PureDWTS Season 17 Rant: Really, Really Dumb Ideas About the Show (Courtesy of Facebook & Instagram)

After Elizabeth & Val’s elimination last Monday night, against my better judgement, I decided to see what fans on the DWTS Instagram page were saying about the results.  Of course I instantly regretted this decision, because I saw more than a few hystrionic, irrational, and downright idiotic complaints about everything from the scoring to the voting to the overall format of the show.  I also witnessed a horrifying lack of command of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and overall coherence when conversing in the English language 8-O And here’s what really grinds my gears: nothing has changed, guys.  The show’s scoring has been calculated the same way for 17 seasons now (50% judges’ scores, 50% viewer votes), we’ve had the same 3 judges for every season, and this is FAR from being the only voting shakeup we’ve seen in 17 seasons.  So why is everyone suddenly up in arms about it now?

We may never know for sure, but I can say this: some of the Instagram & Facebook DWTS fans have got some really, REALLY dumb ideas about the show – ideas that I’m proud to say that our Pure readers would recognize as pure poppycock in a heartbeat ;-) So of course, I just had to find a way to show you guys some of these gems – both for humor purposes and educational purposes.  All of these are actual comments, either on the DWTS Facebook page or the Instagram page, and all were posted publicly – so I’m within my rights to republish them here; but because some of these ideas are some real turds, I’ve taken pity on the commentor & blurred out any identifying details, except for the first name – cause it’s a helluva lot easier to refer to them by some name than by “idiot #1, idiot #2, idiot #3, etc”.  ;-)

Really Stupid Idea #1: The judges’ scores should have more weight.

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No offense, mimi, but where have you been the past 16 seasons???

I shouldn’t even have to elaborate on why this is a downright TERRIBLE idea, but I’m going to anyway because clearly some of the simple-minded folk that are backing this turd of notion don’t seem to understand that this is likely not going to have the effect they think it will. I’m guessing they assume that judges’ scores being weighted more heavily = good dancers stay, bad dancers go.  But apparently they don’t realize that the judges aren’t exactly infallible & objective – far from it, as we’ve witnessed over 17 seasons. The judges are capable of some pretty blatant favoritism towards some contestants (William Levy, anyone?) and have undeservingly HOSED other contestants (Ralph Macchio fans, this is where you nod in agreement).  They also have a tendency to “pity score” some contestants to soften the blow (*cough*BRISTOLPALIN*cough*), with the unexpected effect of said contestants outstaying their welcome.  And then there’s their personal biases: Carrie Ann & Bruno are both easily swayed by attractive young men (regardless of how well they can actually dance), while Carrie Ann seems to turn into a green-eyed monster when it comes to scoring attractive young women, and tends to take some cheap shots when critiquing them. Len has a tendency to scold Derek at least once a season, and hand out an absurdly low score as a result.  And of course, Carrie Ann’s dubious lift-policing seems to have an effect as well…just ask Corbin & Karina, who earlier this season were penalized for a lift that didn’t even exist. We’ve also talked about the “man behind the curtain” possibly exerting some influence over the judging as well – seemed awfully convenient that William Levy was getting worshipped by the judges week after week (whether or not he was actually worthy of the worship), when he was set to launch a huge deal for Univision (which is part of the ABC family…hmmmm). People REALLY want to give these clowns even MORE power? I feel like just last year, people were complaining about how the judges were terrible and needed to be replaced!!! Another point to consider: the viewers need to feel invested in this show – they need to feel like they have a say in who stays and who goes.  And the minute you start making them feel like their vote doesn’t count or counts less is the minute you start losing viewers.  Even those that don’t always vote seem to take comfort in the fact that the viewers do have the power to overturn a bad score from the judges.

Really Stupid Idea #2: Eliminate the viewer voting altogether.

