Halloween on TV 2019 (Updating)

It was an incredible night of strong performances, but nobody really seems to care as America continues to try and systematically destroy the show one vote at a time.

We're not going to apologize for ranting against "Dancing with the Stars" voting system because clearly it is still broken. At this point, we're all for eliminating America's vote altogether.

They can have a separate competition for "America's Favorite" where it doesn't matter if you can dance at all, since that's what the show is slowly turning in to anyway. It's sad that "DWTS" tried to tweak their voting format to stop the Bobby Bones syndrome from happening again and here were are.

For the second season in a row, the worst dancer in the competition just keeps going and going and going like the lumbering, rhythmless Energizer Bunny. Look, it's not Sean Spicer's fault. He's doing the best he can and that's all that can be asked.

But he's really bad at this.

The problem is that no one seems to care. Is he getting votes for political reasons? Personal? Who knows. But this is not a good look for the show, or for its future as a dance competition if it's this easy to stack the votes and overcome awful judges' scores.

Sean is so far behind the rest of the pack in judges scores each week, he must be practically leading in audience votes. But what this means in the future for the show is that fewer celebs will want to participate, and those that do will have no incentive to actually learn to dance or get better.

What does it matter how good you can dance if it's just a popularity contest, after all. Your time is better spent just trying to cultivate votes rather than sweating it out.

We're all for supporting effort, but there comes a time when there's clearly something else going on. Last week, Sailor Brinkley-Cook tied for the highest score of the night and got eliminated. There's a problem here and it's with America's vote

They're not taking this meaningless dance competition seriously. Yes, we get that it doesn't matter. But at the same time, within the context of itself, it does matter a great deal.

And having America troll it for whatever reason (like when they tried to sabotage "American Idol" votes a decade ago) only entertains the trolls while destroying what integrity the show has ... and without that integrity, how can the show survive?

Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last seventeen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.

Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Carrie-Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.


Kel Mitchell & Witney Carson

(Jive) Kel continues his midseason surge with a confident "RHPS"-themed jive that was rollicking and rolling and, perhaps most importantly, had lots of pep and kick and flick. He was absolutely amazing in the character of the piece at the top and then looked totally confident keeping up with Witney through the jive portions, though he did seem a little flat-footed on occasion, and especially as he neared the confines of their cage.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 8

James Van Der Beek & Emma Slater

(Viennese Waltz) What a great concept and such powerful choreography by Emma. James was so sinister in character as the demon who steals here away from her lover and dancer (the stellar Keo Motsepe), and he was in control from top to bottom in this piece. It was powerful, commanding and yet so elegantly beautiful. And yes, we're choosing to mostly overlook the lift spin that wasn't ... they almost covered it up.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 9

Ally Brooke & Sasha Farber

(Tango) A fun, twisted take on a tango, Ally was Harley Quinn to Sasha's Joker and yet the dance never fully embraced the madness. Sasha didn't like in that this was tango top to bottom, and Ally was mostly confident keeping up with his dense choreography. Her stance was a little cartoonish at times, so either her head placement was a bit wrong or it was intentional for the comedic lunacy of her character.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 8

Hannah Brown & Alan Bersten

(Jazz) Hannah did a good job with the story of this piece, but she spent the first half of it thinking so hard about the next step you could see her not fully committing to this one. She was clearly working very hard to improve, and this was a stronger performance overall, but she needs to not be overthinking during the performances. She is right in that others are sliding past her, but it's only by the smallest margins. She needs to not sweat that and really focus on committing her pieces to muscle memory so she can sail through them with more confidence.

Judges Scores: 8, 9, 8

My Score: 7

Karamo Brown & Jenna Johson

(Pado Doble) Karamo came with a little too much bounce and hesitation for a role (misstep) as powerful and domineering as he was given. It looked like a late rehearsal piece as he was still focusing so much on the steps we didn't get complete posture and positioning consistently throughout. He is getting stronger, but he still looks uncomfortable overall as he moves across the floor, and lacked the consistent strength and power the piece demanded.

