The 16th season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team premiered last week, and the show chronicles what it takes to be a cheerleader for the most popular squad in the NFL. But given the show's lasting longevity, is it fair to say Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team is going to make it another 16 years? In an exclusive interview with PopCulure.com, Kelli Fingalss, the director of the Cowboys Cheerleaders, opened up about the future of the CMT series.
"I know the fan engagement grows every year," Finglass told PopCulture. "I'm a promoter of the cheerleaders and passionate about the cheerleaders and their experiences, but it looks like our culture loves talent shows, loves things where you can peek into the selection process. Everybody's an expert on vocalists and musicians and talent shows and cooking shows, and ours is kind of a niche selection process.
"There's no job like it, you couldn't even copy our show because it's a one-of-a-kind organization. So, I think because it's unique and as long as we have new, wonderful, interesting journeys on rookies peppered with the beautiful senior leadership of our veterans, people find it interesting and inspiring and motivating."
The first season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team aired in 2006 and has become CMT's longest-running series. It details the audition process of making the 36-member squad. In Season 16, 25 rookies and 26 veterans attend training camp and battle it out. And while the same thing can be said for each season, this year's audition process is very challenging.
"CMT's the right place for us to be and the production company treats the process with respect," Fingalss said. "It's high stakes. There's some dreams coming through for young women across the country, and then there's some dreams bring broken, and that's the gentle mix that I try to make sure, is that people leave still inspired and hopeful for another year, or maybe a different door, but confident in themselves."
And once the squad is set, the cheerleaders work hard to get ready for the season. Finglass also explained the game-day process for the cheerleaders, which starts very early. "If the game is at noon, doors are at 10, we get off the field by 9, so we're practicing by 8:00 a.m., we're on a bus at 7:00 a.m., means they've probably left their houses at 6:00 a.m., they probably woke up at 5:00 a.m," Finglass said. "So, we go to the games, we arrive on the bus, we do an hour game-day rehearsal because that's really the only time we have the entire audio visual crew is game day. We practice everything we're doing, feature pregame performance, plus our feature quarter changes, plus we do touchdowns, extra points, kickoff. I try and have the girls as absolutely prepared as they can possibly be so that when kickoff really happens, it's instinctive for them and they don't have to think."