We’re back in business, baby! Dancing With the Stars Season 18’s ratings hit a big high with Week 7 Latin Night, then fell off a cliff on Week 8, hitting the low of the season. We listed a bunch of potential reasons why, including the premiere of the new 24 reboot as timeslot competition and Abby Lee Miller as guest judge.

DWTS fans pretty much lay the entire blame at Abby’s feet … and they may have been onto something, since the Week 9 Semifinals show did much better. The Abby-judged May 5 show took in 13.12 million viewers with a 1.9/6 rating/share. That was the first time DWTS had dipped below 2.2 in the ratings all season and the first time the overall numbers went below 14 million.

Fast-forward to this week, and the May 12 Semifinals show took in 14.36 million viewers with a healthy 2.3/7 rating/share in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

That’s a sigh of relief all around, and shows that the spring 2014 season has been pretty steady, overall, since those are close to the same numbers we’ve seen for most of the year. It’s still not as good as Latin Night, which had 15.88 million viewers and a 2.6/7 rating, but maybe that just means Ricky Martin needs to come back regularly in Season 19.

Do you think the guest judges have a strong effect on ratings, in both directions, or are there other factors responsible for the numbers going up, down, and up again?

DWTS Season 18 airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Source: TV By the Numbers