Judges Scores: 9, 8, 8

My Score: 7

Lauren Alaina & Gleb Savchenko

(Argentine Tango) Lauren was definitely enjoying her temptress vampire role, and she brought a lot of personality to the dance. We would have liked to see a little more intricate footwork in this piece, but can't fault the cool vibe of the tango we did get. The lift toward the end was slickly produced as well and the slip recovery may be the smoothest we've ever seen on this show. It almost looked intentional.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 8

Sean Spicer & Lindsay Arnold

(Jive) Let's see, Sean missed the timing on a kick, he was either too much or too little hop (a few times he substituted high-stepping for true kicks and flicks), but the character of Frankenstein worked in his favor over all. Even with Lindsay giving him as little to do as possible, it just is not coming together as he has no rhythm or timing. But he is having fun, and this week that fun was infectious ... and his makeup was incredible.

Judges Scores: 6, 6, 6

My Score: 4

Kate Flannery & Pasha Pashkov

(Rumba) Kate got her hips moving and a little bit of sultry action going on a pretty good rumba. She was behind the beat -- and Pasha -- a few times notably, but you could tell this pushed her out of her comfort zone a bit as she battled her more natural stiffness. Nevertheless, she really went for it and showed a softer side that only got more confident as the dance progressed. The ending hold was really beautifully executed.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 7


Trick (Lauren, Hannah, Ally & James)

(Group) On paper, Team Trick definitely had more of the heavy hitters on it. This was a very cool piece so well-designed that you couldn't always tell who was dancing and it didn't matter. Everyone stepped up in a huge way. The table dancing was perfectly in sync, and then all the different ballroom styles were executed with sinister aplomb. We loved their energy and the vibe of the whole piece; it looked like a fully professional dance.

Judges Scores: 9, 9, 9

My Score: 9

Treat (Sean, Karamo, Kate & Kel)

(Group) Obviously, Sean is the weakest link on this team, but Karamo hasn't been much higher than him in the scores, so Lindsay was right to call this the underdog team. They had a lot to prove and a lot to overcome on the technical side. But props to the pros for some stellar choreography that allowed everyone to shine and didn't expose anyone's weaknesses. Sure, if you looked closely you could see that not all of the guys were as sharp, but Sean may have stepped up here more than we've ever seen, clearly inspired by the group experience. This was a pleasant treat indeed.

Judges Scores: 8, 8, 8

My Score: 7


The Team Round didn't really do much to change things because the bottom three scorers in the solo round found themselves on the same team. It did create a greater score divide between the three-way tie at the top and the bottom.

Could this finally be the week that Sean says goodbye? After a subpar solo round this week, Kate slipped into the bottom two by judges scores, followed by Karamo. None could break 50 points out of 60 total.

But, as we saw last week, voters have subverted the hell out of those numbers, rendering them almost pointless. But did they do it again?

Well, we would like to congratulate America on saving everyone but the three we just singled out. While Kate deserve this chance to continue to grow, she is quickly running out of places to hide as the true leaders of this season just keep getting stronger.

But of course, Sean was the last couple marked safe and you just know the judges are kicking the desk under the table that they are never getting a real chance to eliminate him. They weren't even trying to hide the disappointment on their faces.

Here's what we'll say. We're fine with Karamo going before him. At this point, we may have to resign ourselves to him outlasting Kate, too, but from there we've got Kel and the rest of the leaders and it would be a travesty for Sean to Bobby Bones this whole season when they are really killing it.

With Sean safe, it came down to Kate and Karamo, and while both have been showing growth and improvement, Kate is actually the more exciting dancer to watch and seems to have more potential. She had our vote, but does anyone listen to us?

This vote came down to Len as the tie-breaker, and he sided with us, sending Kate and Pasha back into the competition.

Karamo was one of the weakest dancers left, so we're still not too upset with what's happening, but it's a worrying trend that we're watching very closely -- especially considering what happened last season.

"Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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