America's Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (2024) s01e06 Episode Script

Episode 6

[Reece] Hey.
Calm, steady. We know this dance.
[woman 1] We've done it,
like, 7,000 times this week.
-[Reece] We know
-More than I've done my college pregame.
[Reece] when to breathe,
when, like, to amp it up,
when to take a second.
[music plays faintly in the distance]
[woman 1 sighs] I always have to go potty
in this moment.
Full send.
[woman 2] Full send.
[woman 3] Full send, one and done.
[Brooklyn] We got it, Reece.
-Love you.
-[Reece] I love you.
-[woman 4] We ain't got lightning
-I'm so
-[all] We all got thunder! Yeah!
-thunder. Whoo!
[announcer] Cowboys Nation,
are you ready for some football?
[upbeat music plays faintly in stadium]
[crowd cheering]
[Jada] All right, ladies.
This is what we worked for, sister.
[woman] All right, you guys, have fun!
Let's go!
Five, six, seven, eight.
[announcer] Now, ladies and gentlemen,
here they are,
America's Sweethearts,
often imitated, never equaled,
internationally acclaimed,
your Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
-[crowd roaring]
-[upbeat pregame intro music playing]
[music ends]
["Thunderstruck" by AC/DC playing]
[rhythmic cymbal crashes]
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
Thunder ♪
You've been ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
[crowd cheering]
Rode down the highway ♪
Broke the limit, we hit the town ♪
Went through to Texas ♪
Yeah, Texas ♪
[Will] On that one side.
We met some girls ♪
Some dancers who gave a good time ♪
Go, Anna Kate!
Yeah, yeah
They, they, they blew our minds ♪
And I was shaking at the knees ♪
Could I come again, please? ♪
Yeah, them ladies were too kind ♪
You've been ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah, thunderstruck ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah, said yeah ♪
It's all right ♪
We're doin' fine ♪
Yeah, it's all right ♪
We're doin' fine ♪
-So fine, thunderstruck ♪
-Thunderstruck ♪
-Yeah, yeah, yeah, thunderstruck ♪
-Thunderstruck ♪
-Thunderstruck ♪
-Thunderstruck ♪
Whoa, baby, baby ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
-You've been thunderstruck ♪
-Thunderstruck ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
Thunderstruck ♪
You've been thunderstruck ♪
[song ends]
[cacophonous cheering]
[cheering fades]
[traffic humming]
[birds chirping]
[man] All right, my eleven o'clock,
we all ready?
My name is Todd.
I wanna welcome you to AT&T Stadium.
This is home of the Dallas Cowboys. Yay.
Now, you happen to be
in one of the largest domed structures
in the world.
We can put the Statue of Liberty,
pedestal and all, on that star,
and her torch will not touch that roof.
Now, the Jones family traveled
around the world
to come up with the concept
they wanted in here.
They wanted it to be five-star.
We hold the Guinness Book of World Records
for TVs in a venue at over 3,500.
We have TVs in elevators.
We have TVs in the bathrooms.
We even have a jail here,
and in our jail,
there is a 53-inch-screen TV.
We have a pastry kitchen.
We have world-renowned chefs
with their culinary staff.
The ice cream is hand-churned.
This is what's gonna lead us
into what we call the JJ Experience,
the Jerry Jones Experience.
You will get to talk to Mr. Jones himself.
[man] We got some guests, Mr. Jones.
Can we ask a question?
What would you like to ask me?
[man] Mr. Jones, why did you build
such a great stadium?
I didn't know
where I was gonna get the money,
but I got it built.
You can put five of those damn Astrodomes
inside the one I built.
[Todd] Our next stop
is the cheerleaders' locker room.
Each May, June, 500 girls actually try out
to become Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Two cheerleaders with the most tenure
are Kelcey and Chandi.
They've been here five years.
Kelcey over here, she's a nurse.
Elli here, she has a master's
in accounting.
So she could probably do your taxes.
[men chuckle]
Go and stand
in front of your favorite one.
[quiet laughter]
[Todd] All right, now,
go look up at her face,
see if she's blonde, brunette,
or whatever.
Then on three, I want you to turn around
and give me that pose.
One, two, three.
[Todd laughs] Very good.
Good. Good. Good.
Now, they do have to sign
a no-fraternization contract
for the players.
They cannot date or fraternize
with any of the football players.
They, however, do not have to sign
that same contract with tour guides.
[Todd] You got any questions? No?
I'm sure you don't have phone numbers
or anything like that.
[Todd] Um, nah. I think they all have
their own Twitter and Instagram,
so you can get them on social media.
Now, they do charity events,
paid appearances.
They to go VA hospitals,
children's hospitals.
So they do do a lot of work.
[birds chittering]
[man grunts]
I've been driving them since 2009,
when the new stadium opened.
So what? Thirteen, fourteen years now.
Fourteen years, I guess.
[interviewer] What's Kelli like?
She's a pain.
-[Judy] Don't fall out of the bus.
