DWTS Season 10 – The Conspiracy

No, actually I don’t believe in a conspiracy, but lots of Evan and/or Erin fans do.  So, I’m going to attempt to debunk it, although I suspect that no amount of reason and/or logic and/or math will do that for disgruntled fans.

Erin fans, you’re out of luck. Unless you think the show is completely rigged, there is no way that Erin was “robbed” in the finale.  She was in second place after three dances and still Evan beat her into the final two. That’s simple votes, AND she was helped tremendously by the judges over scoring of her Samba.  I’m pretty much leaving her out of this discussion unless someone wants to argue with me about it.

First off, a list of the common conspiracy theories floating around out there, compiled by my equally evil sidekick (or co-conspirator, if you prefer), Courtney:

“The judges pimped Nicole from the beginning.” What the hell kind of drugs are you folks on?? The Judges picked her apart every time she made the slightest of errors, while some of the other couples got away with glaring mistakes.  For example:

Week 1, Len told her she had “no footwork” and “lacked musicallity” which was absurd overcompensation. He gave her a 7.

Week 2, Len told her he was “ambivalent about the whole thing” and gave her an 8 while the other two gave her (well earned) tens.

Week 3 – Len, to put it simply, shredded them. Carrie Ann yelled about a lift (get over it already) and the broken hold.  I don’t complain about this week too much because Derek broke the rules and he knew he was breaking the rules, so they earned their criticism. But I have to agree with Carrie Ann and Bruno – other than the two rules, it was a freakin’ amazing, creative, brilliant dance. Len gave them a 6 – which was ridiculously underscored. Break two rules, deduct two points, not FOUR.

Week 4 – their least memorable dance of the season. It was about this time Nicole got VERY defensive about her relationship with Derek. It affected the dance – but the judges did not blindly pimp a less than stellar dance. All three judges were critical of various things and they ended up with a 50 out of 60.

Week 6 – Len says “ugly legs” which is a load of bull. He likes certain moves in his sambas and they didn’t have enough of THOSE moves, despite having other samba moves recognizable to this non-professional. There is a point when the under scoring to make it a race becomes obvious and stupid – this would be that week. Len gave her a 7. Seriously. If Len were really being critical in an even handed manner he would have given everyone else on the show that week 4s.

Now, it was very obvious what Len was doing – over compensating for the fact that she was a great dancer going in.  But what we’re talking about here is that some people actually believe that Nicole was pimped the whole way through – that the judges always loved her. Ridiculous. If Len was as hard on everyone, and as critical about certain moves and footwork, then no one else would have gotten above a 5 or a 6 – ever. But for as much as some complain about the show not being fair with Nicole on it, it’s also not fair that lesser dancers get better scores than they should when having much larger errors than Nicole ever had. But that’s the way the show rolls – I have to accept that Erin was absurdly over scored in the finale, and you conspiracy theorists have to accept that the show does bring on people with previous experience. Although, Erin and Evan also had previous experience – two strikes on them.

“Nicole is a professional dancer.” – Assuming this is true (which technically it isn’t) – Big fucking deal.  The best dancer doesn’t always win, and if they do – then people must actually like them. Someone on the US Weekly boards put it very well: “If 98% of the people on the ABC boards today were angry that Nicole won, then who were the ones voting for her enough to make her win?” Nicole is not the first, nor will she be the last, person with some dance experience to be on this show.  Hello, Mel B (Maks fans – he didn’t win then either), Willa Ford, Sabrina Bryan, Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Marie Osmond…even Kristi had dance training if i remember correctly. Remember that Donny actually took ballroom lessons BEFORE the show started for his Vegas act? That’s more than Nicole had. Now, let’s talk about Mya – where were you folks last season when someone who actually TEACHES dance was on the show. What, it’s okay because she didn’t win?? You mad now because a ringer similar to (but far less experienced than) Mya actually WON the show and beat the other ringers out?  Mya is the person with the most experience ever on the show. Nicole has no more experience than Mel B, Sabrina, Lance Bass…and really what we’re talking about here is experience learning choreography. NO one on the show has had actual ballroom training, to my knowledge, other than Donny Osmond. So why are people so pissed at Nicole REALLY? Because their favorite ringer and Olympic gold medalist, defied expectations and lost? Because he is an Olympic Gold Medalist, EVERYONE expected Evan to win – he’s the ringer of all ringers like Kristi was, moreso than Nicole. So why the outrage at Nicole? He was the one to beat. BUT I said it before and I’ll say it again – no previous gold medalist had a Nicole to deal with. Likeable AND talented – Gilles was a close as an Olympian had to a Nicole and he made some critical errors late in the season.  Heh – I guess this completely blows up the theory that “people” don’t like and won’t vote for people with previous experience. I’ve always said that was bull – people didn’t vote for Mya because they didn’t like her as much as they liked Donny. And we see evidence of that again this season – more people voted for Nicole because they liked her more AND she was a better dancer. Not to mention that the other two in the final three also had experience and, in a different season when Nicole wasn’t on, THEY would have been taking the ringer heat.

