The “Roman Empire” of “Dancing with the Stars”: What are viewers really focused on?

Rylee Arnold and her partner Harry Jowsey for Dancing with the Stars
Rylee Arnold and her partner Harry Jowsey for Dancing with the Stars
Rose Costello

Since the thirty-second season of the hit television series “Dancing with the Stars” premiered on September 26, 2023, fans have been abuzz not only by the dancing, but by speculation of a possible budding romance on the show.

Rylee Arnold, eighteen years old and a recent high school graduate, was announced as the show’s newest professional, as well as the youngest to ever be a professional on the show. Rylee was also a member of “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors”, where she worked alongside her sister Lindsay Arnold, who was a professional on “Dancing with the Stars” for thirteen seasons.

Seeing as Rylee has been a dancer her whole life and has had a personal connection with the show, she was extremely thrilled when she was announced as the newest professional.

“Literally anytime someone asks me, like ‘what are you gonna do with your life’ I’m like ‘I’m gonna be a pro on Dancing with the Stars,’” Arnold says in her interview with Joe Vulpis.

This season, Rylee Arnold was paired with Harry Jowsey, a Youtuber and contestant on the popular series’ “Too Hot to Handle” and “Heartbreak Island”.

“I loved Harry on Love Island, and was excited to find out he was going to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars,” said Maddie Weiss ‘24.

Since the couple’s very first Cha-Cha, the internet has grown abuzz with the obvious chemistry between the two, suspecting a possible future romance. After the show every Tuesday, interviewers are always sure to ask about the internet’s rumors and try to get some confirmation as to whether they are true or not.

“I hope so because we have a great relationship [Rylee]’s awesome and just enjoying being together now and I guess it carries across so that’s really good,” Jowsey says in response to an interviewer’s questions about the two having chemistry.

While rumors are inevitable, it is disappointing that in her first season on the show, all fans can talk about is Rylee’s possible relationship with her partner rather than her actual dancing. Rylee is fresh out of high school, yet is extremely talented and likely to go far on the show. As she has said multiple times before, she has been working her entire life for this moment, and her dream that she’s had since childhood is finally coming true. Because of this, people should be focusing on Rylee’s talent and progress on the show, but instead all they can talk about is the possible budding romance between her and her partner.

While rumors about people dating is like oxygen to the media, it would be more wise to discuss Rylee and Harry’s relationship after the season is finished, for they would most likely not announce or confirm anything during. Rylee wants to work her hardest and give her all to the show, and therefore would rather not let anything or anyone drift her focus away from making it as far on the show as she can.

Every “Dancing with the Stars” fan is talking about Rylee Arnold, but their discussions may have little to do with the dancing. Rylee is the youngest professional to ever be on the show, and due to this people should be discussing if she has what it takes to make it far in the competition. While Arnold and Jowsey have been labeled as the fan base’s “Roman Empire”, fans should take some time to consider the significance of what they are thinking about at least once a day.

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