What Did Jack Wagner Do Wrong on Dancing With the Stars Season 14?
By now, most longtime fans ofDancing With the Stars know there’s much more to the show than good dancing (and there still will be, even with the new “Dance Duel”). Season 14, Week 3 was dedicated to the 11 celebrities’ Most Memorable Year and five of the couples tied at the bottom with the high scores of 24 out of 30. Any one of the bottom couples — or the higher-scoring couples, for that matter — could’ve gone home on this competitive season, but it’s not too shocking that the second couple eliminated was open-hearted soap star Jack Wagner and Anna Trebunskaya. Here are a few reasons why.
LACK OF BUZZ Everyone seems to love Jack and Anna, but it takes more than just likability to get far on DWTS. It takes a spark between the couples and a certain level of interest behind the scenes — on Twitter and Facebook, in forums, in the comments of stories about the show, etc. When the pairings are announced and people start discussing the couples, you can see who is being talked about, what’s grabbing people’s attention, who is already favored to win and who is favored to be eliminated as soon as possible. The “controversial” celebs often do better than the ones people don’t focus much attention on at all. It’s better to be disliked than just passed over. This season, there aren’t really any controversial contestants but some have received more buzz than others. Jack and Anna always had their own fan bases but never seemed to capture the attention of the rest of the hardcore DWTS junkies or the casual fans who didn’t already have loyal allegiances going into the season.
TOO MUCH COMPETITION In general, but more specifically this week. The judges really let themselves off the hook by giving five couples the same score. And look at the other couples at the "bottom" — Gavin DeGraw & Karina Smirnoff, Melissa Gilbert & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Gladys Knight & Tristan MacManus and Sherri Shepherd & Val Chmerkovskiy. Gavin was already considered “in jeopardy” going into this week and a lot of folks thought he might have to leave, which is exactly the kind of thing that sends people into voting frenzies to “save” someone. Maks’ fans would never let him leave this early in the season and they probably wouldn’t let Val go anywhere either, even without Melissa and Sherri’s own fan bases. Gladys is an icon and Tristan is a rising star — the ballroom would probably set itself in fire on protest if they left on Week 3. The only couple left was Jack and Anna, who just never inspired the same level of passion.
THEY DANCED FIRST When you are forced to dance first, you run the risk of being forgotten by the end of the night — or at least eclipsed by whoever comes after you. Jack told a beautiful and touching story of reuniting with his daughter and his Samba was good — just good enough to lull people into thinking he was safe but not good enough to inspire a rush to the phone lines. Later in the show, Roshon Fegan also danced a Samba that turned out to be more memorable even if his personal story was not. Last season, Kristin Cavallari was eliminated after a good Samba that was paired with a not-so-memorable story. At least Jack was able to tell a great story, it just wasn’t enough on a season where each subsequent dance was often just as powerful and even more impressive.
AFTER THE SHOW Brooke Burke-Charvet asked the smiling Jack if he was surprised to have been eliminated. He brushed past that question and instead gave a short but gracious parting speech: “You know, it was a great time and I just had a great time. It was fun to kind of test myself — and thanks to the judges, appreciate it." Brooke said at least they went out on their best dance. "Oh absolutely," Anna added.
After the show, Jack told On the Red Carpet, "You know, it's a ride and it's about how long you go on the ride — and ours just ended. It's how it is. So I just have to sit in gratitude and thank Anna and ABC, Dancing With the Stars. You know, 'cause it's not easy to get on a show like this. It's a real honor to be asked on this show. So I feel like I was honored. I got to tell my story about my daughter and I, and my two sons, and you know that in itself is really pretty big. I'm happy."
Watch the next Dancing With the Stars performance on Monday, April 9 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.