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Uh-oh, guys – Kylie’s really super pissed and she’s threatening to stop watching! Quick, put on your best “concerned” face…

This is quite possibly the worst idea I saw, and it’s terrible for all the same reasons I mentioned above plus the fact that IT REMOVES THE EXCITEMENT AND TENSION OF AN ELIMINATION.  With this format, the low scorer of the evening will get their walking papers – and if that person dances early in the show, it’s pretty easy for viewers to deduce that they’re going home, and will likely tune out.  Hell, it would probably be pretty easy to predict right off the bat who’s getting sent home, without even seeing anyone dance, just based on the judges’ scores and behavior the previous week. The show needs to have an element of shock and surprise in order to keep viewers tuned in – take that away, and you basically just have a show that is completely predictable, and thus not very exciting.  Keep this in mind, too – if a couple that dances well all season has just ONE off-night, they could be headed home, based on judges’ scores alone.  The viewer votes do allow the viewers the opportunity to “save” a couple if they’ve just had a bad night. Leaving it up to the three stooges to determine who goes home each week is a very, very risky bid, and this show needs the viewer voting element to maintain both viewer investment and some degree of suspense on the show.

Really Stupid Idea #3: Only allow inexperienced dancers on the show.

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I always knew those High School Musical kids were rotten to the core.  I bet Corbin’s also taking performance-enhancing drugs to help him on DWTS, too!!!

Good luck with that one, considering most celebs have done at least a little bit of dancing in their lives – be it jazz & tap lessons when they were a kid, or a movie role that required dance lessons, or even dancing in the endzone after a touchdown. This idea seems to come from some members of the pro-Bill/Leah/Jack camp, who seem to think the show is “all about the journey of inexperienced dancers” and try to argue that “it’s not fair to have anyone with dance experience on the show” – and by extension, they think dancers like Christina, Snooki, & Elizabeth deserved to go home, since they believe they shouldn’t have even been there in the first place.  I have always been of the opinion that it’s good to have a mix of both experienced & inexperienced dancers on the show – it pleases both the camp that loves “the journey” and the camp that just loves great dancing.  Having a ringer or two each season seems to ensure that you’re going to see some fantastic dances; and having a trainwreck or two that works hard to improve leaves room for improvement and gives viewers an underdog to root for.

Really Stupid Idea #4: Only allow good dancers on the show.

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Roxy’s got it all figured out, y’all.  Future Mensa president, right here…

Ummm…’kay.  Also a dumb idea, for a lot of the same reasons mentioned above – first off, they’d have to actually audition potential celebs, which I could see being a possible deal-breaker for some big names with fragile egos; second, it kinda limits your casting pool from the get-go; third, you’re gonna lose the interest of those viewers who are “all about the journey”.  And you’re still not going to eliminate the complaints about good dancers being sent home – because if they’re all good dancers, you’re gonna be losing good dancers every single week.  ;-)

Really Stupid Idea #5: It’s all Bill’s fault that better dancers have gone home.

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I know, right? How dare he make people like him enough to vote for him!!!

“When in doubt, blame Bill!” seems to be the popular opinion held amongst disgruntled Christina, Snooki, Brant, & Elizabeth fans – and a handful of fans of other couples, too, whom I can only assume are starting to feel threatened by his continued presence.  And I’m sure TPTB are secretly loving it as well, since they’ve done a little bit of sneaky maneuvering to make sure the blame falls on the guy they seem most eager to eliminate.  Repeat after me: Christina did not get the votes necessary to stay, Snooki did not get the votes necessary to stay, Brant did not get the votes necessary to stay, and Elizabeth did not get the votes necessary to stay, but Bill got the necessary votes to stay.  That is the ONLY reason those 4 are gone and Bill is still here – fan votes.  Because the judges sure haven’t done Bill any favors – they’ve made sure he has fallen at the bottom of the leaderboard for several weeks now, and 3 of the 4 “better dancers” that he’s outlasted got some very, very kind scores from the judges…so the judges have clearly been trying to send him home.  And the fact that Bill has often been one of the last two standing with the couple that’s actually going home – it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s been in the bottom 2 with him.  On the contrary – it’s entirely possible that Bill has been getting quite a few more votes than some of the other contestants that are still around; and by extension, it’s entirely possible that he has not actually been in the bottom 2 yet – we have no way of knowing for sure, one way or another, but the possibility is there.  But the fact that TPTB are pitting him against the these eliminated couples is giving viewers an automatic scapegoat for their favorites getting sent home – see Bill and Elizabeth standing up there at the end, and Elizabeth getting eliminated? The visual cue seems to automatically conjure up notions like “If it weren’t for Bill, Elizabeth would still be here!!!!” In reality, it’s possible that if Elizabeth had actually gotten the votes to stay, it wouldn’t necessarily be Bill going home – it very well could have been Corbin, Jack, or maybe even Amber that would have gone home instead.  And need I remind some of you that Bill was the guy that tried to volunteer to go home so that Snooki could stay – but was told that was against the rules? Seriously, any anger about the eliminations of other couples that’s directed at Bill is just some seriously misdirected rage – because the only crime Bill has committed has been being likeable enough to get the viewers to vote for him.  He ought to be ashamed!!! :-P

