BY LIBBY HILL
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.”
That’s what Simone Biles taught the world on last week’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars.” This week, the Olympic gold medalist learned that perfection doesn’t win you mirror-ball trophies.
Biles was eliminated from Monday night’s episode of “DWTS,” failing to make it to the season finale, despite earning perfect judges’ scores on both of her dances.
How could this happen? Pretty easily, it turns out.
While the judges’ points matter, they don’t matter as much as you might think. And don’t underestimate the audience’s votes. Here’s how it works:
Each of the four remaining contestants — Biles, former baseball player David Ross, Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei and NFL running back Rashad Jennings — were judged on their two dances and given numeric scores.
•Biles: Jive 40/40, rumba 40/40, total 80
•Jennings: Rumba 38, quickstep, 39, total 77
•Kordei: Waltz 36; jazz, 40, total 76
•Ross: Foxtrot 34, tango 36, total 70
The totals were then used to calculate the overall percentage of the judges’ points each couple earned. (Confused yet?) Since the judges awarded 303 points total Monday night, the breakdown looked like this:
•Biles: 80/303 = 26.4 percent
•Jennings: 77/303 = 25.4 percent
•Kordei: 76/303 = 25.1 percent
•Ross: 70/303 = 23.1 percent
Those percentages are then added to the percentage of overall North American votes each contestant receives. If those votes had broken evenly, then it would be Biles, Jennings and Kordei moving to next week’s finals.
‘Smile retort turnoff?
Since Biles dropped from first to last with the addition of audience votes, that means that Ross earned more than 3 percent more of the viewer votes than the Olympian.
So what caused “DWTS” fans to turn on Biles?
It’s possible that last week’s “smile” exchange — during which host Tom Bergeron interjected during Biles’ judging, “I was waiting for you to smile at some of the compliments, you didn’t” followed by Biles’ tart retort — left a bad taste in viewers’ mouths.
Telling a woman to smile is treacherous territory, but perhaps some in the “DWTS” audience were put off by Biles’ refusal to embrace Bergeron’s critique.
The final performances of the season air on ABC next Monday, with the winner being announced the following night, May 23.