Dancing with the Stars Season 17, Week 8 – Dancing by the Numbers

Examples of why immunity may not be a good thing:

  1. Will average fans GET that Amber still needs votes?
  2. After having a solid 3 point lead in the cumulative score, Amber is now tied with Corbin IF they include the dance offs (and marathons) in the cumulative total. They shouldn’t, but…

I think the coming week could be a dangerous one for Amber, but I guess we’ll have to hope that fans are smarter than some on the net clearly believe they are. No names. :-)

I’ve seen quite a few comments about Leah getting propped by the judges – dudes, they fired a shot across her bow the other night by giving her two 8s. That ain’t propped. I think (hope) it was a sign of things to come. I’ve also seen speculation that her scores are meant to justify her place in the finale based on votes. This is a theory that I often toy with and have seen in action. If they were going to do that, though, I don’t think she would have gotten 8s last Monday night at all.  This coming week will be an indication if they’re going to start playing that game. If Bill’s scores suddenly improve? There you go. He may be finale bound. However, another theory I toy with every season is their lulling the audience into a position where an elimination becomes “shocking” – their treatment of Bill Monday night may just qualify for that, as could Amber winning immunity. I guess we have to wait and see, but you heard it here first.  :-)  It worked on me, after all. I had been calling Brant a possible early exit early in the season, but they lulled me out of it.

Anyway, what exactly happened last Monday night? Well, Liz proved that someone is, indeed, voting for her. She was 3 points lower than Brant and covered the spread. They didn’t even put her in danger – that was Jack’s honor. Of course, with the way everything went down with Bill being immediately safe (so immediate that it was on the teleprompter, which means they knew before he danced, I think), I have to believe that no one was voting for Brant. You could argue that such a massive number of people were voting for Bill they just knew – but Liz covering the spread is an interesting little factoid to throw in there to make you wonder. If only one person is beating the spread it’s one thing, but for two of them to do it? Brant wasn’t getting votes, IMO. Liz is someone that I think is in dangerous territory and she better not be only 1 point away from Bill again next week. Could be trouble.  The tables below show where everyone ended up:

Table 1

Table 2

As you can see, Bill needed 5.2k votes per million votes cast to beat Liz (and we don’t know if he did or not) and he needed less than 16k votes per million votes cast to beat Brant – and he obviously did.

But more interesting to me is that Liz needed nearly 11k more votes per million votes cast than Brant in order for him to go home…and she got them. If it had been only Bill, we would be rather clueless as to whether Bill was killing it in votes or Brant just wasn’t getting any. We still don’t know for sure, but it is rather telling that Liz was one of the two that beat the spread, IMO.

Jack was the one up there next to Bill, what if he was really in jeopardy? Let’s see: Christina was in jeopardy in week 3 and sent home in week 5. Brant was in jeopardy in week 4 and sent home in week 8, BUT there was also no elimination in week 6 and he was in second place last week (week 7). Nicole protected him last week with a lower score and few votes. Bill and Leah have both been in jeopardy before, that was Jack’s first time – not coincidentally, those are the three who I think might have the most trouble next week (with Amber as an outside chance). With two dances, they have the ability to make the margins really wide by scoring Bill as they normally do and giving everyone else *realistic* scores. I think we saw a sign of that last night, with everyone from Liz to Corbin to Leah getting scores they actually deserved instead of a smorgasbord of ridiculous (not counting the dance offs, obviously). I personally think that Brant and Amber were both a touch overscored: a point on Amber and one or two points on Brant…probably two. Corbin should have been a point lower as well, maybe…but everyone else was pretty good.  It would have made no difference – Amber still would have been immune with a 27.

For Jack to REALLY be in jeopardy, the following things would have happened:

-        Bill got more than 31k votes per million votes cast than him, and;

-        Liz got more than 26k votes per million votes cast than him, and;

-        Corbin got ONE more vote per million votes cast than him.

Those are pretty good numbers and I have a hard time believing Liz is doing it, but she certainly could be. Bill could be as well. I wager that Corbin does get at least 1 more vote per million votes cast than Jack does.  This jeopardy could be a harbinger of things to come. Honestly, this season is really hard to tell.

