Ever wondered where that highly-coveted mirrorball trophy on Dancing with the Stars comes from and what its history is? A production designer on the series recently spoke with PEOPLE magazine and shared the surprising story of the trophy’s origins. Find out all the details below.
DWTS‘ production designer James Yarnell got very candid about the show in the recent interview, even admitting that he didn’t think the show would have legs to stand on.
“With all due respect to the show, we didn’t think it was going to last more than one season,” he said. “But we decided we wanted one that looked more like a trophy than the Strictly Come Dancing [which DWTS was based on] prize, which was basically a mirrorball on a stick.”
How It’s Made
To change things up, the production team picked up an object you may not expect — a lamp.
“There was a limit to what I could spend, so I bought a 3-ft.-tall brass lamp, unscrewed it and took all the pieces apart,” he explained. “Then I reassembled some of the pieces to make basically what we can have today. The original one, the Kelly Monaco one, was literally part of a brass lamp and had it put on a wooden base with the mirrorball on it.”
Since that unorthodox first season trophy, the award actually stayed pretty much the same until a roadblock in season 4 forced them into a better upgrade.
“They stopped making the lamp at Lamps Plus,” Yarnell explained, “so we’d run out of options and had to start casting it and put a heavy acrylic base with a brass stem.”
How It’s Changed
Yarnell went on to explain a mishap that occurred with the trophy in Derek Hough’s first victorious season. “The first year Derek Hough won [with Brooke Burke-Charvet], he lifted the trophy up and while he was shaking it and fist pumping it above his head, the D came off,” Yarnell explained. “There’s press photos of it saying ‘ ‘ancing with the Stars!’ But that was the logo and there wasn’t a lot that we could do about it.”
While the trophy has since changed each season to some degree, it has never lost its signature mirrorball since season 1, which pays homage to its predecessor, Strictly Come Dancing.
“There’s no such thing as a high-end mirrorball,” Yarnell said. “So no matter how much we put into the trophy, how much we spend, it always has a $10 mirrorball on top.”
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(Image courtesy of ABC)