Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cowboys cheerleaders are keeping it real - and fun 

Posted by Sasha at 8:00 PM ET

By Ed Bark
Special to the Star-Telegram

Beverly Hills -- Country Music Television didn't mess around late Friday morning, trumpeting its upcoming second season of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, with a high-kicking, broad-grinning performance by 11 members of the Texas institution's "show group."

Afterward, the cheerleaders hung out in the lobby of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, providing guests with an impromptu, up-close look at the curvy inhabitants of what CMT calls "that sacred blue-and-white uniform."

"We do not want anyone to ruin our image in any way, so I guess that's why, to us, it's sacred and we are constantly protecting it," said head choreographer Judy Trammell, a star of the eight-episode season, as she was of the first season. It returns Sept. 14 with new agonies and ecstasies.

"Sacred to some might seem dramatic," said the cheerleaders' veteran director, Kelli Finglass. "It's special. Perhaps you'd like that word better. ... For the people that have worn the uniform, yes, we would say it's sacred. For the people that have been fans, it's very magical."

Trammell and Finglass say the magic isn't manipulated for purposes of a TV reality series. Auditioners with no chance of making the 36-member squad aren't kept around for laughs, as on American Idol, Trammell said in a separate interview.

CMT's producers tried, she said. "But we'd never do that."

Finglass has a knack for getting to the point. In a clip from Season 2, she says, "The uniform is very unforgiving in terms of hiding any figure flaws."

The Cowboys haven't had a post-season win since 1996. But the CMT series has helped keep the cheerleaders on the national map, Finglass said.

"I cheered in the '80s and had five wonderful losing seasons with Tom Landry as the head coach," she said. "It didn't matter to the cheerleaders' success."

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