Mrs. Brady has left the building.
On the results show for the fifth week of Dancing With the Stars, in what probably amounts to the biggest upset of the year so far – discounting The Hoff’s elimination in Week One, because he was terrible, scored the lowest, and deserved to go no matter how much of a tabloid (and therefore ratings) target he was – Florence Henderson and her professional partner Corky Ballas were eliminated after Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas and Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer – the two pairs who earned the lowest scores from the judges – were saved by viewers’ votes.
It’s moments like these that make the fact that it is occasionally more a matter of popularity than talent obnoxious. Palin has consistently disappointed the judges for one reason or another – whether it was because she didn’t show enough emotion while dancing, or because her technique was a little spotty – while Henderson regularly made the judges smile, and generally earned pretty good feedback. There really isn’t all that much to say about the results, other than that apparently, the trend of the lowest-scoring competitor being eliminated doesn’t extend to those contestants who are lucky enough to have the support of a former Vice Presidential candidate.
For Palin and Massey to be saved while competitors the likes of Jennifer Grey, Rick Fox, and Henderson end up “in jeopardy” is an unfortunate side-effect of the influence of popular vote, and is the one main problem with the format of Dancing With the Stars.
If only there was a way not only to vote for who you want to stay, but also to vote for who you want to leave.
The rest of the show, announcements of standings aside, was boring, loaded with ridiculous time-filling fodder – those pretend advertisements were disturbing, tacky, and wastes of time, particularly the one for Bruno Tonioli’s “dance DVD” – and generally about forty-five minutes longer than it needed to be. That’s the main problem with the results shows as the number of competitors is whittled down – an hour is way too long to take to announce the fates of seven couples or less, and the producers are obviously running out of ways to fill that extra time. One suggestion? Let the judges have a little ballroom competition; pair them with three of the professionals (those still competing, or those who have been booted), and let them strut their stuff.
We’ve seen Carrie Ann dance a little bit when she’s happy, Bruno does…what Bruno does, and it would be a delight to see Len do a little foxtrot or waltz. After all, all three of them are also dance professionals in one way or another – it would be fantastic to see what they can do, and it would be way more engaging than a bunch of ridiculous pre-recorded segments.
Overall, the fifth results show was pretty maddening, but Henderson handled her elimination with class, though that wasn’t at all unexpected. Her gracious thanks to the judges, the viewers, her fellow celebridancers and their partners, and most of all, her partner Ballas, were warm, emotional, and a testament to her character. The dance floor’s not going to be the same without her, and hopefully, we’ll see her again in the season finale.