Dancing with the Stars – History of the Judges Scores, Part 2

Part 2 in my series about the Judges Scoring History covers season 6 of Dancing with the Stars; the season of Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas (read Part 1 here). Prior to re-watching the season, I remembered it as a season in which Kristi dominated. I don’t think, anymore, that that is necessarily the case. She is still probably the biggest ringer the show has ever cast, when looking at it from a fanbase AND experience point of view, but she didn’t dominate the show in like I remember. I also never got the feeling – like I did with Nicole – that the judges were purposely underscoring her in order to make it look more like a horse race. In fact, I have very few gripes with the judging in this season, period.

Here were the scores from Week 5, onward:

Season 6 Weekly Scores (Part I)

Celebrity Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8
Kristi 29 (Rumba) 30 (Jive) 26 (V. Waltz) 29 (Quickstep)
28 (Cha Cha) 26 (Samba)
Jason 27 (Rumba) 24 (Cha Cha) 29 (Quickstep) 29 (Tango)
26 (Paso Doble) 23 (Samba)
Christian 23 (Rumba) 27 (Foxtrot) 25 (V. Waltz) 28 (Tango)
21 (Samba) 29 (Mambo)
Marissa 24 (Samba) 26 (V. Waltz) 27 (Tango) 25 (Foxtrot)
25 (Rumba) 25 (Mambo)
Mario 27 (Samba) 28 (Rumba) 24 (Foxtrot) 27 (V. Waltz)
27 (Mambo) 26 (Jive)
Shannon 23 (Samba) 24 (Rumba) 27 (Tango)
24 (Rumba)
Marlee 22 (Samba) 21 (Mambo)
Priscilla 21 (Rumba)

Season 6 Weekly Scores (Part II)

Celebrity Week 9 Week 10 Week Finale
Kristi 29 (Tango) 30 (Cha Cha) 30 (Jive)
28 (Jive) 30 (Freestyle)
Jason 28 (Foxtrot) 24 (Cha Cha) 30 (Quickstep)
27 (Paso Doble) 27 (Freestyle)
Christian 27 (V.Waltz) 26 (Cha Cha)
29 (Samba) 26 (Freestyle)
Marissa 26 (Quickstep)
26 (Rumba)

- Week 5 – The judges essentially raved about Mario and Kristi, while all the rest got constructive criticism. I think the judges gave Marissa an accurate score, but were quite harsh on Priscilla and Shannon. Both of them, in addition to Christian, were underscored, particularly when compared to Marissa. Christian, frankly, was robbed. They gave the encore to Kristi, but I was shocked to realize that, IMO, the best dance of the night belonged to Edyta and Jason.

- Week 6 – Here we see, again, a bit of over-scoring – Christian had been in the bottom 2 the previous week, so this week he gets raves on a dance that clearly seemed rushed to me. Again, Mario and Kristi get raves, and Marissa gets handled with kid gloves. Marissa isn’t a “bad” dancer, per se, but she isn’t as good as Shannon or Pricilla. I often think that if you dance better than the judges expect, you get better scores than people who danced better – if those people are expected to dance better. Follow me? Anyway, Mario would have gotten a higher score if not for the lift police. I don’t disagree with the judges and Shannon’s hips (she has none, lucky beyotch), but the words exchanged with Bruno were quite harsh – the look of utter shock on Shannon’s face was hard to look at and that shock is a likely catalyst for what comes later…but more on that later.

- Week 7 – This is the week where everyone has one good dance and one not so good dance. And that pretty much sums it up. I would say there’s a trend between this season and Season 5, but it can likely be chalked up to the first week with two whole dances. The only scoring that impressed me as off (other than Marissa) was Jason. As much as I loved him, I thought he was slightly overscored in his quickstep. I just don’t get the love affair they have with Marissa. I mean, she’s not a “bad” dancer, but I don’t think she’s always worthy of the scores she gets. I think she might be getting the “personality” score.