“Nicole is a slut/whore/skank/etc. and was banging everyone on the set for votes.” – Hehe, this was actually my personal favorite.  If she were in fact doing this, she was banging the wrong individuals – she should have been making housecalls to every voting viewer in the nation, rather than “blowing Bruno good after the first show” (no joke – actual comment made on one comments section), which we know would have been as effective as trying to wash your hair with ranch dressing.  Courtney had an extremely pithy comment in here about the intelligence of people making this argument, but we will just leave it as – “this is a really stupid argument”.  ;-)

“Nicole was the chosen winner before the show had even started.” - Seriously, what would the producers have to gain by a) choosing a winner before the show even started, and b) choosing Nicole as that winner? If the uproar over her win is any indicator, her victory has probably done more harm than good to viewership.  There’s just no incentive in it for them…really people, c’mon on now – you’re reaching ;-)  Ya need a real motive for the producers to do this – they don’t have one, actually. If you’re going by ratings, then they would have kept Kate Gosselin longer than they did – and they sure didn’t try! They gave her the lowest scores possible and it was VIEWER VOTES that kept her around.  And can you build more buzz than by having Nicole eliminated early? I think not – look at Sabrina. Talk about buzz. I think the biggest indicator that the producers didn’t tell the judges who was ahead was Len himself saying that Nicole should win. Courtney made the point in the Cheesecake Awards that Len, like everyone else, was afraid that Evan (not the best dancer) would win, so he was making his feelings known in advance. Having seen Len bitch and moan about the best dancer NOT winning in previous seasons, I think he was prepared for the (late) conventional wisdom to prevail once again – the gold medalist wins. Everyone, including myself, underestimated dedicated Derek and Nicole fans. I think she may be the first pop singer to have a huge fanbase that was actually aware of HOW to vote to win.

I must say, just because someone is a great dancer, it does not mean that they’ve had more training than someone else. It just means they are more talented.  Brooke Burke. Gilles Marini. Those are two people (just off the top of my head) who were really good dancers who won (or should have won) who had no training at all.  Erin has had some degree of training as recently as college – she had to learn choreography, just like Nicole. Evan took ballet at least once a week and had a ballroom dancer, Mark Ballas, choreograph a routine for him on ice – gee, there must be some translation there, eh? All those gorgeous spins he can do on the floor – just magic?? Of course his skating training applies. Nicole? Like others before her, she could do a variety of dance moves required for pop singer – but she was also not trained in ballroom.  She was just a better dancer then Erin and Evan. Period. And to top it off, she had a very popular pro (whose popularity and sheer talent, like it or not, cannot be discounted) and she herself was very likable (to the masses – and no, the ABC Boards do NOT qualify as the masses) – it’s a winning formula.  Great dancer, good personality (ie not boring), great choreographer as a partner who is extremely popular in his own right. I hate to say it, but Evan did not have a very popular partner (as much as I’ve come to like her) and his own personality was rather dry at times – none of my friends liked him and none voted for him. And these are NOT Derek fangirls that I’m talking about. I’m talking former Gilles/Donny voters. Don’t get me wrong, I love Evan – it’s some of his fans who annoy me. If only they had a fraction of the class that Evan himself clearly possesses.

But let’s forget about all that stuff, even though it makes sense.  Let’s look at the actual numbers. I’ve heard so often that “Evan was robbed” let’s see if that’s even remotely true per the judges scores. Yes, they scored him lower than BOTH Erin and Nicole – but was that unfair? Did it cost him the competition? I predicted before the finale that the judges would go one of two ways: they would either cop out and give everyone the same basic score OR they would rank the dancers according to how they thought the results should be – in their opinion.  At first, it appeared they would go with the former; at the end of the first dance, there was only one point between them and at the end of the performance show, Erin and Nicole were tied with 55 points and Evan was ONLY 3 points behind at 52. Like it or not, three points ain’t nothing – it adds up to 1.8% difference between Evan and Erin/Nicole- peanuts, when you’re an Olympic Gold Medalist.  We can argue about if Evan was underscored (he was) or Erin was overscored (she was) – but I’m saying it doesn’t really matter in the end. Nicole was the best dancer and she was TIED with the worst dancer of the three going into the Finale, with Evan only 1.8% behind.

