DWTS All Stars Week 2 – A Dancing by the Numbers Retrospective

So, lots of surprise and shock that Joey was eliminated this past week on DWTS. How could that happen, when three women had lower scores than him and he was such a charmer??  Well, there are lots of theories – I didn’t even really consider him as an option for elimination, but that’s what’s crazy about this season.  So, let’s explore how that might have happened. There are a number of possible reasons, but first we’ll go over the “How did it happen” as opposed to the “Why”.

As you might remember from my “Dancing by the Numbers” post for Week 2, Joey was tied for 7th place with Drew and Emmitt.  For Drew, who had been in the bottom two the previous week, to stick around, all he had to do was get ONE more vote per million votes cast than Joey, and voila! He’s safe. Same for Emmitt. Clearly, that happened.

But how did Helio end up in the bottom over the previously at-risk Drew? Drew had to have gotten at least 1,812 more votes per million votes cast than Helio. What else?? Well, ALL of the following had to happen for Helio to land in the bottom two:

-          Bristol got at least 18,116 more votes per million votes cast than Helio, AND;

-          Kirstie got at least 7,246 more votes per million votes cast than Helio, AND;

-          Kelly got at least 3,623 more votes per million votes cast than Helio, AND;

-          Drew and Emmitt both got at least 1,811 more votes per million votes cast than Helio.

Now, I had never believed that Helio was in the running for the MBT. I and others also said that he was a potential early exit. But Joey?? That was rather surprising. ALL of the following had to happen for Joey to be eliminated:

-          Bristol got at least 16,304 more votes per million votes cast than Joey, AND;

-          Kirstie got at least 5,435 more votes per million votes cast than Joey, AND;

-          Kelly got at least 1,812 more votes per million votes cast than Joey, AND;

-          Drew and Emmitt both got at least 1 more vote per million votes cast than Joey, AND;

-          Joey didn’t cover the spread between him and Helio.

Kirstie and Kelly needed relatively small numbers of votes to stay over both Joey and Helio, as did Drew and Emmitt, so I guess those aren’t that surprising in a season like this.  But lots of people have been screaming about Bristol. Yes, Bristol is a crap dancer on her best days. But she does have her fans – and really, now many power voters do you need if everyone else is splitting all their votes between the men?? I wager, not that many.   But I digress.

Is what Bristol got surprising? Not in retrospect. If you look back at the DBTN posts for Season 11, you’ll see that it’s not the first time that Bristol has gotten those votes. The other times?

-          She had to get 17,600 more votes per million votes cast than Brandy for Brandy to go home.

-          She had to get 11,000 more votes per million votes cast than Rick Fox for him to go.

-          She had to get 19,400 more votes per million votes cast than Audrina for her to go home.

But that last one doesn’t really count. It’s clear that EVERYONE was getting more votes than Audrina  was, as Kurt got a whopping 48,300 more votes per million votes cast than she did and he went home two weeks later. That’s why it’s important to remember that it’s not just Bristol or Kurt or whoever getting tons of votes…it’s also the evictee possibly not getting votes at all. Not saying that’s true for Joey or Helio, but there are a lot of good men on this season and there could be vote splitting going on, lowering all the men’s totals by a just enough. It’s also important to remember that, while those numbers sound big they only amount to 1.63 percent of the vote in Bristol over Joey. For Kirstie it’s much smaller – only 0.54% of the vote was the margin between her and Joey. That’s tiny.

Speaking of Kirstie – she was only at the bottom of the leader board in her original season TWICE. In week 7 she tied for last with Romeo and she was alone at the bottom in Week 10. She’s never really been tested and she’s not being tested now. A small cushion from the judges and perceived popularity and she sticks around. Jury is out on how long that will last. It depends on how vested the judges are in keeping her. You might remember on her season the judges were pretty set against Ralph – and he got “ralphed” which benefitted Kirstie tremendously.

So, what’s the deal here? Well, neither Bristol nor Kirstie are invincible. Bristol couldn’t get past Kyle to take higher than third place and she only needed 18,072 more votes per million votes cast. Kyle was clearly more popular than her and she couldn’t cover the spread. Kirstie was a slightly different story, she got second place and beat out a clearly better dancer, but one who was much less well known. Plus Kirstie fits squarely in the demo of this show. Kirstie needed 1.91% more of the vote than Chelsea Kane and she got it.  She needed the same amount to beat Hines and didn’t get it. So, there are limits to both women – we just don’t know what they are yet in this instance.

So that’s the “how”.  What about the why? Well, I have a few theories. One I already mentioned – vote splitting. This is a season with a LOT of favorites, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that some voters are throwing their votes around to a few different dancers. But if Bristol and Kirstie fans are devoted and vote like insane people? They can last. I do think there is a limit on how long though.

Another thing? The differences in the margins are just too small. As usual, the judges are too kind to some dancers (Kirstie, Bristol) and are too hard on other dancers (Apolo).  If that continues, they will continue to be surprised by who gets eliminated. It’s the all star season! They are scoring Shawn and Apolo like it’s All Stars, but Kirstie and Bristol like it’s a regular season.  Len tells Shawn that her dance was “just enough” that he wants more.  Seriously?? They all presumably docked Bristol’s dance for breaking the rules and she got 6.5, 6 and 6.5 – so if they hadn’t broken hold, in Len’s book Bristol would have only been ONE point below Shawn and about the same for Apolo?? In WHAT UNIVERSE is Bristol only a point away from Shawn and Apolo??  :::sigh:::

Of course, another possibility is that Drew, Joey  and Helio just aren’t as popular as the rest of the guys and that those guys are getting the lion’s share of the male votes, leaving the way clear for Kirstie and Bristol…and Kelly, for that matter.  The fact that Drew was in the bottom in week 1 when Pam went home, then Helio was in the bottom two when Joey went home could indicate that those people – Pam, Joey, Helio and Drew are the bottom tier of celebs in terms of popularity.

There are probably a million other theories, including that Bristol and Kirstie are just that popular, but I’m tired and it’s Saturday night. :-) Tuesday is a double elimination. Something tells me that we’ll find out just who’s got the juice…and who doesn’t.