She asked me what I thought of you,
and I said, "Ew!"
-[Judy] Don't fall out of the bus.
-[James laughs]
No. [laughs]
-[Judy] They moved the cones over today.
-[Kelli] They sure did, James.
-Got cones
-[James] We're going back there.
[Kelli] All right,
everybody clench your butt cheeks tight
while we go past these.
Just till James stops hitting shit.
Oh, clench it, y'all. Squeeze.
There we go, James.
Not a piece of rubber.
I keep on telling Kelli I'm gonna retire,
and she says I can't, so
I look at it this way.
I'll work till I can't anymore.
[Kelli] We have a tradition now
that has become
a huge program enhancement,
and that is our bus bits
with Kristi Scales.
This will be her 25th year
on the sidelines at the stadium
reporting on the Dallas Cowboys.
Give it up for Kristi.
[Kristi] Hey, welcome to game day.
All right.
Regular season, there's gonna be
over 93,000 fans there today.
So those of you rookies who thought
the first two preseason games
were awesome,
buckle up, 'cause it is just gonna be
a fantastic energy today.
["9 to 5" by Dolly Parton playing]
[chatter, laughter]
I have to. I mean
-Come on then. See you later.
-Thank you. Okay.
Pour myself a cup of ambition
And yawn, and stretch ♪
[Kelli] An NFL football game
is an experience like no other.
[chanting] Cowboys! Cowboys!
Cowboys! Cowboys!
[Kelli] A game day
is usually an 11-hour day.
We start our game
before the doors even open.
[cheering, clamoring]
[Kristi] There's a huge misconception,
"It's just a part-time job.
They're pretty, and they're good dancers."
But holy smokes,
when they're in front of 93,000 people,
there's so much more to it
than just three hours on game day.
[announcer] Cowboys Cheerleaders!
Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin' ♪
Barely gettin' by ♪
Bigger hair movement on the guitar solo.
Let's go! Come on!
Hey! You need to throw a flag on that.
Flag? Where's the flag?
I mean, come on! Got a flag!
We play music here
after every single play.
[Caroline] A song comes on,
and within an eight count,
you gotta pick a dance
that goes with the rhythm of the song.
It's a fun challenge to program
the soundtrack of a game to, um
Oh! Hit-stick, baby! Yeah!
DC! Cowboys! Come on!
[Kelli] Most of the dancing you see
at a Cowboys football game
is actually improv.
The girls don't know
what song is going to come on.
Then they hear a song.
They quick glance to their leader.
She starts a combination.
Five, six, seven.
Everything for three hours is improv,
and then they all execute it brilliantly.
[cheerleaders] Five, six, seven, eight.
[Kristi] Cowboys need this one very badly.
If the Cowboys get the win tonight,
it'll be a first-place tie with Philly.
-Go, Cowboys!
-We love the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
I went to school, personally,
with about three of 'em over the years.
We love the cheerleaders.
-[man] Come on!
But you've got dreams
He'll never take away ♪
There's Kelcey. Whoo!
In the same boat
With a lot of your friends ♪
Waitin' for the day
Your ship'll come in ♪
Yeah, Reece!
I get hassled every year
at the start of the year
'cause I don't have credentials.
What credentials do you need?
If I get more than 20, 30 yards
away from the bus,
some security guy is trying
to throw me out of there.
Because they think you're trouble.
[James] Well, I am trouble.
[Kristi] Every time you make eye contact
with somebody,
every time you give a wave,
it may be their first and only time
that they get to interact with a DCC.
Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin' ♪
There's nothing like game days, especially
since we're constantly performing.
[Tina] Victoria!
She can't hear me! Victoria! Victoria!
Yeah! Let's go!
[Kelcey] Five-minute cooldown.
-Oh my!
-I cannot believe how sweaty I got.
I've been blow-drying myself
since we got [laughs]
[Kelcey] You're there for 12 hours,
and if it's a 7:00 p.m. game,
you get home at, like, 1:00, 2:00 a.m.
Game day is fun, so you do it. [laughs]
[James] There's a tradition
for DCC rookies.
After the game, y'all got to climb
into the bays and unload the luggage.
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it ♪
We aren't the football team.
We aren't celebrated like that.
There's a better life ♪
[Kelcey] But we do absolutely put in
blood, sweat, and tears into what we do.
And it's so special to us.
[woman] Thank you, girls.
Thank you, rooks.
-Thanks, rooks.
-You're such a sweetheart!
Thank you, rookies.
-Thank you, rooksters.
-Thank you so much!
[chatter continues, fades]
[traffic humming]
[muted crowd noise]
["9 to 5" playing faintly in the distance]
[Kelli] Oh, I hear "9 to 5."
[Kelli singing] Stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition ♪
9 to 5 ♪
Something's looking
-[Zoë] Dark.
-[Kelli] dark there.
-Is that all your eyebrows?
-Yes, ma'am.
[Kelli] Let me show you two of Victoria.
