(LOS ANGELES) — Dancing with the Stars finally returns Monday night for its enthralling 29th season.
Normally, the big news would be focused on the array of famous faces signed on to compete for the upcoming season, such as AJ McLean, Carole Baskin, Nelly — or even new host Tyra Banks. However, the attention this year is on the biggest challenge DWTS is facing in show history– the COVID-19 pandemic.
New host Banks sat down with ABC Audio to explain how the long-running dancing competition is completely prepared to ensure everyone’s health and safety, which called for big changes and sacrifices.
“There’s not going to be an audience. So that’s a huge difference,” the 46-year-old supermodel relayed. However, she says the married professional dancers face the biggest challenge because “they will have to live separately for the entire duration of the show” until both are no longer competing.
That’s not all that DWTS is doing to ensure no one contracts COVID-19, which Banks says has been intense.
“The amount of testing, the amount of safety, the police of like, ‘No, you guys are too close.’ The masks, the face shields, the pattern of how you’re supposed to walk…It was pretty impressive,” enlightened Banks. “I had never seen anything like that in my life.”
2020 has certainly challenged every profession, including television, which is why Banks says she finds the extensive preparations on DWTS so fascinating.
Even more impressive, she says there’s a plan for everything — even if one of the competitors, pro dancers or judges contract the novel coronavirus.
“There are things set up for, of course, if somebody tests positive…including me!,” she exclaimed. “The show must go on. The show will definitely go on.”
Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
By Megan Stone and Jason Nathanson
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