Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars has wrapped and the winner was pretty clear to predict. I saw one poll that showed JR Martinez had 70% of the viewers votes. That basically means, he could have gotten fives from the judges and still won. I predicted that level of viewer votes for him from the beginning. He’s a PR dream – war hero and soap actor. Two huge audiences – AND he can dance. Not even close…

But, a new controversy had made it’s way to the forefront on DWTS; RATINGS! Now, the buzz is that the show is losing its steam or becoming overly-saturated. Really. The show dropped from 17 million viewers during the Spring season to 15 million viewers for the Fall season. Wow, the show is going under…

Nobody feels bad for DWTS. It’s like feeling bad for NFL and NBA players who were missing paychecks during their respective lockouts. They only got 90 million dollars instead of a billion. They’re going broke…

Here’s the deal: Spring is the beginning of season repeats on the network shows. So, most viewers are looking to watch something new, not a repeat. Of course the ratings are higher. Fall is when all of the new shows debut and viewers are trying to watch what’s new. DWTS should be jumping for joy that they’re only losing two million viewers to the new shows. They’re not a new show. Throw a party.

So now, the discussion is – supposedly – whether to have a new DWTS season once a year or twice a year. From a business perspective, it’s a win-win either way. Twice a year likely nets ABC more revenue. Once a year would likely build more suspense, possibly build a bigger one-time audience and attracts even better stars and sponsors. They could even make the season longer – 15 weeks instead of 10. I don’t see a lose either way. Greed is another post… More importantly, I think, is the quality of the seasons. THAT is a bigger concern to me.

I’ve watched every season from the very first show. I saw the Kelly Monaco John O’Hurley dance-off after the first season… I saw Cristian de la Fuente break his arm dancing with Cheryl… I saw Marie Osmond PASS OUT! I even saw Kirstie Alley damn near break Maks’ leg sitting on him cause she was back on the fat train. I’ve seen it all and I’m not sure I needed to see some of it.

The dancing is great, but, what I liked about the show as well was how the stars were basically has-beens in the beginning. They were low-level public people who allowed us, the viewers, to focus on the process of them learning to dance. Not focus on their controversies. Now the focus is on their controversies.

The show has also skewed what constitutes a “star.” If the person has no defined skill or profession, they shouldn’t be on the show. Teenage mother = NO. Divorced mother of eight = NO. My sisters have a reality show where they do nothing; I also do nothing but I show up on their show regularly = NO! (But Rob K. did rise to the occasion)

Football Player = yes. Singer, dancer, actor = yes. Pamela Anderson = YES! (I don’t like her otherwise, but, I loved her on DWTS)

The show’s producers need to be more particular about the cast. I think when those controversies came along and the producers saw ratings jumps, the greedy TV executive in them took over in a bad way. The integrity of the show should still be priority one.

I think things like this have contributed to the loss of viewers. I know I’ve spoken to lots of people who have either stopped watching the show all together, or, now watch intermittently. Even as a die-hard viewer, there were two seasons that I stopped watching at a certain point because it stopped looking like a quality product. As a former TV person, I understand the push for ratings, but, this is where we need to tap into our innate creativity.

Things I’ve liked about the show: One season, they had all of the stars dance a latin round and a ballroom round with no one voted off the first week. They should bring that back. The instant dance is a cool idea, but, don’t beat it to death. The team dances are always fun as well and so are the dance relays. Making all the couples dance the same dance on the same night is also a good way to compare.

Things I don’t like about the show: The dance marathons suck. Don’t like them. I also have always had an issue with the freestyle dance being judged. Why are the judges – judging a person’s freedom of expression? Shouldn’t the viewers have the ultimate say about the freedom of expression? Shouldn’t the judges be there to judge based on professional latin and ballroom dances – technique and performance only?

And I need to put on blast the viewers who are voting for the pro dancers instead of the stars. We know that’s happening. Stop it.

The Final should consist of the following:

Day One: The couple should be required to re-dance their lowest scoring dance and the judges should score them. Then they should be able to dance their freestyle with the judges offering comments, but, not scores.

Day Two: The couple should be able to pick the dance they liked the best and dance it again. Then they should dance a judges choice. Both of these dances should be scored to round out the scores to determine the winner. Day two should be a day for the couples to relax into the dances and just have a good time.

So, no tears for DWTS. I’ll keep watching the show until they bring on people I can’t watch or completely turn it into a soap opera. Maybe the producers figure since the daytime soap opera is dying, they need to fill that void? Hint: They’re dying for a reason… Keep your heads held high DWTS – Quality is the real winner.