She doesn't need
that much mascara on the bottom.
[Judy] No.
[Kelli] Vic.
Don't put mascara
on your bottom lashes like that.
-You don't have it on now, right?
-It looks great. See?
-Okay. Yes.
-Thank you for playing.
-Thank you.
You're dismissed. Bye.
[Victoria] It is
The smallest things that you wouldn't
think are a big deal are so big.
Especially when it's just a photo
of you individually wearing this uniform,
they need everything to be
in the world-class expectation
that we hold.
So they go and thoroughly look
at each photo of us on game days
to make sure
that nothing is not world-class
when wearing this uniform.
[Kelli] I don't like Kelcey's face,
but we can crop her out.
-It's weird, but you could crop her out.
-[Judy] Yeah, her face is weird.
[gentle, dramatic music playing]
[Kelcey] Kelli is so committed
to excellence on all fronts.
I mean, she's an icon.
She's raised this program
from the ground up.
Everyone just wants to impress her a lot,
because we look up to her so much.
What gives? When practicing,
do we leg lift or not?
-[all] Yes, ma'am.
-I'm asking.
-[all] Yes, ma'am.
-We do?
-[woman] Yes, we do.
-Y'all were like [laughing]
So Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm worked up.
[exhales] Ay-yo!
There's no "no." If Kelli tells you
to do something, you do it.
-We're not gonna be sloppy in practice.
-Yes, ma'am.
So let's leave that slop at the door,
and let's
One time,
she called us America's Slophearts
because we didn't look good.
I don't like spotting the front.
That's why.
[Judy] Saltie just looks
like she didn't care.
And I go
I go, "You don't have
a stitch of makeup on,"
and I go, "What would
Suzanne Mitchell say?"
[Kelli] Oh, God. That's cruel.
Two, three
It's an honor to be a Cowboys Cheerleader,
and they take great pride in it.
I am their teacher in a lot of respects.
If there's a pat on the back necessary,
or there's a slap on the rump
that's necessary,
I am their surrogate mother
in a lot of respects.
[Kelli] Suzanne was the director
for 13 seasons.
She started in 1976.
Suzanne was very intimidating.
At the same time,
Suzanne was very passionate.
[Suzanne] Anybody who's got gum
-[woman] Get it out.
-Get it out. Now.
That is a real big no in this place.
No gum, ever.
No gum ever on the field. No gum
-[woman] Period.
She was a very hard woman
that expected excellence at all times.
[Suzanne] I don't want
anybody biting their nails at all.
Because when you're sitting there
signing autographs,
and you're laying your hand out
and signing your name
in that beautiful blouse,
gorgeous uniform, gorgeous face,
then you come down,
and you have a half-eaten hand,
something is lost.
[dramatic organ note resonates]
[Sarah] There were rules
from the beginning,
but over the years, and especially
when Suzanne came on the team,
the rules started stacking up.
[alumna 1] It was all spelled out.
It was said,
how do you look in the uniform?
Do you have a muffin top?
[alumna 2] Full hair and makeup every day.
[alumna 3] You get there on time.
You need to know your stuff.
[Sarah] "Have you ever had bad experiences
with men?"
There is one acceptable answer here.
"As a cheerleader, no."
Don't ever give anybody
your home phone number, ever,
or your home address.
Be very, very careful
about any information,
and don't give out any information
about any other cheerleaders.
You know, Suzanne took over the team
when things were exploding in the '70s,
so a big part of her role
was to be a protector.
[interviewer] How have
the cheerleaders been merchandised?
[Kelli] The appearance requests,
the cameras, the media, the fans
I love them all.
They all look good. I like the short one.
She had to be a guardian and a guard
for an organization of very young
and inexperienced women.
She just was the right person for the role
during a time where things could've gotten
out of control really quickly.
Today we're gonna meet
one of our rookie cheerleaders
and the pride of Lindale, Texas,
Kelli McGonagill.
[younger Kelli] I was born in Waco, Texas.
My father moved to Tyler
to set up his optometry practice,
and then we moved out to Lindale.
Lindale is a small town
right outside of Tyler.
I stayed in Lindale
till I graduated from high school.
I graduated with 104 people.
[Kelli] I promise you I was more protected
as a rookie cheerleader
probably than college campus sorority.
Suzanne never had children.
We were her family.
[Sarah] She gave everything in her life
to those cheerleaders.
It took over her life,
and it became a full-time job,
and it became, in many ways,
her meaning and purpose.
[Kelli] I mean, if anybody's gonna
carry on the tradition
and protect the Suzanne Mitchell regime,
I think that kind of
all made sense for me.
[music fades]
[Kelli] Time has just been
the biggest sacrifice.
There's a lot of things I don't get to do.
[keyboard clicking]
I'm like any working mom.
It's hard, and-and you have guilt.
There were times I left the house
when my kids were asleep,
and I came home,
and they were already asleep,
and that was heartbreaking.
[soft piano melody playing]
[Kelli] You do your best.
