Dancing by the Numbers – DWTS Season 5 Retrospective!

Since they just aired season 5 on GSN, I figured I would do a little numbers retrospective – particularly because of the supposed “shocking” elimination of Sabrina and the horribly prolonged run of Marie Osmond.

I have to say, after watching Sabrina dance again, I have to agree with Len and Bruno when they commented on how she danced her foxtrot “too hard” – it was way too hard and she did miss a couple steps.  Combine that with the talent and/or name recognition of her competitors, then is it really a surprise? Perhaps so, since Jane had been in the bottom two the week before. But everyone but perhaps Helio and Mel B was much better known with the DWTS demographic than Sabrina was – and Mel B was a better dancer and Helio was a huge and charming personality. Anyway, at the end of the night, week 6, the scores looked like this:

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Mel B 30 16.67
2. Helio 28 15.56
3. Jennie 27 15.00
4. Cameron 25 13.89
4. Sabrina 25 13.89
6. Marie 23 12.78
7. Jane 22 12.22

Now, what these scores mean should be somewhat obvious to longtime readers of this series – Sabrina was not at the bottom of the leader board and, in fact, had a pretty decent lead on Marie and Jane and was tied with Cameron.  In order for Sabrina to be eliminated, the following had to happen:

–          She didn’t cover the spread of the dancers above her, AND;

–          Cameron got ONE more vote per million votes cast than her, AND:

–          Marie got 11,150 more votes per million votes cast than she did, AND;

–          Jane got 16,700 more votes per million votes cast than she did.

Now, conventional wisdom has always said that Sabrina fans got over confident or were sure she was safe. But look at those numbers. That’s  a good bit of overconfident and I’m not sure I believe it any longer. Marie’s faint was the week before, but there is no reason that Jane should go from a bottom two situation the week before to being safe at Sabrina’s expense the very next week.  She made up a pretty big deficit.  I’m inclined to believe that, like other lesser knowns before her, Sabrina didn’t have the fanbase that many believed. And we all know by now that great dancing isn’t always enough.  And in case you still don’t agree – Sabrina was the high scorer in 3 of the 5 previous weeks. The two weeks she wasn’t the high score, she was in second place. The instant she falls out of the top 2, she’s eliminated. Coincidence??

And that brings us to Marie…how did she get to the finale over Jennie??  Or better still – how did she get THAT far? Well, besides a good fan base, there are lots of other theories as well. She fainted during the performance show in Week 5, her father passed away the morning of the results show from week 7. But I don’t think sympathy votes are the whole story. She also was over scored on several occasions by our esteemed judges.  And occasionally she benefited from an off week by another contestant.  In what universe does a Marie Jive get a point higher than a Jennie jive on the same night (week 8)?? What universe? Crack is whack, ya’ll – and we have LEN to thank for that. Having just watched week 8, I can say with certainty it is ridiculous.  You already saw how week 6 shook out, above, but how did the scores overall shake out in Week 8?

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Helio 57 21.67
2. Mel B 56 21.29
3. Cameron 51 19.39
4. Jennie 50 19.01
5. Marie 49 18.63

As you may recall, both Jennie and Marie survived being below Cameron on the leader board, but it was pretty close. For Cameron to be eliminated, the following had to happen:

–          Marie had to get 7,600 more votes per million votes cast, AND;

–          Jennie had to get 3,800 more votes per million votes cast.

That’s pretty much it. Combine that Cameron also had a bad dance and that Marie was over scored by a point or more on her jive and bye bye Cameron.  It could be Marie’s fanbase, but like I said, Len helped.  Jennie beat him too and I think we can also say that Cameron’s time had just come – he was up against a bad dance of his own and two larger fanbases.  Marie keeps on keeping on – it’s almost like the Bristol factor…the perfect storm of factors combining to help her out.  :-)  While we’re here, let’s take a gander at how she knocked Jennie out of the competition.  What were the scores at the end of Week 9?

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Mel B 60 25.64
2. Helio 60 25.64
3. Jennie 58 24.79
4. Marie 56 23.93

Now, Marie’s quickstep was pretty good, I’ll give you that. But it was a bit messy and Len pretty much says that she’s  scored on personality. I think the judges were a bit blind. I would have given her a 27 as opposed to the 29. Jennie and Derek’s fantastic Tango (second only to their Paso for me) only got a 28 – bull. But they aren’t comparing the dancers to each other just yet, I don’t think. They’ll learn the hard way.  :-)  Marie doesn’t fare as well on her second dance, but it’s too late. The only thing that has to happen to for Marie to advance to the finale is this:

–          Marie has to get 8,560 more votes per million votes cast than Jennie.

Period. That’s it and Jennie is gone. Piece of cake for an Osmond with Len on her side.

Marie had help all the way through the competition from the judges. And, at the risk of sounding very callous, her father passing away and her fainting also helped her at critical times.  Callous yes, but still a fact – admit it, if something bad happens to your favorite you would stay up half the night voting for them.   But the most galling thing is the judging.  Hilarious to see Marie’s face when they finally start scoring her fairly in the finale.  Sad that we got the horrendous “doll dance” as opposed to seeing what Jennie (or even Cameron) could have done.  That thing gives me nightmares to this day.

Anyway, when she made it to the finale over Jennie, the judges finally clued in.  “Unless we want this woman to win, we have to actually score them compared to EACH other instead of the stupid idea of scoring them against themselves.” What we end up with is the following standings at the end of finale night:

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Mel B 55 35.48
2. Helio 54 34.84
3. Marie 46 29.68

This meant that, in order to make it into the top two, Marie had to get one of the following:

–          Marie needed 57,400 more votes per million votes cast than Helio, OR;

–          Marie needed 63,700 more votes per million votes cast than Mel B.

As we know, thank god, her fanbase couldn’t pull her through that one. And that leaves us with Mel B versus Helio.

Sorry, but if you didn’t look at those two freestyles and know in your gut that Helio had won? You are a hard core Maks fan. :-)   After the final dances, the scores were the following:

The Judges Scores and Percentages

Place Celebrity Score Percentage
1. Mel B 85 39.53
2. Helio 84 39.07

So, essentially, Helio only needed 4,700 more votes per million votes cast than Mel to win. Was it really the freestyle that did it? Well, it didn’t help Mel at all, but I would guess that Helio had it in the bag by about Week 5 or 6 – just too charming and he and Jules were such a cute couple. The night  he kissed her at the end of their quickstep likely sealed the deal. :-)  Now, if he hadn’t kept up with the good dancing, Mel could have won it, but he did.  If Mel had KILLED a different freestyle?  Well, she could have been FOUR points ahead of Helio instead of just one and Helio would have needed 18,400 votes. That’s a big difference. We’ll never know what would have happened. :-) What do you think?