So, what will happen next week? It’s anybody’s guess. Frankly, I’m starting to actually believe that no one is really safe. I’m most interested in finding out. Here’s who’s dancing what so far (per DWTSGossip and various media sources):

Amber –Quickstep and Salsa Trio with Mark

Corbin – Waltz and Jazz with Whitney

Liz – V. Waltz and Salsa Trio with Gleb

Jack – Waltz and Samba Trio with Sharna

Bill – Charleston and Salsa Trio with Peta

Leah – Argentine Tango and Jive Trio with Henry

Once again I think that Liz and Corbin have the edge in terms of dances – but that’s what I thought last week with Liz getting Jazz. I have to say, it seriously sucks that BOTH Corbin and Liz – the two big ringers – get to do both Jazz and Contemporary. I mean really. Are you kidding me?? Amber, Bill and Jack have yet to do EITHER of those two styles. I’m going to revise my ringer series to bring it up to date, but I have to tell you, I am SICK of people claiming Derek has all the advantages when this shit goes on. Yes, Derek has had a couple ringers – but other pros have also had plenty of ringers and have gotten additional advantages on top of it, like getting dances in their styles (Zendaya and Hip hop, Liz with Jazz and Contemporary, Corbin with Jazz and contemporary…the list goes one). Derek NEVER had those additional advantages. Anyway, I’ll save this rant for a free moment. Need to work up a good head of steam. :-)

Anyway, Corbin and Liz should be just fine and dandy, scoring near or at the top of the leader board. If Liz DOESN’T again this week, then I think she may have peaked. She’s not got the injuries that Amber is dealing with and she’s a ringer – she just might not be able to handle the pressure. She seems like a nice woman, I think she might be trying a bit too hard. Val seems to acknowledge this and is working on it, so that’s a good sign.

Amber? Honestly, I don’t know if they can make it to the end if they survive the elimination. Between his back and her knee, they are the walking wounded and CAI also fired a (stupid, senseless) shot across her bow to step it up. What really pisses me off here, is the implication (two times now) that Amber just isn’t working as hard as the others. This is absolute bullshit and is usually reserved for the Kate Gosselin’s of the world. Now, I don’t think anything is said “off hand” on that panel, so I wonder what they are trying to REALLY say. Are they trying to give her somewhere to go? Or are they harbingers of doom? Or is Carrie Ann on more crack than usual?? In any case, that’s twice now that they’ve implied that everyone else is just working harder than Amber is, and that is insulting as hell, all things considered. And I have to wonder why.  Anyway, Amber has a tough road this week…but not as tough as Leah.

Leah has Jive and Argentine Tango??  This is not good. And this is also going to be the most interesting couple of the night in terms of scoring. I have a hard time believing that Leah will be able to pull off a credible version of either dance, but that doesn’t mean she will get low scores. I think I might have to institute a drinking game – take a shot every time a judge raves about Leah’s ability to be in the character of the dance. :::rolls eyes::: Code for “you danced like shit but you faked it great.”   Anyway, everything pretty much hinges on where they go with Leah’s scores. Are they going to continue giving Bill scores he deserves while inflating hers? Because clearly that hasn’t worked. Bill is still there. Or is week 9 the week they finally get real?  I honestly have a very hard time making a call here because, even though they gave her 8s last week, we still have people like AfterBuzz raving over her. I don’t get it AT ALL, but I don’t think Afterbuzz is under the DWTS umbrella. I don’t think there’s an agenda there. So, what are people seeing that I’m not seeing??  I guess I will bank on them getting real because it’s week 9. And Leah has Jive – there ain’t no way in hell she does better than a 24 on that. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. :-) She might be able to fake her way through an AT with her “face” thing that she does.

Jack. I think Jack is right behind Corbin and Liz in the “got good dances” category. I think he will do well with both these dances. I have to give props to Cheryl – she is the Cheryl of old this season. Great hair, great style (except week 1) and she seems to have really clicked with Jack. She is teaching the man to dance and he’s dancing very well. He was right up there with Amber and Corbin for the best dances of last week. He has this fading into the wood work problem which might be an issue, but I think he’ll handle the dances just fine. Better than fine.

Bill? Well, Bill is not the youngest person in the cast and two challenging dances? I dunno. I think his Charleston will be charming and he’ll be scored about right…although compared to others it will likely be underscored. Salsa?? Thought he had Paso, for some reason, which could have been trouble. Salsa – I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. And I’m not actually sure that the quality of his dance will be reflected in his scores even if the dances are great, so we’ll see. If he scores higher than normal, you need to consider the possibility that he’s getting a ton of votes and the judges are justifying his place in the semi-finals, as discussed above. They like to be RIGHT, after all. So, if they start proclaiming Bill is a great dancer?? Look out.

Anyway, taking all that into consideration, below are my predictions of how it will go Monday night.

Table 3

As you can see, I think they will rank (far right column) similar to how they have the past couple weeks. I think what is more likely to change are the scores – I’m finding it much harder to predict what they’re going to do at this point.  They have two competing agendas – ratings versus dance ability. While I think they like Bill, and recognize that people are watching for him, if he goes this week they only have one week of the show without him. They might think they can afford to do what they have to to keep the better dancers around. And like Leah or not, she does bring her celebrity friends to the audience. Which is better? Bill fans or Leah’s celeb friend’s fans? I think likely option number two.  And really, we love Bill, but is that a universal feeling? I go back to AfterBuzz again – they love Bill….but they REALLY seem to love Leah. Still don’t get it.