And at the end of the day, I hope
I'm a better coach
because I'm a mother now.
And I hope I'm a better mom
because I've coached young women.
What year were you Rookie of the Year?
-[Judy] Was she the very first?
-[Kelli] '88 football season
Yes, she was the first
Rookie of the Year. That's a fact.
[call waiting beeps]
[woman] While we're discussing
all of my accolades
I gotta call you back.
My daughter's calling.
-[woman] Bye.
-Hi, Mannie.
-You're on speaker.
-Okay. Um
-Quick question.
-What's up?
-Are you booked the 9th?
[Kelli] Judy said I could have
the day off. What you got cooking?
Well, I have to be home anyway
because John and I are going to a wedding.
So I was thinking I might just take
that Thursday and Friday off
and, like, do some dress appointments.
-What do you mean?
-[makeup artist gasps]
-To try on?
-Like wedding dress appointments.
[Judy] Aw.
-Yes, she wants to.
-No crying.
-[Judy] She's having a moment, Samantha.
-We can't let her mess up her makeup.
I didn't mean to make you cry.
-Um, yes, I'd love to.
-That'd be fun. Whoo-hoo.
[birds chittering]
[attendees] Jesus ♪
My Savior forever ♪
He sought me, and he bought me ♪
With his redeeming blood ♪
This is the Watauga Community Center.
And they're having
the, uh, Senior Jamboree today.
Most of 'em don't get out much, probably,
but it is a time of uplifting,
and bringing joy to their hearts,
and things such as that.
[Victoria] Hi!
-[woman] Hello!
-[Victoria] How are you?
-You look so pretty.
-You look so pretty!
I love your tie-dye.
Well, my daughter's husband
She made these.
-She did?
That's beautiful.
-[woman crying] Oh my God.
-Aw! [laughs gently]
Can we take a picture with you?
-You get right here in the middle.
Zoë's gonna
Taylor's gonna stand right by you.
-Ronnie, you ready?
-[Ronnie] Yeah.
Okay, she's gonna turn on the beeper too.
-Here's the ball.
Close your eyes.
[electronic beeping]
When you're ready, go for it, my friend.
-I just bowl?
-Yeah. Try to knock down the pins.
[Victoria] America's Sweetheart,
it's a representative
of who can go and talk to anyone
from a five-year-old to a grandpa
and any conversation in between those two.
I want everyone that I encounter
to know that they were welcomed,
and loved, and touched
by just a little part
of the Dallas Cowboys organization
if that's all they get to receive.
[woman] Y'all, here come
the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
[quiet cheering]
-I'm gonna watch y'all.
-Gonna watch?
-More on TV.
-Yes, ma'am.
I will. And I'll try to learn
those cheers with you.
You'd better.
I hope we get a lot of touchdowns
this Sunday. You can learn the touchdown.
-Oh yes!
-Go, Cowboys!
-Go, Cowboys!
-Yes, ma'am.
-I love you.
-Yes, ma'am. I love you too.
[Madeline] Being America's Sweethearts,
I love that we can give people
hope, and happiness, and just enjoyment.
My mom taught me a lot
about the community that cheers us on.
A good act sparks another,
and I truly believe as DCCs,
it's this idea of seeing
what can be done and what should be done.
[woman] I love the cheerleaders.
Oh my goodness.
They are extraordinary nice.
-For real.
Extremely beautiful, nice people.
Beautiful girls!
[Victoria] That's the beauty of the DCC.
They are the entertainers
that provide that happy feeling,
that feel-good feeling.
[gentle, dreamy music playing]
Sir, can you hold on to the football,
please? Thank you.
-What's your name?
-John? Nice to meet you.
-Yes. Nice to meet you.
Thank you very much.
-Can I get one?
-Of course.
Thank you, dear.
-Or can I say no just to you?
-Yeah, just him.
Can I put my arm around you?
-Hands on the football, please.
-Okay. Sorry about that.
[man] We have a no-touch policy.
If you want a picture with a cheerleader,
we can make that happen.
We have a couple of rules.
You're not touching the cheerleader.
So we bring footballs with us
in every Stand and Pose that we go to.
Don't touch her.
[Don] So a man doesn't feel comfortable
standing with his hands
in front or on side,
he can hold the football,
and that takes some of the enthusiasm away
from trying to put your hands around
or on a cheerleader.
[Kat] The football is so people
don't touch us,
because people get so freaking handsy,
especially when they start
to know your name, and they're like,
"Kat, how's your cat doing?"
"How's how's your family doing?"
I've had letters sent
to my personal address
of like, "I feel like we're best friends."
"I know where you live."
[Tina] There was somebody
that kept calling the Dallas Cowboys,
and they were going to "kill me."
[tense music playing]
[Tina] At the time,
I guess I was so young,
I was like, "There's a security guard.
Nothing's gonna happen to me."
I always felt protected
when I was with the Cowboys.
