This time it's the Wall Street Journal going behind the scenes of the hit show "Dancing With the Stars" on the front page. I'll leave it to you to decide if you prefer the L.A. Times approach — a reporter lightly approximating the experience of competing — or the WSJ angle of reporting on how and why spray-on tans are used on every dancer (except Tom DeLay, apparently.) Excerpt:
A recent Sunday afternoon, backstage at the McCadden rehearsal space here, Ms. Locke spritzed half a dozen contestants, naked or in string bikinis, to chestnut-colored skin. She changed the settings on her gun to paint in the shadows of muscles. Six-pack abs, defined cheekbones and sculpted arms appeared almost instantly. Each 10-week season, the cast goes through more than six gallons of spray-tan liquid, or juice as it is known in the industry....
Depending on the dance the couple will perform -- fox trot or waltz, West Coast swing or cha-cha -- TV makeup artists use a specific tone of tan. Latin dances like the rumba and sultry lambada seem to call for the darkest shades. Waltzes and fox trots take fine-tuning on hands, neck and ankles since most of the body is covered....
"It's a real Eastern European, communist version of what's beautiful," says "Dancing With the Stars" executive producer Conrad Green.
Ms. Mills calls dancers who get too dark "tanorexic." When they come to the makeup room for an extra dark coat of tan before a performance, makeup artists will apply brown water and pretend it's self tanner. "We try and trick them," body makeup artist Nadege Schoenfeld says. "They're about to be half naked on national television. A tan makes them look thinner."
See how tanning happens and hear from Mills, the show's top makeup artist, with reporter Amy Chozick in this video with the story: