Why I’m Happy With the DWTS Finalist Results

So now everyone knows of tonight’s results, and who made it into next week’s finals on Dancing With the Stars: Jennifer Grey, Kyle Massey, and Bristol Palin. I really felt sorry for Brandy as she couldn’t help but cry at the results. And I thought she was a very good dancer. Actually, I think she’s an excellent dancer in general, and a good ballroom dancer.

But it seemed the judges and hosts felt it was Bristol who should have gone home. And last week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy asked Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya whether they thought Bristol should still be on the show – meaning did they think it was unfair Kurt was booted when Bristol remained. Both wisely refused to judge Bristol’s dancing. Tonight, when Brooke questioned him about the results, Maks Chmerkovskiy said he believed in the American system of freedom to vote for your favorite, meaning he also thought Brandy deserved to be there more than Bristol but that Bristol had won what was simply a popularity contest.

But, to me, this show isn’t about who’s been the best since day one and remained the best throughout. It’s about who works hard and improves the most. Bristol’s like a Kelly Osbourne, like a Kelly Monaco all the way back from season one. She’s the proverbial underdog – the one with no dance training, no performance background but a modicum of movement ability, enough anyway to work with throughout the rest of the show. And she did work with it. She was just a regular person and now she’s an accomplished ballroom dancer.

I like Brandy too, but to me Brandy was another Sabrina Bryan. She can obviously dance hip hop, and many of her ballroom dances looked a bit hip hop-py to me, which is completely normal since that’s her dance background. Bristol was more of a blank slate. And I think, at this point in the show, she’s more of a natural ballroom dancer than Brandy. And that’s what this show is about.

I think voters voted the way they did not because of Sarah Palin’s fan base for cry eye – please! – but because many felt the same way I did. A lot of this show’s contestants who started out not so hot ended up getting far: besides the aforementioned, Kate Gosselin, Christian de la Fuente (remember what a weightless goof he looked like at the beginning?), and I remember thinking Helio was cute but that he had a long way to go at the beginning of his season, and ditto for Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith. I don’t think Bristol’s going to win the whole competition – I really think Jennifer’s going to win – but I’m not at all surprised she went as far as she did, as far as Kelly Osbourne.

I also like Bristol for the exact reason the judges keep criticizing her. I like that she’s natural and she “just” dances and doesn’t overact everything. Acting is for the story ballets, not ballroom. Yes, you should show some expression but it shouldn’t be about that. But, who knows, maybe I am just burned out from watching So You Think You Can Dance try-outs for five hours today in Brooklyn, where the judges constantly told the contestants, however breathtaking their movement and excellent their technique, that they either smiled too much, didn’t smile enough, only smiled once, made weird expressions, mouthed lyrics, looked down and not at the judges, danced too far away from the edge of the stage and hence not “to” the judges, etc. etc. etc. – all comments that had nothing to do with dance, basically.

But more on that soon. Anyway, I am happy with the DWTS final three: the Dirty Dancing star, the underdog who’s come from behind, and Mr. Entertainment. So, Bristol’s the exact opposite of the other two. I’m really excited now for next week in a way that I wouldn’t have been if the three finalists all had the same strengths.


  1. I think you have nailed the thought processes of most of the public.

    DWTS was NEVER about just the best dancer, that would have been a pathetic show not worth producing or watching, let alone running for 11 seasons. (Not to say that serious dance shows wouldn’t be worth watching, but they wouldn’t have the drama that DWTS has.) And that drama is what makes it great. The audience participation has kept many otherwise painful-to-watch dancers in the running far longer than their dance talent or improvement deserved.

    Throughout the season Bristol HAS in fact stood up to the challenge of a raised bar — all the whiners conveniently ignore the fact that she DID receive 9-9-9 and 8-9-9 scores on her last night, scores that would have been lauded as absolutely praiseworthy in any of the previous rounds. Starting from where she did, I think this eclipses the perfect 10’s that Jennifer Grey had — and I really like Jennifer, have since Dirty Dancing. But, c’mon folks, each and every one of the others has years of professional performance and dance experience behind them. For Bristol to keep up with them at all is HUGE.

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Max! I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way and who thinks Bristol’s accomplishment is huge. I think that a lot of the show’s watchers don’t really understand how hard it is to learn to dance ballroom. It probably looks a lot easier than it is. But it’s not!

  2. DWTS and SYTYCD aren’t about who is the BEST dancer, but who the voters connect to and root for. BTW, does this mean that the SYTYCD producers let you sit in on the new round of auditions?!

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