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Thread: Ideas to improve the show:

  1. #71
    FORT Fogey veg_out's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Palin Debate Aside, Does ‘Dancing’ Need Electoral Reform?
    By NATE SILVER

    Adam Larkey/ABC
    From left, “Dancing With the Stars” couples Lacey Schwimmer and Kyle Massey; Bristol Palin and Mark Ballas; and Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough, at the show’s finale on Tuesday night.
    The TV tuner at the Silver household is usually stuck on politics, sports, or — if truth must be told — “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” So I can’t acknowledge having spent much time watching “Dancing With the Stars” this year. From what little I caught, it was clear that each of the 12 couples on the show were far more capable dancers than I ever might be. (I’m saving my reality television karma for when CNBC debuts “Spreadsheet Idol.”)

    It does seem, however, that the controversy over the performance of Bristol Palin and her partner, Mark Ballas — who survived until the final week of the program in spite of frequently receiving among the lowest marks from the judges — has been too much about Tea Party politics and not enough about the show’s flawed scoring system.

    The “Dancing With the Stars” scoring system ostensibly gives equal weight to the opinions of the three-judge panel — all of whom have a lifetime of experience as professional dancers or choreographers — and those of the home audience. But the judges and the audience rely on completely different methods to rate the contestants, and they are not especially compatible.

    The judges assign each team a rating from 1 to 10; the scores from the three judges are then combined. Late in the season, each couple will compete multiple times on the same program; the judges’ scores for each dance are combined as well.

    But in practice the judges do not use the full 10-point scale. Only 9 percent of the judges’ scores this season were below 6, and just 2 percent were below 4. Perfect 10’s are also extremely rare early in the season — just two were assigned in the first six episodes of the show — although they become much more common late in the year, as all contestants seem to benefit from a sort of grade inflation.

    The home audience votes in a completely different way. They do not assign scores at all: instead, they simply pick which couple they like best. One person, one vote. (At least in theory: concerns have been raised about some fans stuffing the ballot box by signing up for multiple online accounts with fake e-mail addresses.)

    Mathematically, this is the equivalent of the audience assigning their favorite couple a perfect 10, and every other couple a 0. This gives the audience much more power over the show’s outcome than the judges. Suppose, for instance, that late in the season, when there are five couples left, four of the five teams receive 9’s across the board from the judges, and the final couple instead receives straight 7’s. In terms of the way the judges normally vote, that is a rather clear verdict: the low-scoring couple has had an inferior performance, and should be eliminated.

    But in reality the low-scoring team would need to receive only 24 percent of the votes from the home audience — just barely better than the 20 percent they would get if the audience voted completely at random — to be guaranteed passage into the next round. It doesn’t matter if 24 percent of the audience thought they were the best-performing couple — and the other 76 percent thought they were the worst one! They would still advance to the next episode.

    Sometimes the distinctions are even finer than this. In week 7, for instance, when there were six couples remaining, Ms. Palin and Mr. Ballas received the lowest score from the judges after middling renditions of the Cha-Cha-Cha and the Viennese Waltz. But the way that the show’s scoring system works, they would have needed to receive only 2 percent more of the audience vote than one of the highest-scoring teams — Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, or Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough — to place ahead of them.

    Although there were some quasi-organized efforts to encourage people to vote for Ms. Palin and Mr. Ballas – including some on Republican-leaning Web sites that might ordinarily take little interest in “Dancing With the Stars” — they may have been superfluous. Just the slightest quirk in audience voting — whether because of the contestant’s politics, her celebrity appeal, or something else (perhaps, as in the case of Sanjaya Malakar of “American Idol,” some home audience members would deliberately vote for the worst contestant) — could easily overcome a fairly clear verdict from the judges.

    There are a few relatively simple reforms that ABC might consider to overcome some of these problems.

