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What is Going Wrong with ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

Published on May 16th, 2017 | Updated on May 16th, 2017 | By FanFest

Dancing With The Stars has been on for quite a while now – 24 Seasons to be exact – and each year brings us the same old fun times. The star that improves every week, fun judges banter and epic freestyle routines are just a few of the series staples we’ve come to love and expect. Though sadly, there’s also a part of this show that not only returns each season, but also seems to get worse – the scoring.

It’s normal for a reality show to have surprise eliminations, but this season of Dancing With The Stars has been an extra level of absurd. And everyone – even the judges – are feeling it.

This all started in Week 6 when Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who had been out due to an injury, finally returned to dance with his celebrity partner Heather Morris. The couple closed out the night with the first perfect score 40/40 of the season; and then not even a half hour later were sent home for the lowest combined score….

There was tons of outrage on social media and even the judges felt it. Judge and former (professional) contestant Julianne Hough even pointed out how the series has become a popularity contest at times. The following week brought back the “Immunity” feature, and even though this is a returning feature for the 7th Week of competition, its timing was still a little TOO on point.

Either way, the “Immunity” clause would have been helpful last night as world-class gymnast Simone Biles and her partner get sent home despite owning the night with double perfect scores. Simone started small this season but quickly worked her way up and always remained near the top of the pack. Now it’s hard to really know who the second lowest score was since they rarely announce the winners in sequential order, but it’s easy to take a guess – or rather venture who should have gone home – David Ross.

Whereas the two time World Series Champion has certainly improved over the weeks, David isn’t on the same level as everyone else. In fact, he’s always been at the back of the pack – or dead last. In fact, he didn’t get higher than a 32 until last week (a 36) and hasn’t surpassed that. It’s one of those situations where you say: “He’s a great man, wonderful athlete, gott the hang of dancing, but those other three are just SO GOOD!” Though there is one area where he does excel, fan support – and in this competition about technique and precision, that shouldn’t mean as much as it does.

This isn’t America’s Got Talent or The Voice or any other show that needs the popularity component in it. This is a show about ballroom dancing and whereas fan appeal is important, it shouldn’t mean more than the JUDGES score. Ballroom dancing is an art form and takes years of practice to master the most minute of technique. So there’s a pretty strong chance that the judges know more than the most viewers when it comes to judging technique. Additionally, each judge has their own particular style and background so they can properly weigh all the aspects of someone’s dance. Maybe your Jazz routine was a little too freestyle for Len Goodman, but Bruno Tonioli will eat it up, you sexy fox you!

The scores are calculated in terms of percents (ie: your score/ total points awarded + your fan votes/ total fan votes). Now this season has been doing dances and eliminations in the same night, so previous week’s scores are counted too, but it still doesn’t add up. Last week had Simone right in the middle and this week she was on top, but it still wasn’t enough.

Last Week Scores This Week Scores Result
Simone 72 80 X
Rashad 75 77 Safe
Normani 79 76 Safe
David 65 70 Safe
Bonner 58

When situations like this happens, it really is important for Judges score to be worth more. I’m not saying they should be the ONLY factor, but instead of a 50/50 split, change it up to at least 60/40. Viewer votes have always skewed things and there’s been times where dancers who could barely break 25 have gone on for weeks at a time because it was entertaining seeing how bad they were/ refused to learn – which is disrespectful to those who actually are pushing themselves to improve. And let’s not forget the “oh they’re fine” mentality. When you see a couple who gets perfect scores, you might think “oh they’re fine, they don’t need my votes”; but as this week proved, they very clearly ARE NOT fine and DO need your votes!

Again, this has been a now and again problem in the history of Dancing With The Stars, but this season more than any. Where they go from here I don’t know, but it looks as though people might be getting fed up. Each of the judges were horrified last night and so was Twitter. Maybe this outcry will cause some changes in how voting is done in the future. Until then, Dancing With The Stars will continue to show that being a popularity contest is much more important than being “the best”.

Whereas Simone might not have won it all, she still deserves to be in that finale. Normani and Rashad have worked their butts off and both are deserving of the trophy (especially Normani)! So there’s still a chance everything can work out in the end, but this has all set up a very bad pattern. I’m suddenly starting to remember why I walked away from this show for 10 Seasons. Depending on how the Finale goes, I might have to again.

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2 thoughts on “What is Going Wrong with ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

  1. I agree, but then again, it’s not fair, they have baseball catchers against gold medal gymnasts and old ladies like Charo against Beyonce’s backup dancer. I mean, some ppl need the fan vote just to stay at all. If they want it to be ‘fair’ get ppl of equal age and dancing ability. It’s a show about ‘celebrity’ so of course popularity is a factor. That’s how the show was designed. If you want a fair dancing competition, go watch So You Think You Can Dance.

  2. Very valid point. But i think that’s also what separates the early weeks from the finals stretch. Like I LOVED seeing Bill Nye dance that time, but at the same time you know they won’t make it too far. Or a better example was George Hamilton. I loved watching him dance and I was happy he made it far. But his staying never felt like it took away from a better dancer. Again, this could all be for nothing if one of the others take the prize. He’s a great guy, but if he took the mirror ball then it’d no longer seem a mix of judges and voters but rather just voters. *shrug* we shall see. But yes, you bring up a very good point of there being that question of “you want the best, but then why bring on people you know cannot come close to matching”. Though i suppose the ‘How Do They Pick These Contestants’ is a question for another day lol Thanks for your comment Heather! 🙂


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