update (February 20):

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