Water cooler talk around these parts occasionally turns to reality TV. Someone might ask me “Who do you think will win Dancing with the Stars?” Truthfully, I have no idea. Nor do I have any idea who will win American Idol.
The reason I don’t know who is going to win is simple: I don’t know who is voting. If you gave me a demographic breakdown of the voters (age, gender, geographical location, economic status), I’ll bet you I could venture a really good guess.
Dancing with the Stars is unique because your success depends in large part with who you are “randomly” paired with. You need a good instructor, a good relationship, and a certain amount of chemistry. But is there more to it than that? Could the person you’re partnered with actually be a detriment?
Consider this: in four seasons of Dancing with the Stars, Cheryl Burke has won twice. The arguably equally as talented Edyta Sliwinska has only placed as high as 3rd – and that was with the enormously popular Joey Lawrence (and yes, I realize how ridiculous those last four words sound).
Is Cheryl that much better than Edyta, or is something more sinister in play? Could it be that the people voting dislike Edyta? Ask the ladies around here and you’ll get some pretty negative responses towards Mrs. Sliwinska. Women don’t seem to like the way she dresses, the ways she carries herself, or the way she looks at her partners. I guess in contrast Cheryl just seems more… well, likeable.
So is Edyta doomed? Is she destined to be voted off early simply because the people calling in don’t like her? Maybe so. If you find yourself partnered with her on the show, are you automatically regulated to not finishing well? Perhaps.
But don’t feel too sorry for the guys paired with Edyta. They do, after all, get to dance with Edyta. And that’s a fate certainly worth coming in 5th place.