Poland dances and sings with “Dancing on Ice”

Shows where celebrities sing or dance have become the most popular on Polish commercial television. Now public television is joining in. Telewizja Polska SA’s “Dancing on Ice” program started last Friday.

Eleven singers, actors, television personalities, sports stars and other celebrities competed with each other in ice dancing. Each had a professional skating partner. Each win the celebrity with the lowest score must leave the competition until, finally, there is a winner. Half of a celebrity’s score each week comes from the marks of seasoned skating-competition judges. The other half comes from viewer voting.

“Dancing on Ice” is public TV’s answer to TVN’s smash hit “Dancing With the Stars,” or “Taniec z Gwiazdami.” The show, which airs at 20:00 on Sundays, has an audience of 7 mln. The show is in its sixth and last season. It started in the spring of 2005. Two former dancers, a popular singer and a well-known actress are the judges of “Dancing With the Stars.” They award scores on how well the contestants perform their dances from a technical standpoint and on the basis of other factors. Viewers’ voting accounts for half a contestant’s score. The celebrity with the lowest score each week must leave the program.

TVN also produces another show called “You Can Dance – Just Dance,” or “You Can Dance — Po Prostu Tancz.” The format is similar to “Dancing With the Stars,” but the contestants are not celebrities. The host is Kinga Rusin, a popular TV journalist who in 2006 won the fourth “Dancing With the Stars” competition. Italian dancer Stefano Terrazino was the partner of Rusin, who writes about film and is also a film producer. Rusin also won a special episode of the program — “Dancing with the Stars – the Most Beautiful Dances” (“Taniec z Gwiazdami – Najpiekniejsze Tance”). The contestants for “You Can Dance” were chosen during tryouts in Poland’s five biggest cities. They are assigned different dance styles and partners each week. Over the course of the competition they must dance to many kinds of music — salsa, jazz, hip hop, disco, pop, contemporary. The winner, chosen by judges and program viewers, will go to Broadway to learn to dance professionally.

Poles like to watch their non-singer idols try to sing as well as dance. Polsat, the other commercial television network, is in its second season of “How They Sing,” or “Jak Oni Spiewaja.” The Saturday show is a Polish version of America’s “Soapstar Superstar,” which has soap-opera actors performing in front of a celebrity panel. The judges rate the contestants’ singing ability, but viewers decide which song contestants will sing in the next round.Viewers also vote on which of the two contestants with the lowest scores each week will be eliminated.

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