We’ve seen a lot of changes to the Dancing With the Stars format this season. Most of them have been for the purpose of putting the show’s focus on the celebrities’s dancing skills, and some have turned out to be better than others at doing this. However, there’s one simple thing that could easily accomplish this without much of the extra stuff…but it hasn’t been happening. What?
Something Is Missing On ‘DWTS’…
There has been a clear focus this season on proper dance technique being held in a higher regard than gimmicks and flashy moves. This is evident in the judges’s comments, which have been more detailed in terms of what they are looking for in routines and what the contestants need to improve on, as well as the introduction of the judges’s save, allowing them to choose which of the bottom two contestants will be eliminated from the competition and who will stick around.
The Judges Finally Speak Out
The changes have gave us some really good dancing and improvement from the teams, but we keep seeing some of the stronger dancers in the bottom two, and at times, both contestants in that position have been among those delivering some of the better performances of the season.
The judges spoke out on their disappointment in having to choose between strong dancers when not all of the weaker ones have even been up for elimination yet after this week’s show, which saw Kate Flannery eliminated after being in the bottom 2 with Ally Brooke. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Us Weekly:
“It’s frustrating. There are really great dancers being sent home, but that is part of our show. It’s always been the audience and the judges’ perspective. I can’t be so mad at it, but it’s frustrating. … I would like to beg the public to remember that this is a dance competition. Of course, vote with your heart, but also take a moment to consider everybody else in the competition, and are you voting for the right person?”
‘DWTS’: Dance Show or a Popularity Contest?
Head judge Len Goodman was a little more direct in his comments, referring to current low man on the totem poll of the season (at least in terms of scores) Sean Spicer.
“He’s very popular with a certain element of the viewers, not the real dance fans. … You haven’t got to be a weatherman to see which way the wind blows. He should have gone three weeks ago before Sailor [Brinkley-Cook] went! But it is what it is. The judges say this and the viewers say that and then it all comes out as it is.”
A Simple Solution to Fix ‘DWTS’
It almost seems hypocritical for the judges to be complaining about this, because there’s one element of the show that has largely stayed the same as other seasons, and is most likely the reason why we keep seeing strong dancers in the bottom 2. And it’s one controlled directly by the panel: the scores.
The judges started this season off by deliberately scoring contestants lower than in the past, even bringing out the “3” paddle, which we hadn’t seen in about a decade. But we’ve just finished Week 8 and it’s gone back to how it usually is: 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s being the majority of paddles used regardless of dance quality, and hesitance to pull out anything less than a 6 or 7 no matter how bad a routine is. This week, two of the judges gave Sean Spicer‘s messy jazz dance a 7, but much cleaner jive routines with just a couple of mistakes from Lauren Alaina and Kate Flannery an 8, just one point higher.
This leads to the scores being relatively close, which makes it easier for those lower on the leaderboard to stick around over those with more points since the scores and viewer votes are weighted equally in the results. With how close some of the contestants have been scored, they may as well be tied regardless of difference in dance ability.
Dancing With The Stars Needs to be Revamped
If the judges scored the dances realistically and the judges didn’t seemingly limit themselves to a certain range of numbers every week (ex. 3-7 on Week 1, 6-10 on Week 8, etc.) it would be more difficult for the people they seem to want to send home so badly. The original DWTS, Strictly Come Dancing over in the UK is great because their judges aren’t afraid to tell it like it is. A 10 on Week 3? Absolutely! A 3 on Week 5? You’d better believe it!
Bottom line, the judges shouldn’t be so shocked at the way people are voting, especially after notoriously weak dancer Bobby Bones pulled out the win last season. If they want the show to be more about dancing, they should lead that charge with realistic scoring. Otherwise, they are part of the very problem they claim to be so desperate to solve.