Dancing with the Stars Season 24, Week 4 – Manipulation Mayhem

The last several seasons, you’ve heard Courtney and I complain ad nauseum about the ways that this show is manipulated. Sometimes subtly and other times very overtly. From lack of interviews with Erin, to lack of overall PR, to song/dance assignments, to the packages.  Most people don’t even notice it because the tendency in humans is to believe what they see – even when they should know better.

Ironically, when we have a Bachelor on the show is when I think to start this series – the Bachelor is probably the single most manipulated, produced, heavily edited (however you want to phrase it) show on television that is so-called “reality”.  Here is where I plug the show UNreal which is a take off on the Bachelor series and is a (supposedly fictionalized) scripted – more scripted – drama.  Fantastic series – I highly recommend it. Produced by a former Bachelor producer, it will REALLY make you think twice about how much you believe on DWTS or any other reality show.

Anyway, in the comments on the live blog this past Monday night, Lori C commented – in response to my crack that they were helping Normani by giving her a ridiculously longer amount of time on camera – that she would time all the contestants camera time to see if what I was feeling was correct.  And she did – for which I thank her. I was going to include this in my DBTN post, but then I thought why not give it a post all it’s own? So here we are.

Interesting results – and my gut instincts about Normani were correct. But I think you’ll be surprised by who else got a good amount of air time.  Here’s a look at what Lori C sent me:

Sorry about the fuzziness. 🙂 Anyway, this was great, and while it confirmed my suspicion for the most part, it was hard for me to tell what the actual ranking was for each dancer, so I did it a slightly different way. Converted everything to seconds:

The results presented like this are actually rather shocking. Just to ward off cries of “xx seconds?!?! That’s no big deal!” I want you to stop reading right here and count 1 one thousand 2 one thousand 3 one thousand…and so on up to 8. That’s the number of seconds that Normani had over Simone on just the dance itself. It’s quite a nice little chunk of time.

Then think about it – Normani had a grand total of 118 seconds more screen time than Simone did – nearly TWO MINUTES. That is massive on this TV show. Massive. Bitching about Normani going first? You can STFU now. 😀

Gee, why would they need to give Normani so much more time than Simone? Hmmm….let me think…

Like “orange is the new black”, this is the new “bad package” although I suspect we’ll start to see some of those as well. Some think that Simone has already had a bad package. Not sure I agree, but my opinion doesn’t matter – the general perception of the audience does. And I am “woke” to these producers so maybe it doesn’t affect me as much.

Alright, some of you who have been visiting this site for a long time might be ready to point out that this is just one week. You can’t glean anything from just one week. No, we have to look at the whole season – hopefully Lori will continue to time everything. Any volunteers for a back up? If we had multiple people do it in the format I did it above, I could average each category and we would get a more accurate read on it. Anyway, right now, the top four in number of seconds is kind of interesting. What does it mean? Well we won’t really know that until the season is over either. Either those people are the top vote getters…or the producers WANT them to be the top vote getters and giving them more camera time (and Simone less) is how they get it done.

Don’t forget, they run through this show multiple times and it’s carefully staged – there isn’t much left to chance. So, while the 7 seconds between Nancy and David could fluctuate by several seconds in either direction – that is, it’s a small enough number to be insignificant, IMO – the nearly two minutes between Normani and Simone is likely no accident.

This is just one of many ways that the producers can manipulate this show to get the desired outcome – all with never tampering with the votes. I could list them all for you, but I want to see what you think. We’ll talk about the other methods next week, in part 2.