DWTS Season 14 – Dancing by the Numbers Wrap Up

Blah blah All-Star Season blah blah.  :-)  That’s months away yet and I don’t find myself interested in it. Yet. I’m sure that will change. Sooner or later.  I’m still thinking about the season that ended a mere two weeks ago. Because that’s who I am. :-)

So, in looking at the way the show turned out, I saw a few people discussing what William’s REAL voting block was like. Some had a tendency to say “Oh, Katherine must have been killing it” or “Maybe William didn’t have it all along and he was getting by on margins” – well, being the nerd that I am, I just have to go back and LOOK and see if there are any conclusions to be drawn.

The final scores ended up being very close, with only one point separating Donald and William from Katherine.  In order to win, Donald or William needed 3,740 more votes per million votes cast to get by Katherine. Obviously, Donald got those votes because he ended up beating her. William, on the other hand, didn’t get those votes because he came in third place. Pretty simple, right?

That’s not to say that William WASN’T getting more votes than Katherine, because he could have been – he just couldn’t cover the spread.  I’m inclined to believe that William was pretty solidly in third place (and no better) all along – because of the pimping or in spite of the pimping, take your pick. Why do I think this??  Well, 3,740 is chump change when it comes to votes, but he couldn’t get past Katherine. While Katherine was a beautiful dancers, she was quite over hyped in the latter weeks as well (by the judges) – but she and Mark together were also very likeable.

The previous week, Katherine, William and Donald all had to get past Maria by the following margins:

–          Katherine needed just over 13k per million votes cast to get past Maria, AND;

–          Donald needed 8,700 votes per million votes cast to get past Maria, AND;

–          William needed 4,350 votes per million votes cast to get past Maria

They all did that and Maria went home – so it seems to me that she was fourth place all along. Those aren’t huge numbers.  However, there IS an argument to be made that Katherine was helped A LOT by her “back spasm” and the fact that people still think someone is safe with the high score. Sure, that could have helped Katherine…and maybe it did.  It’s hard to say for sure. But it seems to me that if people got lax on voting for Maria because she had the high score, it would have been William in trouble and not Katherine.  Because at the time it mattered the most, and with no sympathy vote in play, Willy couldn’t get past Katherine.  For that reason, I think the winner, 2nd place and 3rd place were pretty solid.

I think that there are three reasons people vote for who they vote for: they vote for the hot guy/girl, they vote for the best dancer or they just vote for who the “like” best. I don’t include the pros separately because I think it falls under the header of “like the best”.  Most of the time, the best dancer is in the finale along with a couple obvious choices – those that you get the sense that they are popular for one reason or another.  That tells me that as the season goes along, the people who vote for the best dancer or most popular/likeable tend to be in a slight majority over the third group (hot guy/girl). I think in the last two or three weeks of the season, more people are added to the voting mix (American Idol’s announced number of voters reflect this and I would expect DWTS to follow the same trend on a smaller scale) – and I think they are more inclined to vote for the better dancer. Hence, Katherine beating out Maria and William.  I LOVE Maria – frankly, she made Derek happy and he had a great time and she was very fun to watch…but Katherine was the better dancer. I don’t think that Katherine connected as well to the music or her partner…but that’s a personal preference.  It could be why she got second and not first, though. Maria should be proud – Derek didn’t think she would make it past week 4 but she worked her butt off.

Anyway, that is all conjecture on my part and here’s a bit more. There is a segment of every audience that buys into HYPE.  And I think that William benefited tremendously from the hype or promotion (pimping, if you will).  You know that’s true – that’s why there are huge numbers of people working in advertising and PR – it works. If you market something or someone well, they will sell.  I think without the hype, he doesn’t get the 4,350 votes needed to get past Maria in the semi-finals. I think Maria was a better and more entertaining dancer than William – again, my personal opinion – but you have to ask yourself how YOU vote.  If you are influence by ANYTHING other than the pure dance ability (be honest now), then you have to admit that judges pimping will work to some extent on some people.  I think that those people don’t read this website, necessarily – but I do think they are sitting at home on their couch listening and regurgitating what the judges say as if it were gospel – I’ve experienced people reiterating to me what the judges say. So, IMO, if William weren’t overly hyped all along, he probably couldn’t have covered the margin and would have been forth place. I think that’s the only bit in contention – William versus Maria. I think Katherine had a lock on second place and Donald a lock on the win. Partly because I called it in week 1. ;-)

I also see a lot of “Roshon was robbed” and/or “Maria was robbed” – neither of which I agree with. Fourth place in a season like this one is fantastic.  She was treated badly one week and managed to survive on votes. She was never going to win the season.  Roshon? Also not robbed. The people determined his fate. In fact, he was the opposite of “robbed”. Who else was in the bottom two three times and survived two of them? Has that ever happened in the history of the show?? Not that we know of.

At the end of the day, the show is half judges score and half the voters; if the voters didn’t like you enough to let you survive to the end then that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I hope the judges and producers learned something from this season – tinkering and pimping only works if the audience agrees with you.  You can manipulate someone to the finale (William) but you can’t make him win. You can continually put down someone (Donald) but the audience will still vote for the winner they want.  You can load the dance floor with “family” (Roshon and Sherri, and to a lesser extent William), but you can’t make the audience love them enough to keep them around. How about next season we eliminate the stupid crap (dance off) and the ridiculous, obvious over-hyping (William) and just let the dancers dance. You judges get your score, we get ours. How about that?