    First, it could encourage judges to use the full, 10-point scale: a truly execrable performance should be met with a 2 or 3, and not a gentleman’s 6. Alternatively, it could narrow the scale — say, to between 1 and 4 stars, with no half-stars allowed — which would force the judges to make finer points of distinction.

    Secondly, although it would probably be too cumbersome to have the audience rate each couple from 1 to 10 as the judges do, ABC could allow each home voter to cast two votes: one for the best-performing couple, and the other for the one they felt was most deserving of elimination. This would eliminate the problem of a situation where a couple — perhaps like Ms. Palin and Mr. Ballas — sparked a highly polarized reaction: they would be punished if much of the home audience wanted to boot them out, just as they would benefit if a vocal minority wanted to keep them in. (The potential downside: it could encourage cut-throat behavior on the part of the audience, like deliberately voting to eliminate a strong-performing couple. In reality TV terms, however, this might only add to the fun.)

    And whatever else it did, ABC could stand to make the voting more transparent, such as by revealing the exact number of votes received by each team from the home audience — something that reality shows, in spite of their pretenses of being democratic, have long been reluctant to do.

    Of course, from ABC’s standpoint, there may have been absolutely nothing wrong with the outcome, for “Dancing With the Stars” did just fine when it comes to the numbers that matter the most: ratings for the show’s finale — perhaps because of the controversy surrounding Ms. Palin — were up 25 percent from last season.
    http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ctoral-reform/

    Since we're talking reform, some commentary on the voting issue.

  2. #72
    FORT Fogey Tobi's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    I think it would be so fun if they at some point switched pro partners. I watch the Big Break on the Golf Channel and they are doing a strikes type of thing. Two or three strikes and you're out. Maybe if you are voted out you have to change partners with the number one dancer for a week to redeem yourself and then next time you get voted out you're out for good. I feel bad that people are voted out the first trip out on the dance floor. That doesn't seem right and makes me feel bad for them that put in all the time and get shot down the first week out. I guess they can't afford to keep all of them for very long but it seems something could be done differently.

  3. #73
    *Until Next Season...* karalott's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobi;4116975;
    I think it would be so fun if they at some point switched pro partners. I watch the Big Break on the Golf Channel and they are doing a strikes type of thing. Two or three strikes and you're out. Maybe if you are voted out you have to change partners with the number one dancer for a week to redeem yourself and then next time you get voted out you're out for good. I feel bad that people are voted out the first trip out on the dance floor. That doesn't seem right and makes me feel bad for them that put in all the time and get shot down the first week out. I guess they can't afford to keep all of them for very long but it seems something could be done differently.
    In the past, they used to have everyone dance two dances (one latin/ballroom and the following week the opposite style) before the first elimination, and I really liked that they were able to get first week jitters out of the way, and maybe redeem themselves. They do that every other season it seems. I know it'd be a lot on the couples, but maybe allow them 3 dances; one on the first night (Monday), then instead of the results show have them do their second dance, and the following week their third. I know it'd likely result more in trainwrecks and tiring people out, but it might give some a better chance to impress. Of course one of my biggest pet peeves of season 9 was all of the dances they threw out to the couples. Sometimes less is more, and I hate when the dancing starts lacking and couples can't remember their routines.

  4. #74
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    Re: Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Season 11

    On another subject, I think it's time to admit that DWTS really is making a fool out of itself. The transparent grab at ratings with controversial political "stars" is truly desperation at play. They know their demographic tends toward the conservative seniors among the viewers and seem to have aimed about as low as they could to appeal to them. That will likely mean transient spikes in viewers, not a faithful following.

    The quality of the competition and the dancing is being grossly neglected in favor of gimmicks. They bring on at least one "ringer" each season, and fix her up with Derek to fill the quota for "good dancing." In the meantime, they abandon all pretense of a true competition and just irritate the hell out of 90% of the other fans. They humiliate the few "stars" who are foolish enough to participate which will continue to lower the attractiveness of the show.

