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'Dancing With the Stars' Cast 2014: Popular Show Going In New Musical Direction With Latest Piece Of Season 18 Puzzle? [VIDEO]

By Kevin Jacobsen, EnStars
on Feb 18, 2014 12:29 PM EST
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Dancing With the Stars faced a lot of backlash from fans for ousting bandleader Harold Wheeler and the live orchestra, so the reality-competition series has hired a new bandleader to replace him.

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Enstars initially reported that Dancing With the Stars was removing Wheeler and the live orchestra starting in season 18 in favor of smaller electronic band, news that had upset several musicians in the community.

Perhaps as a result, Dancing With the Stars has hired Ray Chew to lead the new in-house band. Chew has worked on many live television events, including the 65th annual Emmy Awards, American Idol and President Obama's Neighborhood Inaugural Ball.

Karina Smirnoff Dishes On What's "Natural For A Woman" & Motherhood Ahead of Season 18

"I'm looking forward to continuing the musical legacy established on Dancing With the Stars, a show that respects live music and musicians," Chew said after assuming his new position. "It is important to me and to the producers to maintain the integrity of the music presentation for the dancers as well as for the viewers. Towards that end, my approach will be to utilize first class live vocalists, arrangers, copyists and musicians of all instruments."

Going into its 18th season, Dancing With the Stars has been making changes to its format as ratings continue to slip. The series moved to only one night a week in season 17, a format that will continue this spring with season 18.

A season 18 cast announcement is expected within the next few weeks.

Dancing With the Stars season 18 premieres on Monday, March 17 at 8 p.m. on ABC.


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