So, Evan fans really poured it on since their guy was down, right? Well, not from what I hear. I heard what they said they did in terms of voting and it wasn’t what I would call “power voting”. I read how many times they voted and my thought was “amateurs”. ; -)  But internet fans aren’t going to win the show on their own – the average viewer has to vote too. Anyway…

So, the first dance on Finale night is a three way argentine tango. Again, I predicted that this was NOT a smart move on Erin/Maks part because a dance is more than just one lift and her dance didn’t have near the technical difficulty that Nicole’s did plus that lift was NOT clean the second time.  Maks should know that they typically reverse dance order from the first night which would mean Erin was going AFTER two better dancers.  And I can hear the bitching and moaning now: “but they changed the rules, they changed the scoring, they were ranked instead of all given the same chance at a 30″. Boo Hoo – they change the rules EVERY SEASON – where have you people been? I’ve been complaining about how they change the show every season on this very blog for three seasons now.  Frankly, I like this rule change. Another thing I’ve been complaining about for a while is how the judges wuss out and give everyone an automatic 30 (although they’ve been doing better last couple seasons) or 29 — whether they deserve it or not.  This rule change actually made them rank the contestants, which is what they SHOULD do – and is there anyone who sincerely believes that they were ranked incorrectly? Basically, there seem to be two choices in this instance – they are ranked or they are given wuss scores.  I can see some preferring the automatic 30, but I doubt if the situation was reversed you would be so quick to choose that option. If Evan were actually the better dancer, would you like Nicole getting that automatic 30? Doubtful. :-)

In any case, at this point Evan is 5 points behind Nicole. It’s at this point that Erin exits the competition – even though she is 1 point ahead of Evan. Was it a conspiracy against Evan that Erin had more points? Nah, the judges were trying to make it a horse race and it didn’t work. Erin just didn’t have the votes. Evan clearly did. Although he didn’t have to have many to beat Erin – approximately 4100 votes per 1 million votes cast. Evan versus Nicole? At this point, after three dances, he is only 2.03 percent behind her.

That brings us to the final dance. Can anyone seriously claim that Evan’s quickstep was better than Nicole’s Jive? Oh, I’m sure some will try. Nevermind, we’re talking percentages. After all four dances, Evan is 2.3 percent behind Nicole. Two. Point. Three. Peanuts.

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Evan also got a 30 on his final dance.  That means the percentage changes back to 2.03 percent difference between the two of them.  So, essentially, those two points that Evan DIDN’T get means he has to get 0.271 percent more votes than he would have if he had scored a 30. Seriously – can anyone call that a conspiracy??

Let’s take it a step farther and assume that Evan was underscored on his Freestyle.  He got a 24, Nicole got a 27. I think that Nicole’s freestyle, even with the bobbled lift, was better and more entertaining than Evan’s. But let’s give him a 26 – we’ll assume that Len was his usual self and stuck with the 8. If Evan keeps the 30 I gave him in the last paragraph and he gets a 26 instead of a 24 on his freestyle (and all other scores remain the same), the percentage difference between him and Nicole is reduced to 0.97 percent. Easier for Evan to win with this percentage difference? Of course. But what this REALLY means is that the judges actual scoring increased the margin between Evan and Nicole by 1.06 percent. Did this make a difference? Highly doubtful. Come on, it’s 1.06 percent. If the 1.06 percent made a difference, that means that Nicole won by an extremely small margin. Listen to Tom’s script on Finale night. Did he say anything about how close it was at the end? Did he ramp up the excitement and suspense? No, not like he did when Shawn beat Gilles by less than 1 percent.  I don’t think it was even close, frankly. They didn’t really act like it was close.

Still think there was a conspiracy? Well, there’s no hope for you then. You should stop watching this show.

Think that the conspiracy was that Nicole was even on the show? She was destined to win? I have to ask – where have you been? If you’re going to eliminate anyone with previous experience, the entire top 3 would be cut out, in addition to Lil Kim, Lance Bass, Melissa Rycroft, Sabrina, Mya, Mel B..the list goes on. Where do you draw the line? Joanna danced until she was 11, should she be cut? If you lower the dance experience age that far, I wager there would be no female celebs on the show. And if you’re going to do that, then you have to eliminate anyone with a massive fanbase because of their unfair advantage – which eliminates Evan, Donny, Kristi, and Shawn, to name a few. Suck it up people – it’s a vastly entertaining show, but it’s in no way FAIR. And do you really want it to be if it means never seeing Evan, Kristi, Shawn, Donny, Nicole, Sabrina, Mel B, Lance Bass….any of them DANCE?  Not only would it be boring (and give me nothing to bitch about), but the ratings would plummet.