[Don] When you visit with a cheerleader,
they look you right in the eye,
and you get the impression
that there's nothing in the world
that they're thinking about
other than what you're telling them
right now,
because they're truly interested
in what people have to say.
Some people take that as meaning,
"Wow. Did you see the way
she looked at me?"
"Maybe I should ask for her phone number,"
or things like that.
So sometimes we have to settle people down
to let them know that,
"They're truly interested
in what you have to say,
but that's where it ends."
[scattered applause, cheering]
[music fades]
When we go to an appearance,
we're usually the center of attention.
That's why they brought us there.
So even if I had a bad day,
I can't show up
and not put my best foot forward
and make people feel seen and loved.
I have to be on.
I can't show up, and be in a bad mood,
and hide in the corner,
'cause there are expectations placed
on how we carry ourselves as DCC
and as America's Sweethearts.
-[all cheering]
[Kelcey] It can be tough sometimes.
We all know that.
And we have to find that support system
in the locker room with our team.
We all go through things,
and we talk about it in the locker room,
and we support each other.
[Claire] As a Christian,
you just have a higher calling to forgive,
especially among believers.
We are one. We're united.
And so, your friends are gonna hurt you,
your family's gonna hurt you.
It's just gonna happen in life.
But our call is to, like,
forgive as Jesus forgave us,
and there's no amount of times that
he says is okay to not forgive, you know.
You gotta extend the same grace to others
that he does to us, so
[Kelcey] Claire has really pushed me
in my faith.
She's one
that I talk about the hard things with.
Dear Lord, thank you so much
for giving us the bodies to
It started with
there was an AirTag put on my car.
And I didn't know until I got home,
so whoever it was could see where I lived.
[Claire] Thank you again
[Kelcey] I started to see
this car following me.
I had to call the police
and file a police report,
but there's never anything they can do
until somebody hurts me, so
[somber music playing]
It really took away my
sanity, to be completely honest.
I was so scared. I mean,
I was turning my back at every corner.
I was watching every car
that I saw multiple times
and writing down license plates.
It just, like It makes you crazy.
[lock alarm beeps]
[tearfully] Nate got really angry,
and protective,
and just angry
that someone would ever do that.
Um But I think, to a degree
it's really hard
for a man that's 6'4" and strong
to really, fully understand, like,
being scared
to even walk outside at night.
[tearfully] I couldn't live
that anxious all the time.
I couldn't, like, not sleep, not eat
because I was so scared
of, like, what could happen.
I had to just pray and say,
like, "If this is"
"If this is something
that's gonna happen to me,
it's gonna happen to me, and
but I can't live in fear all the time."
I just knew God put me here for a reason,
and I wanted to be here.
That's where I felt like
he wanted me to be.
In a moment of weakness,
it would've been easy for me
to kind of drop off the face of the earth,
and just be normal Nurse Kelcey,
and not a DCC.
But once I gave it up to God
and knew that it was where I needed to be,
I don't think there was ever a question.
[music fades]
Ooh! So pretty!
-These are great.
-Oh my gosh.
See if we can get them to
-[coworker] It's, like, hot and cold.
-[Reece] It is.
[Reece] So I just started working
at a flower shop.
I've always had this passion for flowers.
I love the art
of how you can create something
through nature
and how pretty flowers are.
It's really been fun
to kind of use my creativity
in something else rather than dance.
It just makes me happy.
If I'm having a bum day,
I'm gonna go buy myself flowers.
Super fun.
-[coworker] Is Will liking Dallas?
-For sure?
-He is. Yeah. He is. He is.
Will made it out the end of September.
So it's kind of difficult, um
We'll, like, maybe see each other
right before I go to practice
or something, um,
but sometimes, we just cross paths,
and we don't get to see each other.
So we are figuring it out
and making the most out of, um,
just our lives right now. [laughs]
My nails look like I've been
not in a nail salon for ten weeks.
So if anybody's ready
for a nail appointment anytime soon
Always up for nails.
-[Kelli] Okay, can we go to November?
-[woman] Okay.
-Three games.
-[Kelli] One stadium and some Fords.
And then the next week,
we have three rehearsals,
and the game is Thanksgiving,
and artist is not named.
[Judy giggles] But we're giggling.
Probably the highest-profile performance
that the cheerleaders do each year
is our Thanksgiving Day halftime.
I mean, there is nothing more exciting
than Thanksgiving week.
-Go, Cowboys!
[Charlotte] When the NFL decided
that they wanted to have a game
on Thanksgiving Day,
there were many teams that
didn't want to play on Thanksgiving Day.
They didn't think they could sell tickets.
I mean, how do you take
the American holiday
and then have everybody come out
for a football game?
So we have to establish a tradition
that becomes a part
of the Dallas Cowboys' culture.
-Happy Thanksgiving!
-From the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!
[Charlotte] And for the past 27 years
of that time,
this halftime has become
part of that tradition.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
The Thanksgiving game
and being a DCC is, like, extra special.
