Dancing With The Stars and The Social Media Effect

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Dancing With the Stars debuted it’s 21st season with a bang last week, with the most eclectic bunch of competitors to date.  It is the only reality  show that features the likes of a jockey, a trailer trash Bravo star, and a legendary diva recording artist, all busting their booties for a tacky disco ball trophy.  It’s crazy, and I love it. However, none of the above contestants has a chance, nor do most of the more naturally adept cha-cha cha-ers.  This season is the season of the teen, and I will tell you why.

A lot of you may not know of Hayes Grier, the adorable 15-year-old Vine star, who is competing this season. He is a shoo-in for a finalist position, for one simple reason. He is absolutely enormous on social media, and is untouchable, when you look at the numbers. He has a combined total of 11.8 million social media followers, over four social media platforms. That is just the beginning, because his ultra-famous older brother, Nash, has 29.6 million followers over the same four platforms. Nash has the second highest number of followers on Vine, the popular 6 second film-making app that has swept the nation, since it’s launch in 2013.  Nash boasts the top  teen heart-throb spot in America, and can take credit for shooting his brother off in the same direction.  Lucky for Hayes, it’s football season, because his older brother Will, is the starting quarterback for the University of Florida. Good to know, just in case Hayes needs to rope in that college football fan demographic!

There is no way to overestimate the influence that social media has over almost every aspect of American culture.  Advertising giants are jumping on social media influencers for brand work, flying artists around the country, and paying big.  Popular personalities have carved out careers, and earn big bucks for simply appearing, and flashing their pearly whites at their adoring, screaming fans.  Vine has launched careers of dozens of amateur filmmakers, and has revamped the vision of American advertising, to meet the demand of a social media savvy consumer.  Vine personalities regularly attend elite A-List events, as brand sponsored reps. A social media novice would have been lost during MTV’s recent VMA Awards, where full performances and presentations were designed around celebrity Twitter beefs, and other social media buzz.  It a truly a social media influencer’s world, and we are just living in it.

Hayes is just as cute as his older bro, Nash (who joined him on-camera, after his debut performance), and even has natural rhythm.  His secret weapon however, is a combined Grier following of over 40 million enthusiastic social media followers.  His dance pro partner, Emma Slater, was naively shocked, when she found herself immediately trending on Yahoo, following her first week with the young star. 

DWTS first dabbled in the world of social media celebrity in Season 19, with YouTube celebrity, Bethany Mota, an unknown to many viewers, who finished an impressive fourth.     

My second finalist prediction is seventeen year old, Bindi Irwin. She is enthusiastic, adorable, and a natural technical mover and shaker on the dance floor.  She scored Derek Hough as a partner, clearly the most flawlessly creative choreographer of the show.  Her father is the late Steve Irwin, the beloved “Crocodile Hunter”, tragically killed in 2006, engaged in  his adventurous life’s work. Steve Irwin was beloved by America, and viewers will adore his spunky daughter.  Bindi also has a substantial social media following, numbering just shy of 700k. 

I have my fingers crossed that Kim Zolciak-Biermann gets tossed out on her industrial-strength compression spanx first. Hayes Grier however, is here to stay. 


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