Season 27 of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” has been airing for six weeks. And so far, only female contestants have been sent home.
First, comedian Nikki Glaser. Then Paralympic skier Danelle Umstead. Then actress Nancy McKeon. Then R&B singer Tinashe. Last week, Olympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton said goodbye.
The only women left are model Alexis Ren and actress Evanna Lynch. Plus, there’s the six men: former NFL star DeMarcus Ware, country radio host Bobby Bones, “The Bachelorette” alum Joe Amabile and actors Milo Manheim, Juan Pablo Di Pace and John Schneider.
So, what’s going on? And will the streak continue on Monday night’s episode?
It’s the only time in the show’s history that five contestants of the same gender have gone home first. Usually, it’s much more evenly split in the beginning of the competition. The closest comparison was Season 23 in 2016, when the first four eliminated dancers were men: Jake T. Austin, Rick Perry, Babyface and Vanilla Ice.
This season, viewers have noticed the imbalance:
It’s especially notable because, as the judges’ scores show, some of the female dancers were much more technically proficient. Amabile has been ranked the worst every week except for last Monday, when Schneider got the lowest scores. The biggest outcry was after the exit of Tinashe, a talented dancer who consistently received great scores from the judges.
However, as you might know, DWTS eliminations are a mix of judges’ scores and viewer votes. And the latter is critical.
That’s certainly the case with Amabile, a grocery store owner from Chicago who appeared on “The Bachelorette” this summer. Becca Kufrin sent him home the first night, but his handsome looks and Midwestern charm made him an Internet sensation known as “Grocery Store Joe.” Viewers were further endeared to him on “Bachelor in Paradise.” