Dancing With the Stars 2013: What Went Wrong?
Whether you, personally, have loved Dancing With the Stars Season 16 or have found yourself bored by the predictable season, there's no question that the magic has worn off for America. While the show is still doing well enough relative to the bleak landscape of network TV numbers, it keeps hitting series low ratings, and ABC has cut the Tuesday Results Show going forward. What went wrong?
The answer is probably a number of factors, only some of which we can know. But as fans of the show who want to see it continue for years to come, here are six things we think are contributing to the problem — and some ideas for what ABC could do to fix it.
1. Predictability. This season, the lowest scorer has gone home every week (save when Dorothy Hamill had to drop out due to injury). While it's always upsetting to see a good dancer leave before his or her time, this season has swung too far in the other direction, leaving us bored. Part of the problem is that there was too broad a range of talent — the competition between the top dancers and everyone else was never even close. While the playing field will never be entirely even, The Powers That Be could strive for something a little less divergent.
2. Lack of fan-fave pros. This is a problem, at least for dedicated fans. Losing Maksim Chmerkovskiy hurt. Tristan MacManus leaving early hurt. Lack of other fan faves like Anna Trebunskaya, Chelsie Hightower, and Louis van Amstel hurt. We know some of these pros had other stuff going on, but The Powers That Be should try hard to bring back some of the most charismatic and well-liked pros next season — and give them partners who can stick around.
3. Stars? What stars? Who are these people? This is always a complaint, and we actually think DWTS did a decent job bringing in some biggish names this season (Jacoby Jones and Aly Raisman both had huge years in the athletic world, Kellie Pickler is a beloved American Idol contestant, etc.), but it would never hurt to get a really gigantic name.
4. Confusing themes. In an attempt to mix things up (always good), DWTS added in too many theme weeks and gimmicky challenges, leaving this season (and All Stars, for that matter) feeling like a mish-mash of ideas that were thrown at the wall to see what stuck. In the end, the audience is here to see stars learn how to dance, no gimmicks needed. The producers should take a good long look at which challenges and styles worked, and which just muddled things.
5. Fatigue. Dancing With the Stars has been on for 16 seasons. That's a lot. While we're sorry to see the Results Show go, cutting back to two hours a week might help.
6. The Voice. It's definitely not good for DWTS that NBC smash hit The Voice is scheduled against it; it inevitably steals a chunk of reality competition lovers who might otherwise watch DWTS. However, aside from strengthening DWTS in other ways or completely rejiggering their scheduled (which has not happened), there's not much ABC can do about this. Perhaps cutting the results show will help — it might make DWTS the more appealing prospect for those who find The Voice's two days a week format a bit much.
What do you think went wrong? What would you like see changed next year? Sound off in the comments below.
Catch the Dancing With the Stars Season 16 finale on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.