PureDWTS Season 27, Week 3 – Power Rankings

Welp…so much for the agenda-free season. Judges’ scores and critiques were a bit of a mess Monday night, as some okay dances were hyped and overscored while some very good dances were nitpicked and underscored. To what end? I think there’s certain individuals that are getting oodles of votes and possibly running away with the competition, and the judges have no qualms pointing out the faults in their dances and docking points as they see fit, and “leveling the playing field”, so to speak; others seem to be struggling to connect and resonate with the audience, so I think they’re the ones the judges are reluctant to really score and critique realistically, lest the individual get eliminated “before their time”.

File under the category of “bad ideas that should be scrapped and never mentioned again”: that damn camera on the celebs they had inset over their rehearsal package, so we could voyeuristically enjoy watching the celebs reliving the traumas they had picked for their “most memorable year” packages. Things like this are what I like to refer to as “grief porn” – exploiting the contestants emotionally for a dramatic edit, a la poor Laurie’s grief over her grandma’s death.  It’s gross, it’s sneaky, and it’s a cheap stunt. Just when I think TPTB have hit rock bottom with their tactics, they find a sub-basement. 🙁

So, we lost Nancy this week, a development that both Heidi and I saw coming – and I’m a tad disappointed, because I feel like Nancy was actually a really cool person and was not a bad dancer at all.  But it brings me to my next point: why do the female celebs seem to be dropping like flies, while the male celebrities are doing just fine? We’ve lost three ladies so far – and all of the guys are still standing. Some seem to want to blame the show, claiming that “female celebs, especially ringers, get treated so poorly – none of them will ever win again and it’s not fair, WAHHHHH!” but I go back to this point I made in my preseason “Why Hayley Didn’t Get a Pro Spot This Season” post: the male pros, as a whole, are not serving their celebs well. Since the departure of Derek (and to a lesser degree, Mark), we’ve been left with a crop of male pros that just don’t seem to know how to  harness the talent of their female celebs – or cultivate some talent in celebs that have not danced before. It’s not that people dislike the female celebs or have a specific type of disdain for female ringers; it’s that the male pros just don’t know how to present their partners in a way that makes viewers care.  It’s possible to win with a female ringer or a female non-ringer – just ask Derek; it’s also possible to lose with a female ringer (Val’s done it a few times) or lose with a female non-ringer (basically every male pro at some point) if you don’t present them properly. It took TPTB doing some heavy-duty interfering to ensure the Chmerkovskiy boys each got their first MBT (and both brothers had ringers to begin with!), since Derek & Sharna turning amputee non-ringers into contenders during those respective seasons posted too grave a threat to Maks & Val’s trophies. Then you look at Emma, who has become an expert at turning turd partners into gold; and Lindsay, who seems to build such a successful working relationship with all of her partners anymore that she’s become a finale mainstay; or even Witney, who has blossomed as a choreographer these past few seasons and is developing a knack for pulling surprising stuff out of partners that didn’t seem like anything to sneeze at on the surface. Really and truly, the current lineup of female pros has paid their dues and really proven that they’ve got the juice to make their partners succeed; the current male pros (with the exception of Brandon, and to a lesser degree, Alan) seem to just be coasting, and hoping for ringers season after season so they can get a free pass to the finale (except that sometimes that doesn’t even happen – hello, season 24). The male pros are holding out for their window of opportunity to open; the female ones aren’t waiting for it to open – they’re grabbing a sledgehammer and making their own damn window. The three male pros we’ve lost this season suffered from a failure to make their partners stand out – even if their partner was demographically screwed regardless, there are ways to at least make them memorable…and that’s where the failure lies. So if you’re whining about not ever getting a female winner again, don’t whine at us – go whine at the male pros letting them down. Read more..