- Week 8 – A week later than Season 5, we hear the old mantra of “that was good, but not quite good enough for heading into the semi-finals. Marissa got it, as did Jason on his second dance. Christian did not get the talk, he actually got raves and this was the week after he tore his tendon in his arm. He actually did very well, but I thought that he was not as good as Mario who was scored lower. Kristi got her usual raves although she and Mario both got some flack for their second dances. Kristi because her Samba was “awkward and out of control” – and I absolutely agreed with that assessment. WAY too much stuff in that dance. Mario’s feet were apparently bad or “rough” – but still, better than Christian. While I agreed with Jason’s critiques, there is no way he was 3 points behind Kristi in the second dance. As for Marissa, she is far below the other dancers in terms of quality.

- Week 9 – Marissa gets a break (a little) on the scores, much like the semi-final ease up in Season 5. She still gets a good bit of criticism (lack of body content in hold, missed leap on the run), including the “It’s not a semi-final dance” for the second one. But her quickstep was pretty good, so I can see the improvement in score. On the other hand, Kristi, Christian and Jason all get basically rave reviews with minor critiques thrown in. Kristi got the “too hectic” from Len on her Tango (agreed) and the “hair out of sync” from Carrie Ann on her Jive (agreed) – which was really Mark out dancing her a bit, like he has a tendency to do with all his partners on Jive. Christian was “occasionally flatfooted” on his Viennese Waltz. I take it back, Jason was not critiqued at all and in my notes I have the words “slightly over rated” for his Paso Doble. That’s okay, because I have “underscored” next to his Foxtrot. :-)

This is a random note, but I noticed that Marissa got harder dances, while Kristi got dances that were perfect for her. The dances on this night were determined by “random draw” and I always wonder about those and if they are REALLY random. At the end of the night I also felt that Jason out danced Kristi, even though she beat him by two points.

- Week 10 – Jason and Christian are pretty much left in Kristi’s dust. She is the most consistent and technically superior of the three so that’s no big thing. Not much point in discussing the scoring, although I will say that Christian’s injury does catch up with him – I didn’t get the feeling there was underscoring going on to prop up Kristi. As for Jason – the Cha Cha was clearly not his dance, especially not in a “cha cha challenge” where they all dance to the same song one after the other. Not that Kristi needed propping. I predicted as soon as her name was announced that she would win. She’s *Kristi Yamaguchi* after all.

Season 6 Summary – On finale night, Christian is announced as 3rd place before there is anymore dancing. After that, both Kristi and Jason are given perfect 30’s – pretty safe, since Kristi is still 9 points ahead. I didn’t note whether I found Jason’s score to be valid or not, since it really didn’t matter at that point. No one is going to over come a 9 point lead against Kristi. That’s not to say the scores weren’t valid – they were. I had very few problems with how this season went down. No real surprises. No shocks. They did make a point, from time to time of saying that a dance wasn’t up to par for a given point in the season – which is how it should be.

Random Observations:

  • Christian and Jason’s bromance is the sweetest thing about this season.
  • Kristi wasn’t the phenom that I remember her to be. She’s very, VERY good, but I actually enjoyed Christian and Jason more, from an entertainment standpoint.
  • Week 8 this season was the first non-bottom 2 reveal.  I’m waiting to see what season they do away with it altogether and if it becomes obvious WHY they do it.
  • Len did his Master Class with the remaining couples in Week 9 – I had forgotten how hilarious he can be. This one ends with him in a limo with Kym. :-)
  • Mark DIDN’T have polka dots in Kristi’s 1st Jive costume other than her hair bow – yes, you know this is remarkable if you’ve been paying attention. He did succumb to the polka dots for their jive in the semis.
  • Derek hurts his neck, then gets food poisoning, then has a meltdown with Shannon the confessional – who was saying he’s never been challenged?? :-) Anyway, the meltdown – they apologized over and over and over and both seemed to regret it. Somehow, that got lost in the discussions of the subject well after the fact.
  • This season had one of the great Pro Dances that seem to have faded away in the seasons since.