Really Stupid Idea #6: The show should strictly be a dance contest…not a popularity contest.

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What’s a “compatision”? Is it kind of like twerking???

Have some people been living under a really, really big rock for the past 8 years??? Actually, more than that – because most talent competition reality shows are combination of an actual skill competition and a popularity contest…and Idol has been on the air for well over 10 years.  To me, those trying to claim that the show is “a serious dance competition, and not a popularity contest!” are just sticking their heads in the sand and trying to ignore reality.  ANY SHOW THAT INCLUDES A VIEWER VOTE IS, BY DEFAULT, A PARTIAL POPULARITY CONTEST.  The viewers are going to vote how they’re going to vote, whether it’s for their favorite pro, for the celeb they think is the best dancer, or for the celeb they simply like the best – and there’s nothing the powers that be can do about it.  They cannot FORCE the viewing public to vote a certain way; sure, they can try to sway them by using judges’ scores (“The judges say Leah is a good dancer, so it must be true!”) or by other subtle means (making sure a certain couple gets a crowd-pleasing dance, giving them a good rehearsal package edit, pimping a certain injury for a sympathy vote, etc.), but it’s ultimately the choice of the viewer to vote however they want, and if they want to vote on who they like the best, MORE POWER TO ‘EM. They do instruct us to vote for our “favorite” dancer – no mention of voting for the “best” dancer. Anyone care to try to tell me I have to vote a certain way? I’d like to see you make me. I think “but it’s a dance contest, not a popularity contest!” complainers should thank their lucky stars that the show actually counts the judges scores for something and isn’t a complete popularity contest like Idol – the viewer votes on that show determine EVERYTHING. And we’ve seen how hit-or-miss that can be when it comes to picking genuinely talented singers.  And once again, I go back to the fundamental notion that DWTS is an entertainment program, and in order to keep going, you need viewers; if you’re completely disregarding who is popular with the viewers and are only keeping the good dancers around, you may see your ratings start to fall…because it’s not always entertaining to watch good dancers when you can’t stand them as human beings.  You think viewers should vote for the best dancer, and not who they simply like, huh? So you obviously voted for Gilles on the All-Star season, right? ;-)

So now that I’ve shared some of these bad ideas about the show with you guys (and thrown in a little bit of my own personal brand of snark…”compatision”? REALLY???!!!), here’s my one good idea about the show: accept it for what it is.  And what is it, you ask? Whatever the fans make it to be.  Seriously – nowhere will you find it written that DWTS “is about taking non-dancers and making them dancers”.  Nowhere will you find it written that DWTS “is about finding the best dancer”.  The only thing you can really say for sure about the show is that it’s for entertainment purposes, and the viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite dancer.  Their favorite dancer may be the best dancer – or it may be the goofy guy with two left feet that’s just trying his best not to fall flat on his face.  Sometimes good dancers get sent home while bad dancers stay; sometimes celebs we really like get voted out while less likeable ones stay.  It’s all part of the show, kids – and if you find yourself getting really worked up over the results of it, just keep this in mind: the MBT is worth about $43, and past winners have said that it’s basically a POS that falls apart not long after they hand it to you.  It’s just a sparkly, glittery reality show, kids ;-)