The “Good Dancer” Elimination Backlash

This happens every season, but this week seemed to really take the cake. For those not familiar with this, we’ve been through it 27 times (ie. 27 seasons). The story goes like this. One of the stars on DWTS is a really good dancer and gets voted off. A lot of fans really get angry and start flooding us, message boards, social media with all sorts of comments about the show being unfair and how it needs a change of format, etc. In fact, here’s a sample of these comments we got after last nights’ eliminations.

From: Change Format
Hello, been a fan since the beginning. Had a friend dying of cancer and she so looked forward to the show each week. Would kick the kids out because we wanted no distractions. Anyways your show has jumped the shark. Letting the fans vote for the best dancer is just mean spirited. Goes back to who is most popular in high school days. Let the judges do their jobs. Plus having Mackenzie Ziegler in as a Star after being on dances moms, come on. Competing against 9 year olds, what a joke the show has become. Please don’t play down to the dumb audience and make it about who is most popular instead of their talent.

From: last night eimination
had to call 3 times to get our vote in.for jaun Pablo. Something was wrong.  never had to do that in the past.

From: Voting
Fans should not be allowed to vote for dancing with the stars. The voice judges pick. So you think you can dance judges pick. The fans are terrible voters. I can dance better than Bobby Bones and I can’t dance. Cheryl and he partner scored perfect 10s there last 3 dances and they get kicked off  not right

From: Juan Pablo
Because he was eliminated so unfairly I will NOT watch the Finals. He was by far the best dancer on the show. I don’t know who you get to call in and judge but this is a complete waste of time. Shame on you for allowing it.

From: Tonight’s Show
After watching the results of tonight’s show I am totally disgusted. Instead of dancing maybe it should just be a popularity contest. Why should the celebrities learn how to dance if they are to be eliminated after getting all 10s. Not sure I’m going to watch anymore

From: Show has become a popularity showcase.
If Bobby Bones wins you can kiss this show adios. This is a dancing show not a popularity contest. You allowed the best male dancer ever in show history to be eliminated tonight”.Juan Pablo ) Bones and Grodery Store Joe are joke.You allowed Bones to transform show into “The Bobby Bones Show”!

From: voting in semi finals
Juan Pablo Dipace and his partner should have stay in the competition. They did amazing job and work really hard for those two perfect scores that they got. its very unfair, wrong, disgrace, and un sportsman like for a couple who leaves with two perfect scores while others have lowers scores who get to stay in. I’m  literally crying so hard right now for the unfair decision. Juan Pablo Dipace and his partner should being staying and the winners in my heart.
ps. I think the vote counts should be coming from the judges not the fans.

From: Tonight’s voting
I have been watching the show since it began . Tonight ended it for me.  Juan Pablo was the best dancer on the show this season but he did not even get into the finals.  I will NEVER watch this show again.  I have  taken you off my record statistics and do not care who will finally win.  I also will not even watch Dancing with the stars juniors.  I hope you lose your spot on this network.

From: elimination
who makes decisions here. I thought this was about dance. I use to love this show,  but to see get eliminated Sheryl and juan Pablo blew me away they were the best dancers there. juan pablo hit every dance. this Joe guy, was suppose to leave along time ago. this is about dancing not about the fans. I am really upset about this this is unfair. why even have this show. cancel it….what happened to honesty. the judges are the one that need to decide and none else…. if not cancel the show…

From: UNFAIR!
I been watching DWTS for years..season 27 is ridculous…all the good dancers are being eliminated..that’s not right. I will stop watching DWTS from now on and tell my family and friends to stop watching too. What happen? This show use to be fun and enjoyable to watch. Get a GRIP! DWTS. Do the right thing. so so sad and very very disappointed. 😓😓😓

Ok, I could go line by line on this and add some snarky remarks, but I’ll avoid doing so and just state some things generally. First, this show has always been a popularity contest. When has it not been a popularity contest? If you want a dance contest, then go and check out World of Dance. Also, what’s not right about the show being a popularity contest? I mean I get how we all have feelings about popularity contests, but DWTS has the audience vote on who goes through which by definition is a popularity contest. The same was true for American Idol and a lot of other shows. We could discuss a middle ground like the Voice where the judges are responsible until half way and then it becomes a popularity contest, but would that be fair to the more popular stars?

Speaking of which…this show was never fair. It won’t ever be fair and that’s ok. Life isn’t fair and the show doesn’t have to be fair to be enjoyed. Plus, can you imagine if the popular stars got voted off early because they were bad dancers. Oh the outrage. Not to mention, keeping the popular stars on is a good thing for ratings generally. If they’re more popular, they drive more people to watch. Sure, we could talk about alienating the hard core DWTS fans, but hard core fans are hard core for a reason. They’re likely going to come back. The willy nilly fans won’t really know the intricacies of who’s popular or not.

I also love that people think this is a new thing. This season was far from the first time that great dancers have been voted off early. This time I think it just resonates more because some people don’t like the stars that remain. In the past it’s often been a little more likeable characters that remain and so that softens the blow a little. However, this has been happening for a long time. The first one I remember that really blew up was Sabrina Bryan. She was an amazing dancer and it was the first time I remember a “shocking” elimination of a great dancer.

Long story short, DWTS is a popularity contest, that’s unlikely to change, and the show is not fair. And that’s fine. The dances are still amazing. The growth in some dancers is amazing. The interaction with their pro partners can be really entertaining. There’s plenty to enjoy even if you’re frustrated with a specific result. Plus, for every message above, there are 10 people happy that their popular star is still on the show.