Dancing with the Stars Versus Strictly Come Dancing

Thanks to the wonders of technology, I watched the “Grand Final” of Strictly Come Dancing live yesterday. It was quite the interesting experience, to say the least. Most people know that the two are sister shows, with SCD being the predecessor of DWTS. That said, there are quite a few differences between the two shows – and a few similarities. Now, I’ve only seen three episodes, at most, and I’ll be going mainly on memory so let me know if I leave anything out.

The Similarities:

  • The theme song – it was strange, to say the least, to hear that music pop up followed by all the British accents and the just different enough to be noticeable set.
  • Len and Bruno – yep, Len and Bruno are ever present…but they are different too. :-)  Or so it seems.
  • The Live Band.
  • The best dancer doesn’t always win…and that person’s fans claim they will never watch SCD ‘ever again’.  :-)
  • Two host, one male and one female (although the male, Brucie, sang and dance on the final with one of the judges).
  • Celebrities dance with professional partners.
  • This season, the final two teams did a side-by-side Lindy Hop, similar to what our final three did but less complicated – one style instead of several.
  • Pro-dances.

Here is one of the best (the best, in Len’s opinion) couples from this “series” (aka season in USA speak) – Ricky Whittle and his professional partner Natalie Lowe do the Quickstep during the final:

Here’s the guy who actually won (and I found him very enjoyable) – Chris Hollins and his professional partner Ola Fortuna (any relation to Brian?) doing the Charleston during the Final:

The Result?

There are quite a number of differences, some huge, between the two shows, including:

  • They normally have *four* judges, and by the end of the season they had added a fifth, and controversial, judge.  That’s right – 50 possible points per dance! We could discuss how this waters down the impact of any single judge, but that’s a much longer, math-related, post. :-)
  • Len and Bruno are a similarity, but also a difference.  Bruno is still wild – it’s Len that is a bit different. He lets it rip with the British lingo much more than he does on DWTS. But, he’s also not the “mean” judge on SCD, as far as I could tell – the other guy, whose name I don’t remember, seemed to be worse.
  • I haven’t done a ton or research on this, but I gathered from the message board ecstasy over the possibility of them getting Derek Hough (he says no), that the male pros ALWAYS wear tails for ballroom. The commentary on the message boards was that the dress and manner of the SCD pros is much more formal than that of DWTS – our guys almost never wear tails, whereas their guys always do.  Derek visited the show and his main comment on it was the “feel” of the show – very different.
  • The scoring is COMPLETELY different on SCD than it is on DWTS.  On DWTS, they use a formula to give each couple percentages of the vote cast and percentages of the total judges points given out on a given night, then those two percentages are added together.  On SCD, each couple is simply given a rank based on the judges scoring and viewer votes. For example, if seven couples are dancing, the couple with the highest judges score is given a seven, and so on down the line.  The couple with the highest number of viewer votes is given a seven and so on down the line. Those two numbers are added together and the two couples with the lowest combined number do a dance off. As in DWTS, the judges decide who stay. In the event of a tie somewhere in the lineup, the couple with the higher viewer votes takes the higher position. Keep in mind, this is the standard, not just something they use during Mambo Marathons, etc.
  • Voting is by telephone ONLY for SCD – this is a huge difference with, I would guess, a huge impact on the results. And it appears, from my limited research, that you have a relatively short period of time to vote. On the order of two hours.
  • I don’t know if this is par for the course, but yesterday they aired the performance show live at 6:40 local time.  Each couple danced two dances. They open the phone lines at some point late in the show, and then have an hour break where they air another show. Then, at 8:40 they air the results show. The phone lines have been open the whole time. The couples dance two more dances, including a “show dance” (aka Freestyle in USA speak).  Then, about 15 minutes before the show is over, they close the phone lines and tally the results. And get this – the judges scores don’t count.

Now, I’m sure there are many more differences, large and small, between the two shows.  But I’ve outlined a few differences that I’m sure everyone can see would have a huge impact on DWTS if they changed to be the same as SCD.  Which is the biggest; the short voting period, phone only voting or the scoring…or the fact that in the final the judges scores don’t count? Good grief, they all seem huge to me.

I’ll let you guys thing about that for a few hours, while I come up with my thoughts on the impact on DWTS if we made it more like SCD. Would we still have a Donny Osmond? Would Gilles have won instead of Shawn?