You get this great entertainer coming in,
and you get to be onstage
with that entertainer.
How cool is that?
[Kelcey] I've performed
with Ellie Goulding, Kane Brown,
Luke Combs, which was one of my favorites,
and last year was Jonas Brothers.
Happy Thanksgiving, America!
We are in our 27th year
of this annual Thanksgiving Day tradition,
where we drop an entertainer
right in the middle of halftime,
have the second largest halftime show
next to the Super Bowl,
with millions of people watching on TV
and of course 90,000 people
in the stands to cheer them on.
It has become an American tradition.
It certainly is
a Dallas Cowboys tradition.
So we're so excited.
And I have to admit
this is a dream of mine.
We have tried for years, uh, to entice her
to come spend Thanksgiving Day with us.
[phone rings]
On Thanksgiving Day,
we get to have Dolly Parton
be our featured halftime performer.
I'll see y'all this Thanksgiving.
[bell ringing softly]
I think this year, having Dolly there,
there's so much excitement and enthusiasm,
and you just want to be perfect for her.
[airplane engine buzzing in the distance]
[birds chirping]
[door squeaks open]
-[Reece] Hello.
-[Judy] Hi.
[Kelli] Hey.
-How are y'all?
-[Judy] We're good. How are you?
-[Kelli] Good.
-[Kelli] I got a project for you.
-[Reece] Okay.
-You know Dolly Parton's coming?
-[Reece] Mm-hmm.
And in her book, she talks about
she did her eyebrows
with matchsticks, burned. Ch-ch-ch.
-To get the dark on.
-And her blush was from a pokeberry.
I wanna make a floral arrangement
with pokeberries in it
and put it in Dolly Parton's greenroom
here for the show.
-[Reece] That would be so special.
-Can you look into that?
Oh, absolutely.
Ooh, I like that challenge.
-[Kelli] Okay. Thank you, ma'am.
-Thank you.
She is so delightful.
I almost wanted to ask her,
"When do you cry?"
Get mad. "Do you get mad?"
I get so mad.
It's hard for us sour spirits
to imagine, right?
Being that happy all the time.
[crickets chirping]
[Judy] Five, six, seven, eight.
You hold, two, three, four,
and five, six, seven, and eight.
One, two, three, four,
and five, six, seven, eight.
One, two, back on your yard,
five, six, seven, and eight.
And one, two, and three, four
You're out of line, Elli. seven, stop.
-Bum-ba here? Or bum-ba here?
-[Kelcey] Here.
Okay, that's where
y'all were doing it different.
One, pump, two, three, four, and five
-[Kelcey] Six, seven Sorry.
-[Judy] What was weird about that?
Just think of it more of just, like,
a cross to the corner in place.
[gentle, dreamy music playing]
That make sense?
Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Arm down or up?
Jada, you're up. Most people are down.
I don't know which it is.
You're turned to the front.
If you moved off-center,
you need to move off-center.
So you would go over here,
and then you'd move back.
Everybody move in one yard, one yard.
Does that look separated enough,
or it looked better the other way?
I'd have to see them dancing in opposition
to know, 'cause now it
[Kelli singing] 9 to 5 ♪
[vocalizes musical flourish]
-Feet go out on three?
-Yes, ma'am.
[Kelli] I'm seeing and a three,
and I'm seeing three.
And and-y and a three
-[Judy] And it splits your yard.
-[Judy] Victoria.
-Yes, ma'am?
-A couple of times you made arm mistakes.
-Yes, ma'am.
-Do you know what I'm talking about?
-[Judy] Ma'am.
-Yes, ma'am.
-So who's confused?
Is anyone confused?
9 to 5 ♪
9 to 5 ♪
[Dolly on recording] Good job!
[Judy] Good job!
-[Kelli] That was better.
-[Judy] There you go.
The tree! Aw!
-I love the Christmas tree.
Is that a new star?
It's so exciting.
[music fades]
Something crystal and cute.
-What did you just finish?
-We just went here.
And it goes [vocalizes song rhythm]
That's what we did, but we can
-They can go
-I might like that.
-I do too. I like power pose better.
-This? Okay.
Y'all, gather around the tree, please,
if you can, just real quick.
No, come sit. This is a sit talk.
As we approach Thanksgiving,
I would be remiss as your leader
if I didn't tell y'all something
that bothered me
that could spill over into this week.
We asked y'all on Sunday
to write cards for James.
James has had a stroke.
His life is in danger.
Ten of you did not write cards.
That's not who we are.
We're better than that.
But I also
Kleine, you just said something,
"Where's my ornament?"
-Kleine, where are you?
-Right here.
Before you say, "Where's my ornament?"
-Where are you?
-Right here.
[Kelli] Why don't you first thank Michele
for coming up here by herself
and putting this tree together?
Why don't we thank people first
before we think of ourselves?
What has happened?
We need to get back
to thinking about other people.
That's what cheerleaders do.
We take time for James, our bus driver.
We thank Michele
for putting up the Christmas tree.
