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"Dancing With the Stars": The Moaning After

By admin Published: November 26, 2008


It was 11 p.m. when "DWTS" ended last night. I was tired, I was disgusted. So I decided to sleep before I posted ...

And this morning, I'm still disgusted. The judges long ago went in the tank for Brooke Burke and Derek Hough, who won the disco-ball trophy, and nothing changed the last two nights, with all that best-ever stuff and Carrie Ann on the verge of tears after B&D's last dance and 88 out of a possible 90 points. I've watched every season of "DWTS" and I think there's an argument to be made that B&D were the weakest champions ever. Come on, was she remotely in a class with Kristi Yamaguchi? But one of the demands on a show like this is that the likely eventual champion must be praised to the skies, so that the process appears to have worked properly.

Still, Derek repeatedly covered up for Brooke's limitations. That is the pro dancer's job, but the judges let them get away with it, forgiving a lot of wooden work by Brooke. Then there's the cheating issue, brought up by my colleague Lynne Sherwin, when Brooke did a solo dance in a position where the judges could not clearly see what she did -- and what she did wasn't that good anyway.

But beyond the endless efforts to make Brooke champion, let's look at the way Lance and Lacey were triangulated into an undeserved third-place finish.

Yes, Warren and Kym could be entertaining and endearing. Still, L&L were a far more accomplished couple than W&K. But the judges in the waning rounds kept those two couples' scores very close. And while they praised L&L to some degree, their comments established B&D as the technical best and W&K as the crowd-pleasing people's champs. (And grumpy, tech-minded Len gave them a 10 on Monday night, in defiance of almost everything he says to contestants -- especially Lance -- during the rest of the show.) That actively discouraged votes for L&L, since the two biggest reasons for votes hadbeen taken.

Why? Because, even though the show brought in Lacey to give the dancing some more youthful elements, the show (again, Len in particular) is very tradition-minded about dance and did not want to let too much choreographic heresy into the mix. Then it would be "So You Think You Can Dance." So it was increasingly structured to say "this far, Lance and Lacey, but no more." And it worked. In the end, it got a dancer who was traditional (and whose final dance was polite to the point of dullness).

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