Was Dancing With the Stars Rigged?
Buzz Aldrin, dead last on the Dancing With the Stars judging score cards, survives to shuffle across the ballroom another week, with the detested and uncoordinated Kate Gosselin in tow, while Shannen Doherty gets taken out just as we were starting to remember why we liked her back at West Beverly High.
Can you say "Fix?" Oh, yes, we know you can.
But let's back you away from that window you're shouting from, and consider the charges:
• Charge No. 1: DWTS goosed the results to keep Aldrin around because, geez, the man walked on the moon—you can't dump an American hero to the curb after two lousy dances.
• Charge No. 2: DWTS goosed the results to keep Gosselin around because, c'mon, she's notorious, and she's helping the show pull record numbers.
• Charge No. 3: DWTS judged Doherty the most expendable, and, for good ratings measure, put Pamela Anderson in the bottom two.
That about cover it? Good. Now, look...
On second thought, we'll spare you the argument that Doherty is a bigger TV star than Aldrin (not to mention a few others), was on course to become this season's Kelly Osbourne reinvention, and was therefore anything but expendable, and we'll tell you instead what our calculator found.
See, if you crunch the judges' scores the way they do at DWTS, then the field bunches—the lows aren't as low, the highs aren't as high, although, sure, a good amount of outer space still separates Aldrin from Nicole Scherzinger. But Doherty's lead over Aldrin becomes less than 3 percentage points, her lead over Gosselin less than 2. That's not a lot of wiggle room for when the public's votes are added in—if Aldrin manages to best Doherty by just three full points there, then, presto, he's ahead.
We got this crash course in DWTS counting today from executive producer Conrad Green. We'd called to talk vote rigging. Green obliged. (He helped set Steve Wozniak straight last year, so he's had practice.)
"I can assure you absolutely there's no rigging of these votes," Green said, citing the rules, regulations, more rules and three independent accounting firms. "I couldn't do anything about them if I wanted to."
If the suspicious figure that's exactly what a man in Green's position would say, then maybe they wouldn't expect him to say he knows why there was uproar over last night's results: "Whenever logic is defied," he said, "people get angry." Or to put it another way, if you watched the routines, there's no way Aldrin doesn't go home, there's no way Anderson's on the firing line, there's no way Doherty doesn't stick around, and so on.
Unfortunately for Doherty and Anderson, the two might have fallen victim to the oldest stumbling block in Chris Daughtry book. Said Green: "A lot of people assumed they'd get the votes."
While every vote always counts, every vote is especially important in the early, contender-packed shows. "The margins can be really small—it can just be a few hundred votes," Green said.
Last night's results was the same story: "There weren't huge margins involved," he said, "and typically there aren't."
Yes, but, we hear the suspicious yelling, "What about Gosselin? How do explain that...that...that woman!"
Green did a pretty good job explaining, actually. He said Gosselin's the closest the show has ever had to a real, live member of the general public in the cast, and that he can see lots of women empathizing with her story and voting accordingly.
If you're still dubious, then we recommend Entertainment Weekly's take on the results: "There's No Voting Against People," which pointed out that people who dislike, say, Gosselin can't dial 800-I-HATE-KATE—they must vote for one or more of her competitors, thereby diffusing their laser-intense loathing. Green agreed with the article's basic premise, if not with the Web's prevailing anti-Gosselin sentiment.
"I'm astonished with the vitriol," Green said. "She's working so hard."
OK, look, we know, you stopped paying attention about a paragraph ago, and started dialing 800-I-HATE-KATE, but time to check back in because, one, the number doesn't work, and, two, neither does the conspiracy theory.
As always, we have nothing to hide. Get all our latest Dancing With the Stars news right here.