So I just wanna recalibrate
during Thanksgiving,
when it's a time for us to be thankful
for life and time.
That you guys take that seriously,
and you're not so busy being camera-ready
that you're not heart-ready.
We're doing the best we can.
I'm only saying that now,
'cause we're about to be
with Dolly Parton's management,
and we're about to make changes.
They're moving things.
It puts a lot of pressure on Judy,
and I put pressure on Judy,
so it's a lot of pressure.
So it's not the time to ask Judy,
"Where's my ornament?"
Or, "Where's my vegetarian meal?"
It's just not the time.
-[women] Yes, ma'am.
-[Kelli] Okay.
Let's go.
[woman] Kelcey, are you gonna bring
[indistinct chatter]
["Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado
playing faintly in locker room]
[Kelli] Kleine.
I just want you to know
that I was really hurt. Um Sorry. It's
But I'm just, um
I'm grateful for every opportunity
I'm given, um, on this team,
but it's always really scary, um
trying to come in here
and be the best I can be and perfect.
So cumulatively, my only advice to you is
it's just your timing.
Could you not ask Judy
where your Christmas ornament is
when Judy's five minutes
from her highest pressure rehearsal?
-It's just the timing.
-Yes, ma'am.
It's not who you are, and it's not
a judgment of your character.
It's timing.
-Do you mind if I have a moment?
-Have a moment.
-We love you.
-Thank you for talking to me.
Don't unbold yourself.
I don't plan on it. [laughs]
You're about to have to go be a rock star.
I'll give you a minute, okay?
[chatter continues nearby]
-Are you okay?
What happened?
[Kleine whispers] I'm just like
I'm just so frustrated.
But you know your intentions were pure,
and you, like, didn't mean
anything behind it,
and we all know that.
So regardless
of how it came off or whatever
I mean, you're distraught.
But we know your character.
We know that you meant nothing by that.
And as long as you spoke your heart
and told her that you meant nothing by it,
that's all that you can do.
-But, um
-Come on
[speaking indistinctly]
[traffic humming]
[birds chirping]
[knocking on door]
[James] Nobody's home.
[Kelli laughs]
-[James guffaws]
-Look at you!
-Girl. What're you doing, darling?
-You look good. You're up.
-You doing all right? I appreciate it.
Oh my God! Look at those red socks.
Well, yeah.
You look good, James.
You look so much better
than last time I saw you.
I'm still a little bit unsteady,
but right now, they're looking
at sending me home at, uh
-You're kidding.
Hang on one second. Don't don't get up.
I'm gonna ask your nurse a question.
Well, they'll get on me
if I stood up without one of them around.
Your doctor had orders to cheer you up.
-Hi, James.
-So here we are.
Y'all could give me a heart attack
in here.
-Oh, no! No!
We brought you some holiday cheer
to spruce up your room.
-[James cries softly]
Let me take your phone.
[tender, sentimental music playing]
I had to make sure the doctors knew
you weren't telling stories
that you're cheerleader family.
[James] I am.
[Kelli] We wanted to decorate your room
a little for Christmas if that's okay.
-[James] Okay.
-[Kelli] One, two, three.
It actually looks great.
Here. And so you won't forget me,
'cause you will
Oh, I never can forget you.
[music fades]
Are you excited for Dolly P?
[Anna Kate] Oh, yeah.
That'll be fun.
Thanksgiving's really special because,
like, you're with your best friends,
and in the locker room,
usually everyone goes around
and says what they're thankful for.
-You can say, "I'm thankful for a sister
who allowed me to move in with her
for five months
while she was really going through it."
-"And yet, she continued to smile
and make me just feel
so loved and appreciated."
But sometimes, I feel like you're not
very empathetic of my life right now.
-I am.
-It's, like, so, like
It went from being one thing
to, like, completely different so fast.
The audition process, I was so involved
with you. We were practicing.
And now, it's kind of like
this is your life now,
and mine's not that, which is okay,
but sometimes, I think that's, like,
emotionally kind of drained me.
Did I tell you I'm doing the Turkey Trot
in the morning?
-Yes. Is that three miles?
Are you walking?
Do you think I'm running?
You could maybe trot.
[Caroline] I have to, like,
romanticize my life.
Because I'm not on the team anymore
doing fun things, I have to
Yeah, like, make it, like, cool.
[Anna Kate] So go run a Turkey Trot?
Instead of waking up on Thanksgiving
and doing nothing.
-[Anna Kate] You could watch the parade.
-Yeah, I'll do that too.
It's time to have our own space.
Yeah. I'm really ready.
[gentle music playing]
[music builds slowly]
[bright, cheery music playing]
So, in her book,
she talked about back in the day
"Mashed pokeberries straight from the vine
were my go-to for rouge."
And then, "I used the burnt tips
of Mama's kitchen matches"
So she would
She'd do that,
and then do that,
then do her beauty spot and eyebrows.
Ouch! Would that hurt?
