What is going on with the goofy scoring mistakes this season on Dancing With The Stars? I just find it odd that this is such an issue when it never has been before? TV Guide has a report on it.
TVGuide.com was in the audience during Dancing with the Stars Monday night, when both Kim Fields and Von Miller were sent home. The moment was as much a testament to the higher stakes in the game now as it was the power of a fan army, whose votes can keep a contestant alive no matter the score. TVGuide.com also witnessed the second scoring snafu of the season, in which Nyle DiMarco again saw a 10 vote reduced. What gives?
“I have no idea what happened,” Nyle told reporters after the show, “but I’m going to take it as a compliment. I still got two 9s and a 10.” Nyle, who in April got enthusiastic 10s from Bruno Tonioli and guest judge Maksim Chmerkovskiy for his Viennese waltz only to see those scores reduced to 9s, again watched Bruno register shock and confusion after his 10 turned out to be really a 9.
Sources on set maintain the official story that judges write down a written score that’s whisked away by producers and taken up to be tallied right before the judges wave their paddles. (There are at least 100 people, including cameramen, stagehands and producers flurrying around in all-black during the show.) Whatever score they write down remains the official one, no matter if they change their minds, and no matter what their paddles say. “That’s the thing about live TV,” one the many people working in the studio said. “You just never know.” Still, it seems odd. Why would judges appear to be so confused by something they wrote with their own hands? And why not just have the scoring transparent, so everybody can see the real vote at the same time?
Carrie Ann also talked on this issue in one of her blogs recently at Access Hollywood.
After every performance, we immediately write down our scores on a piece of paper. I pass off the paper to my left, [to] one of our producers who takes it to the booth so that when we are asked to say our scores, the graphics can come up at the same time for the audience at home. This paper is the official score and once it goes in, it is in. Last night, after Nyle and Sharna danced, Maks and Bruno both scored the dance 9, the same as I did. Len is the only one who wrote down that he wanted to give a 10. Maks and Bruno I think changed their minds and wanted to give a 10, but the paper had been turned in. And no matter what, what we write down is the official score and it can’t be changed. And they decided to give 10s after the deadline so it was not counted. Personally, I thought it was an outstanding dance and I found the poetry of his expression mesmerizing, but his top line was not perfect in my humble opinion. In trying to look at this in the positive, Nyle and Sharna won the night. Whether they got those two extra points or not from Bruno and Maks, they still came in on the top of the leaderboard and it did not affect their standing. The official score was indeed a 37. Three 9s and one perfect 10 from Len.
Back in the day, we used to have electronic key pads, where we would key in the numbers, but sometimes, we would change our mind and reenter the score but mid reentering it, the score would disappear and we wouldn’t know which score was counted officially. It still happens where we can scribble out the scores before we turn in the official paper, but once the paper goes in, we cannot change the score. We have standards and practices and we are an official competition so there are rules that must be in place. This is one of them.
It’s just so strange. Maybe they should go back to the electronic key pads. Heidi and Court, what do you think?
Court: I’ve gotten asked a few times what I think of the scoring snafus, and after ruminating on it for awhile, I can only come up with two theories, and neither one is particularly solid: either the judges are getting senile/doing whatever the hell they please, or this is yet another tactic to ensure that Nyle isn’t running away with the competition. After hearing the story behind the goof during switch week, I honestly just thought “Well, Len is getting old, and he seems more crotchety this season – maybe he really couldn’t hear what Maks & Bruno were saying. The crowd was pretty loud after that dance.” Hell, I’m only 31 and sometimes I find myself completely mishearing something my coworker has shouted at me across the office over the din of a couple people talking at a normal volume; Len is 72, and having to hear whispered things over the roar of a live studio audience. I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that he may have been trying to read their lips, and someone mouthing “nine” and “ten” look pretty similar. Or maybe Bruno & Maks (and then Bruno again, this week) really just DGAF and decided to throw up a “10” even though they wrote down “9”. Because reasons. Beyond that, my only other thought is that it’s a tactic to make it look more like a horse race, and less like Nyle is running away with the competition – just changing the judges’ scores and acting like it was a mistake. But even then, I guess I just wonder “Why not just tell the judges ahead of time that they can’t give Nyle higher than a 9?” The judges are company guys, if they want to keep their job, they need to fall in line with whatever narrative they’re fed. Obviously they’ve been playing into the Ginger pimping, and fell hook, line, & sinker for the Antonio “comeback” storyline last week. Why would they suddenly resist the potential “don’t overscore Nyle” storyline? There’s just some holes that I can’t quite reconcile.
Heidi: There’s always the possibility that they’re just incompetent. 🙂 Sometimes you have to go with Occam’s Razor – the simplest explanation is often the correct one (horrible paraphrase, but you get my drift). It is VERY odd, all that said. We haven’t had this problem but once or twice over the entire previous 21 seasons and now we have it TWICE in one season and both times during the same contestant?? It does tend to make one think that something funky is going on. It used to be they each wrote their own score down – if you watch the judges table immediately after the dance ends, you can often see CAI and Bruno reach over to the pad and write something down. If they’ve STOPPED doing that and they’re just telling Len, they need to reconsider that idea. It’s just getting embarrassing now. Not to mention that they’re probably getting calls from Standards and Practices – if that’s still what it’s called. And really, the way they’ve been scoring, there’s really no need to mark down Nyle to make it a horse race – they’ve been overscoring Ginger by a good degree, along with Antonio, so that should do the trick!