WASHINGTON, April 28, 2015 – Tonight’s 10th Anniversary Special of the popular competition show Dancing With The Stars has been marred by heartbreak. Since last monday’s episode, stunned fans dealt with the injury to favorite pro dancer Derek Hough and then last night, inexplicably for many, Willow Shields was eliminated from the competition.
A collective “what” exploding at the announcement as social media exploded with indignation.
Shields elimination had everything to do with fan votes, and nothing to do with her, or partner Ballas’ talent. Last night, based on judges scoring, Shields was at the top of the leaderboard, following the dance off.
The fans, dancers and judges did not see this coming.
— Chloe Przybylski (@chloeeele_) April 28, 2015
Dancing With The Stars encourages viewer participation through the first eight out of ten shows of the 2015 spring season, encouraging those watching to vote for their favorite duo. Which means the person with the largest fan base, the biggest social media network, will often come back week after week despite their talent, or the lack thereof.
Many saved by their fans despite having the lowest scores.
Shields, at fourteen, is the youngest competitor on the show, but she won hearts and admiration as she competed dance toe to dance toe with older dancers. Her dance partner, pro Mark Ballas, choreographing some of the most creative tableaus that worked to showcase her talent.
There are tricks that dance duos use. Sexual tension to bring an edge of the seat reaction to the dance. Dancers use bare chests, skimpy body exposing and sequined outfits and risqué dance moves to bring the passion necessary to win the final trophy.
A constant critique of the judges is that the “duo” has to connect emotionally.
Difficult for an adult male and young girl to do. At least not without being creepy.
Ballas was not only able to bring the artistic creativity to their dance, but to do so that it allowed Shield’s to step forward and take the spotlight with Ballas being a supportive role.
While watching her dance from last night note that her face is kept covered – facial expressions often being such an important part of the judge’s critique. If you missed the show’s theme, it was Eras Week and Mark and Willow given “futuristic jazz”; where other dancers may have come up with skimpy space suits, Ballas had to go in a very different and creative direction with his young partner.
And Shield’s not only met the challenge she met it very well. Judges consistently scored them at the top of the leaderboard, including last night. No one ever thought they would end up leaving the dance floor.
At least not yet.
We thought for sure there would be at least one if not two more dances from Shields and Ballas as duos Chris Soules and Witney Carson, Robert Herjavec have constantly scored lower. My money would have been on Soules being eliminated last night. Herjavc and Noah Galloway, partnered with Sharna Burgess, being eliminated next week in the double elimination.
Leaving Shield and Ballas, Nastia Liukin and Sacha ___ (dancing in for injured Derek Hough), Riker Lynch and Allison Holker and Rumer Willis and Valentine Chmerkovskiy in the final competition.
Would Sheilds have made it to the final three, where fan votes are removed from the winning equation? Quite possibly.
Would she have walked off the stage with the 10th Anniversary Mirror Ball trophy? Probably not.
The maturity, and experience – Luikin a pro athlete and Lynch part of the musical group 5R, and Willis an accomplished actor and instinctually fierce dancer – would have been difficult to overcome.
But not impossible. And as we all know, life and competition is not always fair.
Tonight is the Dancing With The Stars 10th Anniversary Show and Communities Digital News will be hosting a fan chat.
For the last ten years, twenty seasons, DWTS has entertained fans with exciting competition filled with athleticism, grace, injury, heartache and glory.
And Communities has been chatting DWTS every season since 2011, so it’s a milestone for us as well.
Tonight’s show will feature “the biggest opening performance in the show’s history’ which will feature more than 45 dancers, including the judges, hosts, and 15 celebrity alums.
Season 19 champion Alfonso Ribeiro will team up with his partner Witney Carson to take on Season 18 champs Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy in a dance showdown.
Also appearing on the show will be Superbowl champions Donald Driver, Hines Ward, Kurt Warner, Jacoby Jones, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice will team up for a “bromance” dance — a Latin Paso Doble with Karina Smirnoff, Emma Slater and Anna Trebunskaya.
You’ll also see performances from past celebrity contestants Katherine Jenkins, Chelsea Kane, Kristi Yamaguchi, Amy Purdy, Maria Menounos, Melissa Rycroft, Kelly Monaco and more.
Then finally, the night will come to a close with Grammy® award winning artist Patti LaBelle performing her iconic hit “Lady Marmalade” with Lil’ Kim and past DWTS mirror ball winner Amber Riley. Who danced with partner Derek Hough for his fifth mirror ball win.
Join Communities Digital News Fan Chat, starting at 8pm eastern with the broadcast of the Dancing With The Stars 10th Anniversary special.