[Kelli] Well, no, she just used it
once it was not hot.
Not hot.
Hi there. How are you?
Oh boy, that's sweet! Wow!
-Hi. How are you?
-[Reece] Hi, Miss Dolly.
-Oh my God! Well, I saw that.
-That's So
I thought that was one of my gang.
Here's your matches
for your eyebrows. That's what
And here's your pokeberries
for your blush.
I used to put them on my lips,
and Daddy'd try to get it off.
I'd say, "It's my natural color.
It won't come off."
He said, "Natural color, my butt!"
I never thought I'd be sharing bustlines
with Dolly Parton.
-My gosh!
-[Dolly] Well, we're doing all right.
-[man] Looking right here. One, two
If someone had said,
"Hey, let's write Kelli's biggest dreams,
and let's have them all happen
in one week,"
that's what happened.
-Thank you.
-See you later.
[Kelli] Man, you talk about
an incredible artist
that works so hard,
and is so pleasant, and cute,
and adorable, and loved by everyone.
Our cheerleaders are called
America's Sweethearts,
and Dolly is America's Sweetheart.
I mean, it's like
you couldn't have written this.
All right, now it's time to get serious.
Here we go, DCC!
And a one, two, three, and four,
five, six, seven, and eight.
One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight.
[baby babbling]
-[woman] Pepaw.
-[Jerry] Okay. Well, I understand.
-It's all right, baby.
-[woman] It's naptime.
Yeah, of course.
Jerry, what's been
your favorite Thanksgiving halftime
you've been a part of with the Cowboys?
-[Victoria] Beyoncé?
-Mine too, Jerry.
-That's so cool.
-That was when she was a Destiny's Child.
-[woman] Oh, yeah.
[Jerry] And it was really cold.
So they opened up Neiman Marcus
and got each one of them a fur coat.
Oh, wow!
They went out
and did their thing in fur coats.
-[woman] From Neiman Marcus that morning.
-That is so cool.
-That's awesome.
-That's awesome.
[gentle, dreamy music playing]
[man] Go, Cowboys!
Back, back. One, and two.
[crowd cheering]
[woman] Yes!
[cheering continues]
-[music fades]
-[crowd shouting]
Stand by. Stand by, guys.
There they go.
Oh my God!
-[woman] Dolly's in that star.
-[Tina] Yes.
There she is. You can't miss her.
In her hot pink.
You can't miss her.
She looks like Barbie.
Six, five, four, three, two, one.
To video.
[announcer] Please welcome
global superstar and rock star,
Dolly Parton.
[thunderous cheering]
Well, I know everybody's off
eating turkey and dressing,
and I know you ain't working today,
but I bet we got
a lot of nine-to-fivers out there.
Am I right?
I wrote a song for you.
You gonna help me out?
Let's go.
Well, I tumble out of bed
And I stumble to the kitchen ♪
Pour myself a cup of ambition ♪
Yawn and stretch
And try to come to life ♪
I jump in the shower
And the blood starts pumpin' ♪
Out on the streets
The traffic starts jumpin' ♪
With folks like me
On the job from 9 to 5 ♪
Everybody! ♪
Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin' ♪
Barely getting by
It's all takin' and no givin' ♪
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit ♪
It's enough to drive you crazy
If you let it ♪
9 to 5, for service and devotion ♪
You would think that I
Would deserve a fair promotion ♪
Want to move ahead
But the boss won't seem to let me ♪
I swear sometimes
That man is out to get me ♪
9 to 5 ♪
9 to 5 ♪
Good job!
[cacophonous cheering]
[Kelcey] Oh my gosh!
Good job!
All right, let's go, team. Go! Go! Go!
Pull on the front side.
-Go! Go! Go!
Sound crew's not gonna make it. Let's go!
Go! Go! Go!
-["Pepas" by Farruko playing]
-[Kelcey] Five, six, seven, eight.
[DJ EJ] Aw, hey!
["Pepas" continues]
Oh my God! Did y'all know
she was coming out in that?
-Everybody's jaw dropped.
-My friends are saying the same thing.
They're like, "Is Dolly in a DCC outfit?"
I think she surprised everybody.
Her waist is tinier
than all of those girls'.
Don't you think she surprised everybody?
I have friends
now wanting Dolly's uniform.
Here's a former cheerleader.
"Brilliant. Dolly. So proud."
She's with who?
-Somebody inappropriately touched Sophy.
-My phone
And she's in the hallway
talking to a policeman.
Giving a report.
-You wanna know that now?
Or no?
-She's talking to the right people.
-I thought you'd wanna
[Shelly] They told me to let you know.
She's right here in the hallway.
-[Shelly] Sophy.
No. Who?
A cameraman inappropriately touched her,
and she's identifying him,
and she's giving a statement to the police
right here in the hallway
with stadium ops
and Arlington police officer.
[tense, dramatic music playing]
[solemn, dramatic music playing]
[music fades]
Previous EpisodeNext Episode