Of course, for all we know, the writing is on the wall and no matter how they score people someone is destined to go home already – I think Christina, Brant and Nicole all fell into this category and it had little to do with Bill, and everything to do with the fact that they weren’t getting the votes.   That’s the problem with working with last week’s votes – the producers, and possibly the judges, already know who got what. You don’t have the luxury of doing a killer dance which gets great scores and, subsequently, a ton of votes – the votes have already been cast and half of the equation is already set. You, the voter, can’t work to “save” anyone.   Just imagine if last season had been this way and they didn’t have a two night finale, but relied on votes from the previous week. Do you still think that Kellie would have won?? I don’t. She was down by a point from Zendaya and I think that Freestyle with Derek pushed her over the margin. I don’t know if she could have done that if she had been relying on the votes on her Flamenco and AT and the scores from the freestyle.

Anyway, if the scores are similar to above, the following are the votes that the various couples would have to get to be safe:

Table 4

Here’s the thing about the margins: when you have several people who aren’t getting votes at all (Brant, Christina, Nicole) in addition to everyone else on the cast it’s a pretty easy thing to beat a decent margin. However, once all those people are gone, it becomes a bit trickier. The question is: is there anyone left who isn’t putting in a good number of votes? Jack is the question in my mind. And Amber due to her immunity last week, in addition to Carrie Ann’s comments. We have no way of knowing. The problem when you get to this point in the competition is that the remaining people should all have their fans and if they’re all getting a bunch of votes, the spread is that much harder to cover.  This is often the week where people go “What?? He beat a spread of 45k just last week.” And I respond, he must have beaten the spread last week because so and so wasn’t getting any votes relative to everyone else. This was Kurt Warner when Audrina had a 10 point lead on him and she went home. He went home 2 weeks later after beating a 45k spread.  Look at it like this:

Bill gets 10,000 votes

Amber gets 10,000 votes

Corbin gets 10,000 votes

Liz gets 10,000 votes

Leah gets 10,000 votes

Jack gets 10,000 votes

All six are very popular and getting roughly the same number of votes. So, who goes home? The person with the low score, of course. And this could be what is happening either this coming week or the following week. Everyone loves Bill, but everyone also loves the rest of them and they all have their fans.  Or how about this:

Bill gets 10,000 votes

Amber gets 10,000 votes

Corbin gets 10,000 votes

Liz gets 10,000 votes

Leah gets 5,000 votes

Jack gets 10,000 votes

Now who goes home? It depends on the score. If there is a point difference between Bill and Leah that leads to a spread of more than 5k votes, Bill could go home instead of her. Same for all of them.  Kinda scary, ain’t it? :-)

All of the above was to make people understand that what appear to be the same sorts of spreads that Bill and others have beaten before, can actually be much harder to do at this point in the season.  Of course, there are still 6 people (insane) so who knows? Anyway, if they do their usual song and dance on Monday, Bill would need ONE of the following things to happen in order to be safe:

-        Bill would need 6.2k more votes per million votes cast than Leah, OR;

-        Bill would need 18.4k more votes per million votes cast than Jack, OR;

-        Bill would need 21.5k more votes per million votes cast than either Liz or Amber, OR;

-        Bill would need 31k more votes per million votes cast than Corbin.

Is he doing it? I think he could get past Leah, but I have no way of knowing for sure. If Bill covers the spread with Leah, she needs some serious votes to get past anyone else – I have a hard time believing that she’s beating anyone other than possibly Jack.  So, let’s say she beats Jack. What does all does Jack need to be safe? ONE of the following:

-        Jack needs Bill to NOT get the 18.4k more votes per million votes cast, OR;

-        Jack needs to get 3,100 more votes per million votes cast than either Amber or Liz, OR;

-        Jack needs to get 12,300 more votes per million votes cast then Corbin.

I’m just not sure that Bill’s power is that much greater than Jack’s – 18k is a decent number this late in the season. I do think that Bill can beat Leah (6,100 votes).  Even if Jack beats that low spread to over take Amber and Liz, I think Amber beats Liz and Bill won’t get the nearly 22k votes to knock her out of the competition. So,  I tend to think that Amber and Corbin are still safe this week, provided that the spreads are similar  to what I’ve guessed, above.

After all that, I think it’s between Bill, Jack and Leah and I think it might be Leah’s time to go – if they go back to propping Leah up, all bets are off.  I think that one of the two low scorers will be the one going home, due to the fact that we’re going into week 9 of an 11 week season.

What do you think?