If Maks leaves then I will stop watching. Val is hot but in all honestly...he is no Maks!
Okay, hands up everyone: Behaves like Maks, looks like Mark - who is still a fan?
Maks has never had a complete clunker that never had a chance (like a Master P or a Buz Aldrin). Maks has had several viable contenders that never quite made it all the way. These Include: Laila Ali (3rd place season 4), Mel B (2nd place season 5), Misty-May Traenor (looking good in season 7 before her injury), Erin Andrews (3rd place season 10), Brandy (4th place season 11), Kirstie Alley (2nd place season 12). None of his other partners looked that bad on paper. Many were young and fit. These include: Willa Ford, Denise Richards, and Hope Solo. I do agree that his remaining partners (Tia Carrere, Debi Mazar, and Mellisa Gilbert) would not be predicted to go all the way, but would also not be predicted to be first exits.
I think that Maks has had a reasonable mix of partners, no better and no worse than many other pros. He hasn't had nearly the worst. That honor goes to Ashley DelGrosso-Costa (Master P, Harry Hamlin Buzz Aldrin).
Of all of Max's partners I have never seen him so himself as he was with Melissa. He seems to really care for her, not in a BF/GF way but just as a human being. I think he really appreciated her and had a genuine like for her. I was amazed at the things he said to her and it didn't seem like pro/student babble like we usually hear. I found it fascinating. Melissa must be one of those people that brings out the best in other people. We all know them, they look normal, may not be the most physically stand out person but there is just a quality about them that makes you feel comfortable with them, forgiven, accepted and even special. It isn't about romance. I don't think I've even seen Max more genuine. He usually seems either bored or p/o'd about having to be there. He was different this time. I liked it a lot.
Denise Richards and Debi Mazar may not have been clunkers in the Kate or Kim Kardashian category, but they were probably his worst partners. Denise was unpopular at the time, so that didn't help, either. I somewhat disagree about not knowing the winner in advance. On paper, sometimes it's easy to tell, like the examples you listed. Other times, once the season starts and you see how the scoring and comments go, then it's easy to tell. I knew by week 2 Katherine and William would be in the finals, and by week 4, it'd probably be Donald with them. I expected Melissa out earlier, and thought Gladys would last longer based on fan votes (and maybe she would have without the dance off). Other than that, the season has gone as expected. I thought Katherine and William might have been at a disadvantage based on the unknown factor, but that hasn't stopped J.R., Kyle Massey, or Gilles Marini from making it to the end. So it's really no surprise we have the final 4 we do.
Tony and Jonathan get the award for most clunkers in a TV show...
I do feel that you can pick out the best dancers after only a few weeks in the season. That is not surprising to me at all, especially given the fact that the contestants have had a chance to work with their pro for a few weeks prior to the first show. This will usually predict the judges scoring as I do feel they score the merit of dances for the most part - although sometimes I don't understand what CA and Bruno are looking at. This predicts who will land at the top of the judges leader board, but as we know this is only part of the story.
The unpredictable part is the viewer voting as it is often not based on factors that easy to predict on a week to week basis. There ore often instances of:
- voting for the worst contestant as a prank (some websites even promote this)
- not voting for your favorite because their judges scores are high so they are safe - always a bad strategy
- stuffing the ballot box - rabid fans have been known to create hundreds of e-mail accounts to vote
- voting for the pro instead of the contestant - either for or against (as pros become more popular I expect more of this)
For this reason I find it unusual that the final group is known ahead of time. Usually some of the best dancers will make it, but not always. There are almost always contestants who stay longer than their more talented contemporaries.
People always complain about the judges on this show determining the outcome with their scoring, but when you consider that it is rare to see less than a "7" in the later part of any season and when you do the math you will find that the viewers will easily overcome the judges scores. This is especially true this season when anything less than an "8" is rare.
I perhaps naively look at this as a dance competition. I like to see the best dancers stick around because I am entertained by good dancing far more than I am by backstage drama and various degrees of "hotness", male or female. I also believe in preserving (at least to some degree) the integrity of the dance styles being competed. I base my voting on those criteria. I suppose in that respect I relate best to Len, who I also believe tries to do so. Others will do as they please and base their voting on whatever they wish including the list I mentioned above. Because of this variability I refuse to get too upset over any results. My favorite contestants will continue to be those who excelled in their dancing, whether or not they win.