‘Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team’ recap — Season 11 Premiere

Great news, O fellow fans of guilty pleasure shows chock full of girls with identical hairstyles and tear-streaked faces who’re hoping to live out their unattainable dreams in front of a cameraman who’s currently shooting his own, I’ve got a show for us to dish over for the next couple of months. And while it doesn’t have roses or fantasy suite sex or statement necklaces or an unlimited supply of chardonnay, it’s still incredible.
And unimaginable.
And inspiring.
And insulting.
And intense.
And objectionable.
It’s basically one big contradiction after another, which is fitting because after watching you’ll kind of hate yourself for loving it.

The journey to make the team — the “often imitated but never duplicated” team of America’s Sweethearts that apparently every girl who’s ever danced aspires to be a part of — is grueling. I’d say it’s ugly, but all it takes is one minute of watching to see that every girl is a stunning replica of the next. Don’t worry though, they’re like on a level of stunning that is so entirely unattainable you won’t even feel inadequate.

But the journey is rough, ya’ll.
These girls have to deal with not only the intense — intense — physical aspect of training (ironically the saying applies — If dancing were easy they’d call it football) but also the daily objectification and oftentimes cruel remarks from the coaches while keeping their expressions pleasant and their lipgloss fresh. Watching what they endure will make you admire them, feel sorry for them, and ultimately just want to give them a hug and a cheeseburger. And yes, I know that the coaches are trying to build the best dance team in all the land and that they’re tough because the team’s high standards and white polyester panties demand it, but hey, sitting here on the couch I don’t have to like it.

So go throw on your prettiest pair of sweats, forget about the donut you ate for breakfast, and let’s start making this team.

DCC Recap 1


All opinions given are my own, and while my years as a recreational and high school pom-line dancer back in the 80s may not give me the qualification to make judgments about the harsh criticism and objectification I see, the fact that I’m a human being does. 

There’s a storm raging, and while we surprisingly don’t see dance instructor Kitty Carter riding by on a broomstick, we do see throngs of girls battling the elements to bring their things inside AT&T Stadium for preliminary auditions. You know, the necessities — rolling suitcases, pillows, stuffed animals, curling irons, makeup cases, FULL LENGTH MIRRORS.

As they gather to nervously curl their extensions and coat their false eyelashes, we meet some of this year’s candidates.

*Note to readers: After I Google searched the pic of Tasha I realized if I kept typing in the girls’ names with “DCC” I was bound to turn up spoilers (as the team was actually made months ago) so I stopped.
*Note to self: Do not watch any Cowboy football games during the month of September.
*Not to readers again: I hate spoilers. And people who give them to me in the comments.

While dancing alone in her living room for the cameraman who is silently throwing up a prayer of thanks not getting into grad school, Tasha tells us that after having a baby at 19 she thought her 13 year dreams of being a DCC were done.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 17.19.44

Side note: When my mama had me she also wore false eyelashes. True story.

Sadly, there were people who told Tasha how unfortunate getting knocked up was because “she could’ve really gone somewhere in life.” But with a plucky attitude and the confidence that can only come from looking like Tasha looks, she was determined to prove them all wrong.
Tasha became not only a devoted mom but an NBA dancer for six years, and is hoping to make the DCC team and teach her daughter to never stop chasing her dreams.
IMO, no matter what Tasha’s fate is here she’s already gone somewhere in life (#strongmamasFTW) and has firmly established herself on the top of my leaderboard.

It’s Kyndall’s third time trying to make the team (last year she was the very last cut) and tearfully tells us that this year she has to make it or “the dream is over.”
Sounds like someone needs to have a talk with Tasha.

Yuko, who’s from Japan, tells us — in halting voiceover or interpreter’s voiceover, it’s unclear — that she came to this country to fulfill the American dream.
Freedom, prosperity, and a chance to meet Oprah?
No, becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, naturally.
Keep an eye on Yuko, folks, she might actually have it all figured out.

Madeline also got cut towards the end last year, mostly because, as she tells us, they couldn’t find her “look.” (If you remember, Kelli and Judy pondered over her hair, dyed it, restyled it, pondered over it some more, and eventually gave up.) This year a naturally curly haired — and naturally adorable — Madeline tells us that she’s bringing her moves and her natural hair, will just “be herself” and “hopefully it will be good enough.”
I loved her last year and love her even more now that she’s returned packing some serious self-confidence.
Madeline 2.0, you’re in my top 3.0.

Cut from making the team as a returning veteran in 2012 because of weight issues, Jenna has spent the past four years existing on celery and hope, and wants to earn back her uniform.
You know, now that she can fit in it again.

Like literally everyone else, Katie has wanted to be a DCC since she was a child. And while she shows off some sexy solo moves for that lucky cameraman on her deck in Flower Mound, TX she tells us that although there have been people in her life who’ve expressed doubt she could make it, that only motivates her to prove them wrong.
Spoiler alert: They edited that sound bite in for a reason.

Amy A.
If you watched last year, you might remember Amy as the one who had a Janet Jackson wardrobe-malfunction moment during her original dance. You also might remember her as being TOTALLY FIERCE.
Guess what, folks? She still is.
Bring on the wardrobe malfunction.

Day 1 — Preliminaries

The director of the DCC (and former big-haired DCC herself), Kelli Finglass struts to the center of the Cowboy’s field in one of her typical body-hugging sleeveless dresses that accentuates her boobs, with hair and makeup game strong, as usual. After giving us a glimpse of a few highlights from the DCC’s last season she introduces us to her spirit animal, Access Hollywood style correspondent Andrew Ramos, who will be a guest judge.

*Bonus picture of Kelli from her DCC days, because it’s everything.

Kelli as DCC

Kelli prances out on stage and welcomes the girls with a huge smile and what seems to be a genuine, heartfelt message. “How ’bout we stop dreaming … we start dancing … and we make the team!” she trills.
Since it’s early in the season I’m still happily a member of Team Kelli (history tells me that will soon change) so I grin like an idiot and clap despite my best intentions … and the bag of Doritoes on my lap.

Before the girls begin we learn that perky former DCC, Bachelor-winner-slash-loser, DWTS champ, and pseudo-celebrity Melissa Rycroft won’t be judging this year because she’s literally about to pop with adorable child #3, so filling her seat will be Mrs. Tony Romo, a.k.a. DCC superfan Candice Romo, who is every bit as gorgeous and effervescent as Melissa and all the candidates, so it somehow cancels out my disappointment. That didn’t really make sense, but all the overwhelming beauty is confusing me so much right now.
Moving on.

The girls begin auditions in groups of five with a simple freestyle dance. The judges’ task is to simply watch with a pasted on smile and write “yes” or “no” on their forms, as in, yes you are pretty, skinny, and can dance, or no you are flabby, spend too much time on the floor and at Dairy Queen, and are generally unpleasant to watch.
Hey, don’t yell at me. Complain to the editors who zoomed in on the untoned bellies that we’re clearly supposed to be horrified by.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 21.27.08


And by untoned I mean still like four sizes below normal.

To these girls, freestyle dancing doesn’t mean the running man, worm, or some twerking. It means a LOT of spinning, hair tossing, gyrating, sliding into center splits on the floor, provocative smirks, and striking an end pose with both hands above their heads. It’s art, ya’ll, even if it does kind of make you want to throw dollar bills at your TV.

After Kelli, Judy, and Charlotte Jones Anderson (DC Exec. VP and daughter of Jerry – so let’s change that to VIP) discuss some girls they’re not sure of and deliberate over returning hopeful Emily’s “eye popping” stare that bugs Kelli (she decides she can “change that” and gives her a chance), the first cut is made and Kelli meticulously writes down the lucky girls’ numbers on the infamous, yet dreaded white board.

Security guard Phil — who, let’s be honest, is the real MVP — wheels it out to the squeals, shouts, and furious selfie-taking from the winners and the tears and shattered dreams of the losers, who Charlie Brown-walk their suitcases and giant mirrors to the parking lot and vow to return next year.

Day 2 — Semifinals

Hair and makeup on point, in their snazziest bedazzled spandex, and clutching a set of metallic poms, the girls make their way to the big field for what Judy tells them will be the hardest day of the competition — the day they’ll learn the DCC style of choreography (not to be confused with any other NFL cheerleader/dance team choreography) and the famous, ovation-inducing kickline.

Right away the girls either get it or they don’t.
They panic.
They miss turns.
They begin marking the steps — which anyone who’s ever danced before knows is the step before death.
Their extensions are getting tangled, their perfect makeup is starting to glisten, it’s possible their armpits are sweating.
PUT YOUR HAIR IN A PONYTAIL FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, you want to scream at them, but then you realize that looking different and, God forbid, like they’re feeling anything but slightly winded could mean game over.

And then it’s time for the DCC kickline.
The thing that separates the boys from the men, or in this case, the DCCs from the NBAs.
And, as expected, it’s a mixed bag of those who can and those who think they can.
You gotta love the tenacity of these girls.

At auditions, Kelli arrives looking snappy in a bright yellow version of the blue dress she wore on Day 1 and introduces the girls to country music legend and long-time DCC judge and ogler ambassador Neil McCoy.


Kelli gives Judy the paramount news that she’s going to be tougher on the yeses an nos today. “Me too!” Judy agrees, because they’re basically the same person.
Then Judy lets us know that during auditions she and Kelli usually feed off each other when discussing candidates.
Fair point.
But then she goes on.
“Isn’t she pretty!” or “Wouldn’t she look great if we just did this…” are a couple of examples she gives.

Some girls kill it.
Some girls don’t.
Kelli loves the “wow girls” but tries to encourage them all with a smile.
Because she’s still nice Kelli.
Whom we love.

Screenshot 2016-08-23 22.15.42

In an unrelated note, can we all just agree that girlfriend’s hair game is strong today?

And then it’s kick line time and someone pees on the floor.
Wait. What?
You heard me.
Just watch.
Seriously, just do it.

And the worst best part?
The dude who cleans it up without a glove.
It’s almost like he wants to touch it.

no glove
Alright, let’s wrap this up. We’ve obviously just seen the most exciting part of this episode.

After the judges deliberate around conference tables adorned with pom poms (Captain Obvious the local meteorologist is all for Yuko, saying she’ll “bring diversity,” and Kelli applauds Amy for “doing what we asked […] weaned out the ‘bulk’ on her body”), it’s time to announce the finalists.

Who’s going through?
Some notables:
Jenna (who now will likely exist on the salt of her happy tears for the next two weeks)
Tasha the teen mom
Fierce Amy
Madeline 2.0
and in a cruel-yet-well-produced game, the last name called is the last who got cut last year — Kyndall

Who’s cut?
Sweet, optimistic Katie from Flower Mound, who completely ignores HER LIFE’S MOTTO and tearfully wonders if her dance career is over.

Meet you back here next week, when we’ll get to deconstruct the interview portion of the process.
It’ll be like handing me candy.

And good news, DCC couch coaches!
Once again we can vote for our favorites in the online fan’s choice. The winner will get a free pass into training camp! Now, if only I could find the website…

{Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team airs Thursdays at 9ET on CMT}

Are you a fan of The Bachelor/ette? Check out my snarktastic, mostly true recaps from the past few years right HERE!
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1 Comment

  1. Ted on October 2, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Love your DCC recaps — keep them coming!

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