    Increasingly, DWTS has revealed itself to be selling snake oil and to chase ratings by abusing the intelligence and good taste of its viewers. That combination didn't work for the Gong Show and it won't last forever for Dancing either. What a bummer to see so much potential for fine entertainment so badly produced. I think DWTS has "jumped the shark."
    Last edited by danesRfun; 12-16-2010 at 09:53 AM. Reason: grammar

  5. #75
    FORT Fogey bevorules's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    A friend of mine did a skit with her husband awhile back that was really cute. They were ballroom dancers in college. They had a narrator tell how they met and their marriage (they met doing BRD) and the narrator kept changing which dance they did at the wedding (they would dance out the new dance.) I think for a team dance it would be really fun for them have Tom do some sort of skit narration and utter the name of the dance and then the couples would have to do a basic in that discipline. I think it would have to be late in a season where each team has done each kind of dance at least once. Then at the end, the judges can score them from 10 down. I think it would keep them on their toes more than the instant dance, and Tom could make the story really funny.
    "We were just going to do whatever it took to win."--Texas Longhorn Quarterback Colt McCoy

  6. #76
    FORT Fogey LuvThisStuf!'s Avatar
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    Re: Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy - Season 11

    Quote Originally Posted by danesRfun;4127877;
    On another subject, I think it's time to admit that DWTS really is making a fool out of itself. The transparent grab at ratings with controversial political "stars" is truly desperation at play. They know their demographic tends toward the conservative seniors among the viewers and seem to have aimed about as low as they could to appeal to them. That will likely mean transient spikes in viewers, not a faithful following.

    The quality of the competition and the dancing is being grossly neglected in favor of gimmicks. They bring on at least one "ringer" each season, and fix her up with Derek to fill the quota for "good dancing." In the meantime, they abandon all pretense of a true competition and just irritate the hell out of 90% of the other fans. They humiliate the few "stars" who are foolish enough to participate which will continue to lower the attractiveness of the show.

    Increasingly, DWTS has revealed itself to be selling snake oil and to chase ratings by abusing the intelligence and good taste of its viewers. That combination didn't work for the Gong Show and it won't last forever for Dancing either. What a bummer to see so much potential for fine entertainment so badly produced. I think DWTS has "jumped the shark."
    Very well stated. I hope the producers read this.

  7. #77
    *Until Next Season...* karalott's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Can I recommend never using a smoke machine for special effects again? I can understand wanting to set a mood, but if Kirstie/Maks had any fog floating around the stage for their dance he could have just blamed his fall on that. I'm kind of surprised no one did fall. And knowing this show, they'd probably accidentally turn it on with a couple that has someone asthmatic.

    Also, can we get rid of Brooke? She's gotten worse every season, so who knows what next season will bring.

    Other than that, for once I'm enjoying myself. I love the cast this season, love that the judges are actually judging and don't seem to have any biases or are towing any producer favorites (aside from the 'level playing field' angle). I wish they'd offer better constructive criticism and figure out a better scoring process. But aside from that, this season is great, and I'd take it anyday over having an overexposed tabloid figure that sucks all the fun out of things and brings too much drama to the show.

  8. #78
    FORT Fogey Tobi's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Re: Reprinted article above.

    I don't think one can say the show "panders" to conservatives, how ironic that one would say this when I would bet that 99.9 percent of the contestants do NOT hold a conservative view and perhaps that is why when one is on there that is suspected of holding an opposing view it stands out so much and angers so many. How intolerant....

