Even Charlie White — one of the happiest people alive — thought it was “contrived” for Dancing With the Stars Season 18 to pit him against fellow ice dancer Meryl Davis last week in what may not have been the real bottom two. Tom Bergeron kept talking about having three Olympians “in jeopardy” but what does it even mean to be “in jeopardy” if they aren’t actually spelled out as the “bottom” two or three, when combining the scores and viewer votes?
DWTS showrunner Conrad Green is leaving the show after Season 18, so he went ahead and spilled a few beans to The Hollywood Reporter. When asked how producers decide who will be placed “in jeopardy” during the show, Conrad answered, “Well, sometimes the people in jeopardy are the next-lowest-scoring person, and sometimes they’re completely not. Usually it’s whatever we think is best for dramatic effect.” So he’s coming right out and admitting it’s purely a dramatic device.
How often is it the real bottom two? “Probably less frequently than it isn’t,” Conrad admitted. “But sometimes it is. And when you get to the end of the show, that’s much more likely. It’s quite interesting being able to do results throughout the show and then have an elimination at the end, and I feel like we’ve got it better this season, how to make one whole show work. Putting people in jeopardy allows this sort of narrative to play out in a more understandable way at the end.”
He said they put couples in jeopardy “for all kinds of reasons,” adding, “You normally put people in jeopardy because it’s plausible they could be. Last week, it was plausible that Meryl could be in jeopardy because she had a bad week in scores the week before, which was unusual. So she’d probably be a bit worried. But essentially there’s no particular rationale behind it, beyond what would enhance the narrative.”
So the next time you hear “in jeopardy” and the audience “ooohs” and the couples look pained, just remember that only one of the couples in jeopardy is definitely at the bottom, and the others could very well be the most popular couples on the show. The Powers That Be are just playing games with our hearts. That’s reality TV for ya! At least Conrad admits that the producers make those choices; he absolutely rejects the idea that they fix the votes on the show. So don’t blame him for that one, just the “in jeopardy” gimmick!
The DWTS Season 18 Finals will air over two nights: Monday, May 19 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. ET and Tuesday, May 20 from 9 to 11 p.m. ET on ABC.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter