The day La Mala Rodriguez was confirmed as one of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars, the winner of two Grammy Awards started crying like a cupcake. “It’s a total gift. I’ve always wanted to be a dancer and a Russian,” she says, laughing, but very seriously on the occasion of the premiere tonight on Telecinco (10:00 p.m.) of the most famous dance competition in the world.

The leadership of Mediaset had been trying for a long time, according to the director of Content Production of the audiovisual group, Jaime Guerra, trying to carry out the Spanish adaptation of Dancing with the Stars, a format that premiered in the United Kingdom in 2004 on the BBC network and which It has been adapted in more than 50 territories and 20 years later it remains one of the most watched and loved programs in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy, Germany and Sweden. In fact, in those countries the success of Dancing with Stars could be compared, saving distances, with what programs such as Big Brother or Supervivientes had in Spain in their beginnings.

Aware of this, Mediaset and the production company that has been in charge of the national adaptation, Bulldog TV, were always clear that when Dancing with the Stars arrived it had to arrive in style. “It seemed like something impossible to build and we have built it,” says Alfredo Ereño, CEO of Bulldog TV and executive producer of the program.

Said and done: Telecinco has gone all out and it is not an exaggeration with a casting, a format and a jury with which it intends to launch the task it has been looking for for months to recover the audience in its prime time.

It seemed like something impossible to build and we have built it

In fact, when you ask about the similarity of the program with which RTVE will also premiere shortly, Dance as You Can, the producer and network flatly deny the similarity and insist on repeating over and over again that creating this format was in their plans a long time ago. . It is Antonio Dell’Atte, one of the members of the jury, who as a “mouth of truth”, as she describes herself, says what is not politically correct to say: “We are the originals, the others are a copy “. And she is so comfortable. The contestants and, yes, also the rest of the jury and the presenters are going to have to deal with this.

A sign that the team has been measured to the maximum. Not only with the casting of the contestants made up of Miguel Torres, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, Josie, Adrián Lastra (who we will also see in the new season of El Desafío on Antena 3), Sheila Casas, Mala Rodríguez, José Manuel Pinto, Elena Tablada, Bruno (member of the Mozos de Arousa Chain Reaction team), María Isabel (2004 winner of Junior Eurovision), Jonan Wiergo, Athenea Pérez and Carlota Boza, but, for the presenters and, especially, for the jury, which will surprise many, since it is not common for television contests to include “genuine eminences.”

Jesús Vázquez and Valeria Mazza are the two presenters of this new rigorous live format. The former international model, who had already dabbled in the television world, did not hesitate to say yes to this new project about which she claims to be “excited.” “We come to have a good time and for the public to have a good time,” she says.

He doesn’t care that he met his co-worker a few hours ago or that he left home to settle in Spain for several months. Nor does stage fright live. He likes challenges and, as he assures, at 52 years old he is at a point in his life where the only thing he wants is to “enjoy and have a good time.” “The most difficult challenge we can give Blanca Li is for Jesús Vázquez and I to dance,” she says, laughing.

What surprises me the most is the live performance because if you break your head, all of Spain sees you.

Yes, the other big surprise of Dancing with the Stars is the jury chaired by the choreographer, dancer, actress and film director, Blanca Li, one of the most prestigious and recognized figures in dance worldwide, distinguished with the Insignia of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic and until now director of the Canal Theaters.

“She is the very bad bad guy,” says Antonia Dell’Atte, the former Italian model and celebrity, who together with Boris Izaguirre, who returns to Mediaset after his time at Atresmedia, and Cristóbal Soria, let’s say, represent the most ‘popular’ part of the jury. Julia Gómez Cora, former CEO of Stage Entertainment, the largest producer of musical shows in Spain, and Gorka Márquez, the best-known Spaniard on British television thanks to his participation for eight years in the British version of Dancing with the Stars, complete the jury whose job will be to evaluate the contestants’ dances every Saturday, scoring their performances from 0 to 10. Only Cristóbal Soria, the People’s Tribune in Dancing with the Stars, could change the jury’s vote, because, although the public will also be able to vote through the Mitele app, Soria’s job is to give voice to what he He thinks viewers might like it more or less.

The secret of the success of Dancing with the Stars in other countries, which Telecinco hopes will be transferred to Spain, is none other than combining dance and dancing with spectacle and television shows. Hence, both the jury and the 13 selected celebrities have such a diverse color palette. “Boris and I understand television and entertainment,” says Antonia Dell’Atte, aware that without the presence of both of them the show would be lost. Of course, Boris Izaguirre, with whom she already met on MasterChef Celebrity, is clear that “the whole histrionics part” is left to her. And there will be a lot of it because with Antonio Dell’Atte being there you can’t guarantee other things, but histrionics is all you want.

And that is what the most professional jury will have to face, but also the contestants, who, although “happy and excited” about the project, claim to be “shit up.” “I haven’t done a porte in my life, I haven’t held a baby in my life and now I have to carry a dancer through the air,” says Josie. “What surprises me most about Dancing with the Stars is that it is live because if you break your head, which I hope doesn’t happen, but it can happen, all of Spain sees you,” he adds, visibly overwhelmed after his last rehearsal was a ” real disaster.”

“I know how to dance,” says Athenea Pérez, model and Miss Universe Spain 2023, “but I have a problem when it comes to sharing my personal space with a person, with my dance partner.” “It overwhelms me and disturbs me,” she adds, worried about the rejection that friction generates, but convinced that she will end up overcoming her challenge.

And the 13 celebrities have been practicing for weeks with their partners, great professional dancers among whom are authentic champions of different categories, for tonight’s grand premiere, but without seeing any of those who will be their opponents. That is, Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada knows what she is doing and how she dances, but she has no idea how others dance. “I’m going to win in my category,” she interrupts, laughing, in clear reference to the fact that of all the contestants she is the oldest, which does not mean that she is the least skilled, because as most of them say, “we have two left feet.”

Yes, we are going to criticize, damn it! We don’t have to be liars

We have seen all of them succeed as athletes, dazzle with their designs on international catwalks, fill stadiums with people singing their songs, win Grammys and Goyas, act in film, theater and television, parade in prestigious fashion competitions, accumulate millions of followers on social networks and star on the covers of gossip magazines, but none of them have been seen dancing and very few have faced a live program where they will be judged, corrected and, yes, also criticized.

“The show is about learning to dance, but the most important thing is that you enjoy it,” Gorka Márquez tells them. “Each one of you is different and don’t worry about whether the other does it better or worse or about the criticism because the day you leave you will realize that not enjoying it is the biggest mistake,” she says.

“Yes, we are going to criticize, damn it,” Dell’Atte affirms forcefully. “It has to be constructive criticism, but we don’t have to be liars.”