Kind of a bummer, but a complicated one . . .
There were a couple of times when it looked as if Audrina Patridge might be in a position to win "Dancing With the Stars." Instead, she went home -- and was in the bottom two with Jennifer Grey, another seeming favorite. Neither was good this week, but it was an off week for almost all the dancers (Bristol Palin showed improvement, though she still didn't dazzle, and Brandy steady). The were saddled with a terrible "rock week" theme and forced to dance in an episode begun with replays of viewer-chosen top "DWTS" dances of all time.
That just reminded everyone of how not-great the current competitors were on that night -- and in the season so far. And I suspect it added to the problems for Patridge, who followed the best-dance selections, and who has proven not only weak as a dancer but emotionally remote for a couple of weeks.
All that being said, was that sufficient reason to send Patridge (or Grey) home? If you look at their body of work for the season, I'd say no. Even based on Monday night alone, I would say no. But there appeared to be a passion gap for Patridge; beyond people who judge based purely on performance and personal appeal, there wasn't a sense either that she eagerly wanted to win or that she needed somehow to be saved by her fans. I think the latter point comes into play with Palin and Massey in particular, while the former is a factor with Grey; I'm not sure where Brandy, Warner and Fox fit, but tend to think of them in terms of performance/personal appeal.
For all that, I don't see this as an oversight as enormous as, say, the ouster of Sabrina Bryan. Based on the last couple of weeks, I have to wonder if Patridge had peaked (thus killing the chance of being one of those "journey" stories these shows love). But following as it does the premature elimination of Florence Henderson, this makes it look as if "DWTS" voters are thinking about a lot of other things than performance. Which, of course, is also something that happens on these shows.