Is ABC’s Dancing With the Stars a dancing program or a popularity contest? I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars, I admit it, but I know a lot of people who do, and I don’t need to: it’s everywhere, and I can find out what happens every week without really trying. And all that I’m hearing about it has me glad I don’t watch.
In theory, the idea behind Dancing With the Stars is not bad. Take people from diverse backgrounds, partner them with dancing professionals and have a dance competition: which star does okay, but only just, who is all toes, and who gets really good? Grade the dancing pairs, until the best team wins.
But here’s where either I just don’t get this show, or it has a major failing. When the non-dance-professional public gets to vote, the competition becomes as much, or more, a popularity contest as a dance competition. For television success, allowing the audience to participate is, I imagine, the way to go. But if and when that audience participation degrades the product, is it still a smart move?
The main reason I don’t watch Dancing With the Stars is because it does turn into a popularity contest where an inferior dancer is kept on the show while a superior one leaves, simply because of a fan base. Kate Gosselin stayed on the show far longer than I could believe, as has Bristol Palin.
Now, with all the to-do about Brandy being sent home and Bristol Palin remaining, maybe things will change for future seasons of the show. Maybe the scoring system will be changed, so that the show is really about the dancing.
Or maybe not. Maybe I’m totally off-base, and a real dance competition either isn’t what this show is about, or isn’t what the television viewing public really wants. I’m realistic enough to know that the TV networks want what the television viewing public wants.
Since I’m not a fan of Dancing With The Stars, and I don’t watch it, it shouldn’t really matter to me who stays and who goes, except that it does, for some reason. Maybe because, as I stated before, I can’t seem to get away from it. And for some reason, hearing on a regular basis that personal popularity has promoted an inferior dancer over a superior one, on a show about dancing, bugs me.
But there’s nothing I can do about it, since I don’t vote for any of the dancers, and don’t plan to start. So I’ll stop whining, continue not watching Dancing With the Stars, try not to let it get to me, and ignore it all the best I can.