    I am completely happy that there are no politics this season. I think it is safe to say that was a failed experiment and should never be done again. To put politicians in the star category is sort of offensive as they are to represent the people and not be considered stars in their own right and the ones they have chosen could hardly be considered stars anyway, lol. But I do hope that DWTS has gotten that message and turned away from that type of polarizing casting and will concentrate on a true competition. Please, no more offensive elders such as Cloris Leachman giving all seniors a bad image and bad name. No more Jerry Springers whom I find utterly offensive, I happen to remember him as mayor of Cincinnati. A complete and utter baffoon even if some do feel he has somehow redeemed himself with shock TV which baffles me further, I do not appreciate this type of contestant. Also, casting people that do not want to be there and make it known is unfair to the pros and cringeworthy to the viewers. (Macy Gray, Master P, Kim Kardashian, others). Every show has it's shelf life but of course one can hurry that by not taking care of the product and thus it spoils long before it should.
    Last edited by Tobi; 04-09-2011 at 09:09 AM.

  9. #79
    Christian,Mom,Teacher mom2's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Perhaps one season all the contestants could be relatively close to the same age ...
    "Quotes on the internet may not be accurate." - Abraham Lincoln

  10. #80
    *Until Next Season...* karalott's Avatar
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    Re: Ideas to improve the show:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobi View Post
    I am completely happy that there are no politics this season. I think it is safe to say that was a failed experiment and should never be done again. To put politicians in the star category is sort of offensive as they are to represent the people and not be considered stars in their own right and the ones they have chosen could hardly be considered stars anyway, lol. But I do hope that DWTS has gotten that message and turned away from that type of polarizing casting and will concentrate on a true competition. Please, no more offensive elders such as Cloris Leachman giving all seniors a bad image and bad name. No more Jerry Springers whom I find utterly offensive, I happen to remember him as mayor of Cincinnati. A complete and utter baffoon even if some do feel he has somehow redeemed himself with shock TV which baffles me further, I do not appreciate this type of contestant. Also, casting people that do not want to be there and make it known is unfair to the pros and cringeworthy to the viewers. (Macy Gray, Master P, Kim Kardashian, others). Every show has it's shelf life but of course one can hurry that by not taking care of the product and thus it spoils long before it should.
    It should never be done again, that I agree with, but I doubt we've seen the last of politicians, their controversial offspring, or controversial cringe worthy reality stars like Kate. The ratings are down from last season, that's probably to be expected. But they haven't remotely tanked. Even the results show is fairing very well in the ratings. This was a cast that most people wrote off and the media whined about not being interesting because there was no clomping train wreck that made it a miserable viewing experience. I'm loving this season, and think the cast has certainly proved itself. For the most part, they're all likeable, all have potential (some more than others-at least there's no clear choreographer ringer who you know will win before the season starts), the pros seem to be in much better moods this season compared to last. It's just a fun show this season, not like last season where I gave up caring, especially at the finale.

    I do wish they would cast people who really want to be there and who are going to try their hardest, and not just think they deserve higher scores than their dancing merits. However, that can be a slippery slope. Some celebs come into this and despite being huge fans and campaigning to get on for many seasons, it winds up being so much harder than they expected, they wind up tanking with the judges, nerves get the best of them, and they don't have the audience to back them up. So they want out, like Wendy apparently did. But some they cast in the past, like Macy, Michael Bolton, Ashley Hamilton, Steve Wozniack-really? I am glad they don't have the typical "old" contestant like Cloris or Buzz and, as sweet as they might have been, hope they refrain from that type of casting in the future. I think Florence would have done so much better with a different partner. For 60 years old Kirstie's doing great, but I really think they need to set a limit. Worrying more than someone is going to fall and break a hip over wondering how they'll pull their dance off isn't good TV.

    I do hope the producers take note how this season is going and leave out all the train wreck tabloid nutjobs in the future. I'm thankful Christine O'Donnell didn't sign on this season, and hope she's not in talks for the future. With the election year coming up, I don't want to see DWTS turned into a political town hall meeting. The fall seasons haven't been as good the last few times compared to the spring, so I'm going to enjoy this one and will probably be looking back on it come September

    I'll also suggest getting rid of Design a Dance. I may be the only one, I just think it's a boring concept at this point. And it seems obvious it'll be Mark and either Cheryl, Lacey, or Chelsie who win the pro slots.

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