About the show
A closer look at the world of cheerleading as the series delves into the everyday lives of a squad of cheerleaders.
Reality show CHEERLEADER U follows top-ranked University of Kentucky cheerleaders as they compete for spots in their team's elite Blue Squad, attend cheerleading camp, and compete against other teams in major cheerleading events. Folks who dismiss cheerleaders as fluff on the side of the main event might change their minds after watching the athletic feats performed by the men and women of UK. Male cheerleaders need incredible upper body strength and balance to pull off their moves, as well as the trust of their female counterparts. Meanwhile, the women are full-fledged gymnasts who must perform high-flying stunts while chanting, cheering, and maintaining a smile the entire time. Getting a glimpse inside the world of elite cheerleading is fascinating; it's filled with emotion, energy, and athleticism. Most compelling is the footage of the tryouts and the events where the cheerleaders practice and compete. Less interesting are the after-hours scenes in which the cheerleaders talk about crushes while giving each other massages and pep talks. Tension is maintained by eliminations during tryouts and waiting to find out who will be selected for the final Nationals team. Through interviews with the athletes, Cheerleader U serves to break down stereotypes -- for example, that all male cheerleaders are gay or that female cheerleaders are anorexic -- and in that respect it does well. But the series doesn't end up surprising viewers with the people it features. Most are just what you'd expect: white, pretty, upbeat, and -- at least when they're on camera -- superficial.