Dancing with the Stars
season 24 was full of shocking results, so it was only fitting that the
finale offered one last surprise. Despite having much lower scores and
being an objectively worse dancer, baseball player David Ross managed to
outlast Normani Kordei and finish in second place, ultimately losing to
the NFL's Rashad Jennings.
DWTS Season 24 Finale: Rashad Wins>>>
But beyond the initial shock, how big of a deal is David's second place finish and will it have a detrimental impact on the future of Dancing with the Stars?
First, let's put David's result in context. For the entire season, he had the sixth-best average score, lower than Normani, Rashad, Simone, Heather and Nancy. His average was just 32.3, a little better than getting all 8s from the judges and a full 4 points lower than Normani. In the history of the show, only two star who finished in the Top 2 had lower average scores: season 1 winner Kelly Monaco and season 2 runner-up Jerry Rice.
There's also the issue of him only having the sixth best scores of season 24. In every one of the first 23 seasons, the Top 2 were both among the four highest-scoring couples of their respective seasons. Actually, with the exception of season 2's Jerry Rice and season 19's Sadie Robertson, everyone in the Top 2 was among the three highest-scoring couples of their seasons.
So for David to finish in second place with such historically low scores is a stunning achievement in the history of Dancing with the Stars
, unparalleled by any previous star.
But is this a good thing and what does it mean for the future of the show? If dance ability and judges' scores don't matter, Dancing with Stars
is, first and foremost, a personality contest.
The biggest problem with this is that the show's producers, judges and hosts now have more influence over the end result. If personality is what matters, then the editing choices are extremely relevant. The rehearsal footage is just as important as the actual dance, because it gives viewers a look at their personality. Surely David's loveable nature, and that fart in the face, helped him get more votes.
There's also Erin Andrews' nonstop shout-outs to Anthony Rizzo, reading all of the positive tweets about David and talking about the Chicago Cubs. That helped to raise his profile on the show even more while she barely spoke to Simone for most of the season.
Those production decisions can impact the results. It's not about who's the biggest star before the show begins, it's now about who will be the star of the show itself.
Another problem is the judges themselves. For the last two weeks, David received mostly 9s and even some 10s from the judges. The fatal flaw with the judges is that they don't score everyone equally. Does Len Goodman really think that David's Freestyle and 24-hour fusion dance were just as good as Rashad's? Well, he gave them the same scores, so the answer has to be "Yes."
And for the last two weeks of the competition, the weeks which were the basis for the final results, Julianne Hough gave David all 9s and 10s. Even worse, after the first two weeks, Julianne never gave David anything less than an 8. No wonder he finished second, the viewers were led to believe that David was a strong dancer all season long.
The real test to see if David's second place finish has any sort of impact of the show will be season 25. Will the judges start to crack down and score everyone using the same scale? Will Erin continue to play favorites? And will some couples get more entertaining, personal and emotional rehearsal packages?
Let's hope the production side fixes some of these problems, otherwise the least important part of Dancing with the Stars
will be the dancing.
(Image courtesy of ABC)