The popularity and press interest surrounding same-sex dancing pair Gili Shem Tov and Dorit Milman on Israel’s version of Dancing with the Stars has led to lots of speculation – including mine – that the US edition of the show will soon follow suit. One name bandied about as a possible celebrity is Portia de Rossi, although her wife Ellen DeGeneres reportedly thinks watching same-sex dancing is strange. A poll on Us Weekly reports that 60 percent of the almost 15,000 respondents would not watch a same-sex pair on the show.
Dancing is one of the country’s most popular programs, and its audience tends to skew older and more conservative than, say, Gossip Girl. Some of the celebrities who get the most votes on the show aren’t reality stars like The Situation or Audrina Patridge, they’re ’70s and ’80s icons like Donny and Marie Osmond. Although a poll in Us Weekly may seem innocuous, it’s a great way of letting Dancing‘s producers gauge whether casting a same-sex couple as a stunt would pay off or not. After all, as I’ve pointed out before, the show is no stranger to stunt casting – whether it’s a contestant with an artificial leg (Heather Mills) or one of the most hated women in America (hi, Kate Gosselin!). Is a 40/60 split of votes close enough to make producers think the gambit is worth it? Or will this idea just serve as publicity for the next season and never materialize?