Often imitated, never equaled…the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) are America’s Sweethearts. Auditions for the 2017 squad begin Saturday, May 6th.
This year’s auditions will be my 17th as a judge; here’s my behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process of selecting the squad.
7 Fun Facts:
1) There are 3 rounds of DCC Auditions: Prelims (free style dance); Semifinals (choreographed jazz combo, followed by DCC Kick Line); and Finals (“solo” routine in morning session, “jazz combo/kick line” on the field in the afternoon session).
2) Making it through all 3 rounds does not mean a contestant earns her boots as a member of the DCC, it means she is a DCC Training Camp Candidate! Approximately 42-to-45 contestants will be invited to camp which begins in early June and finishes in early August. The final squad is usually 36 members (there is no set number, but it’s usually 36).
3) The is no maximum age or weight requirement; the only requirements are that a DCC hopeful must be 18-years-or-older on the first day of auditions, and each contestant must be a high school graduate (or in the case of an 18 year old, a grad that spring). And, yes, we’ve had 18 year olds miss their high school graduations or their high school proms to attend DCC auditions! And because there is no maximum age, we’ve had women in the 50’s and 60’s audition. International contestants must have the proper visa for audition travel.
4) There is no gender requirement, so we’ve had a man audition (it was about 15 years ago or so). As for the question, “have the Cowboys ever had a male cheerleader?” the answer is “yes”. Back in the 1960’s, local high school students cheered for the Cowboys when the team played at the Cotton Bowl. For several seasons, the squad was composed of girls & boys, and it was called the “Cow Belles and Beaux”.
Returning DCC veterans are not automatically on the squad; they must re-audition every year. Returning veterans do, however, skip the first two rounds and go straight to round 3.
5) Round 3 includes a Panel Interview. Each contestant that makes the final round must meet with judges in a panel interview format. Think of it as a job interview. It’s very important that each DCC hopeful is well-spoken and smart; after all, they’re representing the team (and our community) to fans, sponsors, corporate executives, political leaders and military members around the world.
6) Round 3 also includes a Written Test. The test is 100-question test and includes both multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank answers. The topics are: current events (e.g., who is the current U.S. Secretary of State?); pop culture (e.g., which movie won the 2017 Academy Award for Best Picture?); football knowledge (e.g., how many yards for a personal foul penalty?); Cowboys history (e.g., “who was the first Cowboys head coach?); current Cowboys team (e.g., “which Cowboys player was just named Rookie of the Year?); DCC history/trivia (e.g. “how many stars on a DCC uniform); and AT&T Stadium history/trivia.
7) DCC Auditions attracts contestants from around the world! Our 2016 DCC squad included one Australian (Jinelle, fourth season) and one young woman from Japan (Yuko, rookie). Last year’s auditions included contestants from four different countries and 31 different U.S. states. The previous year, contestants from 6 different countries and 36 different states took part in auditions. The reality television show (CMT’s “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team) which chronicles auditions and training camp is shown internationally; young women around the globe see the show and dream of becoming a DCC!
Hopefully these Fun Facts give you a peek behind-the-curtain. Many Cowboys fans are surprised to learn that auditions include a panel interview and a written test. It’s important to know that the Cowboys organization is looking for well-rounded young women who are equally smart, talented, and poised (and just happen to be world-class performers who can dazzle on the sideline and the big screen)!