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America’s Sweethearts: Top 15 2013 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

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These boots are made for cheering...

DCC leaps and bounds
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It takes a great deal to fill these star-quality boots: a winning look, dynamic moves and a championship attitude.

DCC, let’s hear it for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders team!

“America’s Sweethearts” have made their mark at stadiums across the country and arenas around the world, cheering for “America’s Team”, the Dallas Cowboys. As a matter of fact, this NFL dance squad has been known to be “often imitated” and “never duplicated.”

This over five decade-strong franchise has been allowing access of its behind-the-scenes since 2006 to CMT viewers with its reality TV series, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, which regularly broadcasts original episodes on Friday nights during the first half of football season.

The process of reaching DCC status is a long one, starting with hundreds of girls competing for the semi-finals, advancing to training camp candidacy and ending with 30-plus of the brightest shining stars to woo fans over. The head honchos, director Kelli Finglass and choreographer Judy Trammel also went through their own DCC journeys before they assumed their leadership roles.

As a communication instructor, I would consider tryouts as comparable to preparing for and presenting a speech. Chances of making the cut are all about practice and delivery, so committing to the goal and easing up on the nerves is necessary.

First, the judges select their girls based on their first impressions of their appearance: visual appeal from their face and fit figure, as well as their dance skills: their rhythm and ability to get the moves down. They look from all angles, not just in person, but also on a 60-yard screen at the AT&T Stadium (previously called the Cowboys Stadium). That provides more clarity from the board to determine whether the contestants have that "HD face."

America’s Sweethearts are not just expected to be “eye candy,” wave pom poms and master their trademark kickline. They must conduct themselves professionally. DCC has a high standard because the girls represent the organization not just on the field, but in the public eye as well. Therefore, they must demonstrate responsibility, including punctuality to practice, games and events. In fact, they must be impressionable to “politicians, corporate leaders and military leaders,” according to Finglass.

Aside from the choreography that the girls learn, including the option of seeking consult from tough dance coach Kitty Carter, they also have the opportunity to further showcase their individual talent and bring on their creativity through a unique solo routine. If they are selected into training camp, then they condition their physiques with former Army drill sergeant Jay Johnson.

Training camp kicks off by putting DCC hopefuls, both veterans and prospective rookies alike, in the hot seat through panel interviews that drill them about their histories and test their knowledge about the Cowboys. After all, they must sell themselves and if selected, must also sell the team.

As the contenders progress through training camp, they undergo makeovers and have a photo shoot in the coveted and prided DCC uniform. Since it shows so much skin and is not the most forgiving attire, the girls who have the privilege of wearing them must be in tip-top shape.

This year, the judges even opened up selection to the public by debuting their online election to have fans vote online. The semis welcomed 54 newbies and 32 returners, all 86 having an equal chance to claim a spot on the training camp squad. Out of the ones who made the final cut, I feature 15 of my favorites.

These are the Top 15 DCCs who I chose based on having these Cs: camera-love, charisma and congeniality. I was lucky to see America’s Team and Sweethearts on the field in the flesh when I attended their Week 5 rivalry game with the Denver Broncos.

Since then, the 'boys had a good game as they hosted the Washington Redskins and delivered another victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. After their next road game at the Detroit Lions, they return to Arlington to play the Minnesota Vikings at home, where we can watch the DCC win us over again.

Elaine Dispo is a Dallas Mavericks writer for Follow her on Twitter, "Like" her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.

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15. Carisa Rose

Carisa Rose
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This North Carolina native (center brunette) calls the city of Apex home and graduated from Appalachian State University with a major in dance and a minor in business. She lucked out as a fresh grad by making the team straight out of college in 2012.

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14. Kinzie Ryanne

Kinzie Ryanne
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This blonde bombshell (center) from the Colony, Texas, told Shape that she can ace a five-minute plank challenge for flat abs. That stamina comes in handy as she returns for her second season with the DCC.

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13. Kelsey Lauren

Kelsey Lauren
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

From Eden Prairie, Minn., this two-year veteran went on Texas Christian University to dance with the Showgirls and graduate with her degree in advertising and public relations. While her career is in marketing, she definitely does her share of selling fans on the field while kicking up her DCC boots.

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12. Holly Arielle

Holly Arielle
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Before joining the DCC, this 2011 Rookie of the Year was a North Texas Dancer in her hometown, Denton. Sorry, boys, this ‘boys cheerleader is off the market, as she is happily engaged. To add to her wholesome lifestyle, her philosophy is actually one of my favorite Bible verses: Psalm 37:4.

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11. Jacie Veronica

Jacie Veronica
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This 2012 Rookie of the Year (far left beauty) from Monroe, La., is a journalist by profession with her B.A. in mass communication. Maybe she could join our Rant staff and write about the Cowboys, but we like her just fine cheering on the yard lines and the sidelines!

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10. Jenna Lene

Jenna Lene
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does this fellow “military brat” come from another part of the country – Orange County, Calif., to be exact (remember the TV show The O.C.?) – but she has also lived on the other side of the world: Seoul, Korea. This was where she felt inspired to audition for the DCC after seeing the USO Tour performance and has since been a part of the team for two seasons.

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9. Mackenzie Lee

Mackenzie Lee
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This Jacksonville, Fla., native and Florida State University business and hospitality graduate was crowned prom queen at Pedro Menendez High School, and has almost a lifetime of dance experience. She started cheering for the DCC in 2011 with long locks and now rocks a bob. When she made the Show Group this season, she described it as feeling like she made the "A" team on Making the Team.

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8. Emma Mary

Emma Mary
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This co-Social Media Sweetheart of the Week at original publication time (center redhead) calls “The Lone Star State” home as she hails from Houston, Texas. She enters her third season as a DCC and attended TCU, where she danced with the Showgirls, majored in sociology and minored in kinesiology for her B.S.

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7. Ashley Marie

Ashley Marie
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Brains plus beauty equals Ashley Marie. This two-year DC cheerleader and academic advisor from Sioux Falls, S.D., specializes in psychology with both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Arts degree. She did her undergrad studies at the University of Nebraska and attended grad school at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

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6. Katy Marie

Katy Marie
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This Coppell, Texas-native (center sweetheart), three-year DCC and another "Marie" is used to cheering and dancing at games. After all, she was on the Pom Squad at “The You of A” (The University of Arkansas), where she represented the Razorbacks at football, basketball and baseball games before she graduated and returned to her home state.

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5. Nicole Bulcher

Nicole Bulcher
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This lifelong dancer (far right brunette) comes from Twin Falls, Idaho. Before joining the DCC in 2010, the University of Idaho alum, who double majored in history and justice, had already been around the world, having studied abroad at the University of Malta in Msida.

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4. Veronica Ann

Veronica Ann
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

From the Lone Star State’s capital, this starlet (left brunette, next to former DCC, Cassie Trammell-Loftin, daughter of DCC choreographer Trammell) in her own right stayed south before making her way up to DCC nation. The University of Texas at Austin alum previously danced for the NBA D-League Austin Toros and its major affiliate, the San Antonio Spurs, before entering this squad in 2011.

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3. Mia Greenhouse

Mia Greenhouse
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This five-year veteran, with Group Leader, Show Group and USO Tours honors, lives, breathes and teaches dance. She is a dance instructor by day and a DCC by game. From Burleson, Texas, her exotic beauty can be traced to her Puerto Rican roots.

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2. Jackie Bob

Jackie Bob
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Miss Jacqueline (front and center, dark and lovely) is a clear leader of NFL cheerleaders as she enters her fifth DCC season after she cheered for the San Francisco 49ers. Just like yours truly, she has lived in both the Bay Area and So-Cal (Northern and Southern California). This 2012 Veteran of the Year who has also represented the DCC off the field in Show Group and USO Tours, recently revealed to Shape that she is the oldest on the squad.

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1. Sydney Durso

Sydney Durso
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This six-year DCC veteran tops my pyramid, not just because she and I both have called the Rio Grande Valley home (she is from McAllen, Texas), but also because she is the only regular female host of Talkin’ Cowboys with Mickey Spagnola, Bryan Broaddus and Rowan Kavner. She is True Blue, which is red hot!