The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Dancing With the Controversial Duo

As season 32 of “Dancing With The Stars” kicked off on Sept. 26, one couple took center stage. All eyes were on professional dancer Rylee Arnold and her partner Harry Jowsey as they cha-chaed the night away to “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake. With stars like Lele Pons, Barry Williams and Alyson Hannigan making up this season’s cast, it may seem shocking that Jowsey and Arnold would attract so much attention from fans.

At 18 years old, this is Arnold’s first season dancing as a pro on the show, following in the footsteps of her older sister, Lindsay Arnold, who performed on the series starting in season 16 before stepping away to focus on her growing family. Fans were understandably excited when Arnold joined the show, as many had enjoyed following her older sister, who won the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy with actor Jordan Fisher in season 25.

While this generated initial excitement from longtime fans of the show, Arnold’s partnership with Jowsey — star of reality show “Too Hot To Handle” — brought even more attention to the duo. At 26, Jowsey is eight years older than Arnold, but that hasn’t stopped viewers from noting the chemistry between them on and off the dance floor. These dance partners also seem to spend a lot of time together outside of the studio, attending concerts, meeting each other’s families and posting an endless number of TikToks.

However, their age gap has left many fans questioning the nature of their relationship, especially considering Arnold’s inexperience in the world of “Dancing With the Stars.” Skeptics include junior Abigail Schnitzer, who has been a fan of the show for years and became an avid watcher after closely following The Arnold Sisters’ YouTube videos.

“I think it’s clear that they’re becoming very close friends, but she is only 18, and he is 26, and they come from pretty different backgrounds, so I wouldn’t think that anything more than a close friendship is happening right now,” Schnitzer said.

One of the main reasons that fans have become more attuned to potential chemistry between the partners is the way that the show has continued to portray the couple. After each performance, reporters continue to ask them about their relationship status, which they remain coy about, according to Us Weekly. 

“We just enjoy hanging out and we love each other, so it’s been great,” Jowsey told Entertainment Tonight in an exclusive interview.

Some wonder if the mystery behind this relationship is just another way to get viewers to tune into the show. According to fans like junior Alisa Kukharkin, keeping the idea of a potential romance between dance partners alive allows the show to attract bigger audiences each week. 

“I think it’s known that they do have this chemistry and the show is using it to their advantage with our age range because we’re not tuning in as much, and it’s a good way to connect to our age group,” Kukharkin said.

A major benefit of a bigger audience is that it draws in more votes for the couples competing on the show. Each couple’s score is a combination of scores from the judges and from viewers at home who can vote on their favorite dancers via text. For Arnold and Jowsey in particular, it is evident that the votes from fans at home are a big factor in their continued success week after week. A lot of these votes, seemingly in part, are due to the fact that fans want to keep watching the duo, and that they will do whatever it takes to get Arnold and Jowsey back on the screen. Many speculate that these enthusiastic votes have nothing to do with dancing capabilities. 

“Do I think the relationship is being played up for the media? 100 percent, yes. And I think they are so fair to do it. Half the show is based on text-in votes and, given that Harry has never danced before and truthfully is not the best dancer, it is clear they are most likely not going to get through each week by being the highest scores. So, the text-in votes really will push them through the competition week after week. People think they are cute together, whether it be romantically or as friends, and that is what is bringing their votes in. I say keep it up,” Schnitzer said.

Controversial or not, the “Dancing With The Stars” fanbase seems to have found a new “it” couple that they will keep on the dance floor for as long as they can.

“Everyone loves a good showmance,” Kukharkin said.

To follow Arnold and Jowsey’s journey, tune into “Dancing With the Stars” on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on ABC or Disney+.

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About the Contributor
Claire Dodds, Arts & Features Editor
Claire Dodds is a junior from Cresskill, NJ concentrating international relations with a minor in art history. She has previously served as a contributing writer for the News and Commentary sections. On campus, Claire is involved in the Ski Team, Spoon University, and is a member of a Greek letter organization.

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