Tyra Banks Defends ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 30 Controversial Casting

Tyra Banks

NBC Tyra Banks

Fans have had a very mixed reaction to the casting of certain celebrities on season 30 of ABC’sDancing With the Stars.” Perhaps the most controversial of all casting choices was that of Olivia Jade.

Olivia Jade is the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, who went to prison following a college admissions scandal that put Olivia Jade in the public eye in a negative sense. Olivia Jade is also an Instagram influencer, and she’s set to be partnered with professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy.

Fans did not have a positive reaction to the news of Olivia Jade joining the show.

Tyra Banks Defended Casting Olivia Jade on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Tyra Banks, who is the host and executive producer of “Dancing With the Stars,” defended the casting of Olivia Jade in a new interview with ET Online.

“I think Olivia is so brave,” Banks shared. “I think people don’t know her, they know what happened to her. She has said that she did not know about what was going on, and it’s really sad, and it’s very hurtful when something publicly happens but you had nothing to do with it. So I trust that she says she didn’t know.”

Banks added, “She is having to deal with that and I think she’s coming to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to be able to tell her story and show her vulnerability. And is she a celebrity? Not traditionally, but what is a celebrity today? If that’s the case then there’s no Instagram influencer that is a celebrity. We are in a whole different world and celebrity has taken a turn and a change.”

She refers to the fact that Olivia Jade is an influencer and social media star even if she is not a star in what most would say is the traditional sense. Banks says that since people are talking about her, she’s famous and therefore deserves her spot on “Dancing With the Stars.” Olivia Jade has over 1 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing.

Banks Says She Does Not Cast the Show

Banks told ET Online that she is not involved with casting the show, she’s just the host and an executive producer. That’s especially relevant given that some fans think that the number of celebrities with prior dance experience makes the whole concept unfair.

Out of 15 total celebrity contestants, at least five have had prior dance experience, and some have danced professionally and have had extensive training.

Mel C, also known as Sporty Spice, was a Spice Girl and has danced extensively in the past. JoJo Siwa has also danced professionally. Melora Hardin, a star from “The Office,” grew up dancing ballet. Cody Rigsby, a Peleton fitness instructor, formerly made a living as a background dancer, and Amanda Kloots spent time dancing professionally on Broadway and with the Rockettes.

The other celebrities who have been cast in the upcoming season are Olympic gymnast gold medalist Sunisa Lee, former “Bachelor” Matt James, actor Brian Austin Green, “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore, Lori Loughlin’s daughter and influencer Olivia Jade, country music star Jimmie Allen, former NBA player Iman Shumpert, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, and “Karate Kid” actor Martin Kove.

“Dancing With the Stars” premieres on Monday, September 20, 2021 at 8 p.m. Eastern daylight time on ABC.

READ NEXT: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Fans Slam Season 30 Celebrity Casting as ‘Unfair’

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