Charlie White recieves his scores after dancing a jive.
Entertainment, TV

Dancing with Charlie

From Television Without Pity’s Dancing with the Stars Forums:

Anyone who says they don’t have a crush on Charlie White is lying.

If you put the essence of sunshine, rainbows, and puppies in a jar and shook it, you’d pour out Charlie White.*

I started this post a couple weeks ago, about how I’d become smitten with the bowl of sunshine that is Charlie White, and that he’d be voted off Dancing with the Stars over my dead body.  Well, it happened, so I must be dead.  😥

RIP Gail

You know Charlie White, right?  He’s the mop-top Olympic Gold Medalist for ice dancing (with his partner Meryl Davis, of course).  Since I didn’t watch one iota of the Olympic coverage this year, I only “met” Charlie when he came to be on Dancing with the Stars.  The funny thing is, I hate that show.

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess dance the quickstep.
Ballroom at its best

I love ballroom dancing.  I took lessons for a few years in the ’90s, and I’d start up again in a heartbeat if it weren’t so expensive.  But even with all that ballroom love, I’ve never liked Dancing with the Stars.  I watched one or two episodes when it first aired, but stopped because it didn’t feel like “real ballroom” (whatever that is), and I disliked the judges.  I never tuned in again.  Heaven knows why I began watching this season.  I think I was bored one night so I clicked on it from the OnDemand menu.

And thus, I was hooked. Despite being an Olympic champion and newly famous, Charlie seems to be every mother’s dream—the adorable boy-next-door,  with a bubbly personality, down-to-earth charm, self-effacing humor, and contagious laugh.

Charlie and Sharna dance as Burt and Mary Poppins
Kick your heels up!

My adoration had a double-edged sword, though.  Watching Charlie dance was a delight, but his road on Dancing with the Stars was not an easy one, and it ended much too soon when he was eliminated in the semi-finals Monday night.  It was the show’s fans who sent him home.  He didn’t receive enough votes from viewers to stay at the top of the leaderboard.  And I have to wonder why.

Theories abound as to why someone so likeable didn’t get the votes.  Some people think his professional partner, Sharna Burgess, choreographed routines that were too difficult.  Others felt there was no chemistry between Charlie and Sharna.  And some said his routines just weren’t memorable.

I blame the show’s  producers and  judges.

The producers didn’t “sell” Charlie.  His pre-dance videos were among the shortest all season. Apparently Charlie and Sharna didn’t generate enough drama to warrant attention.  The producers could have focused on Charlie’s positivity (don’t we all need some of that?), his work ethic, his sense of humor.  Where were the scenes of Charlie and Sharna raiding the costume closet?  Where was the video of Charlie skating with his dog?  Why wasn’t there more focus on his wit?  (“Hey! Up here, buddy!” he tells a cameraman focusing on his cha cha hip movements.)  Instead, we got videos of weekly cry-fests,  temper tantrums, hints of star/pro romances, and even a therapy session for performance anxiety.  Charlie had none of that, and thus, I guess, was deemed “boring.”  Hell, I’ll take humor and genuineness over angst any day.

Charlie White and Sharna Burgess dance the paso doble.
The infamous paso doble

The judges were particularly harsh with him.  Charlie started strong his first week, but for the next five weeks, he was consistently underscored. (Or at least not as overscored as everyone else.)  It was so obvious, the term “Charliegate” was coined. He was heavily penalized for choreography (not his fault).  The judges gave him nothing but praise for his cha cha, and nearly all praise for his jive, yet not one of them—even the more lenient guest judges—gave him a perfect 10.  Worst of all, the judges ignominiously berated him for his paso doble, a particularly difficult dance, which only Charlie performed this season.  No other contestant received such a tongue lashing.

Once Charlie finally hit his stride, a week ago, he’d gotten lost in the shuffle.  Other stories were deemed more interesting, other contestants apparently more compelling.  So although he danced brilliantly, and near perfectly, he didn’t have the “growth story” or the fan base to keep him around.  Shame on you, America

In a way, I wish Dancing with the Stars would have a “do-over,” as they did the first season.  But then, I’m also glad to have the DWTS monkey off my back.  And I take heart in knowing my hatred for this show is justified.

8 thoughts on “Dancing with Charlie”

  1. I’ve never really watched, though my kids did for a few seasons (their grandmother got them into it) and I’ve seen bits here and there. What you say doesn’t surprise me at all and reinforces my detestation of competitive “reality” TV. Glad to have you back! 🙂

    1. Well, I’m not completely “back.” The ousting put me in a serious funk. I’m still a bit upset, which is stupid because1) it’s a pretty small blip in the grand scheme of life., and 2) it’s not even MY life. Arrgh.

      But, it’s time to get to all those season finales. Maybe that will keep me out of trouble. 😉

        1. NO! No frowny faces! (I’ve been making too many of them already.)

          Charlie has started posting on Twitter and Instagram again, and he seems quite happy. As someone else said, it looks like he’s taken his ousting better than we have. 🙂

    1. It still breaks my heart. 😥 At least Charlie’s moved on and joked about it in an interview with the Huffington Post.

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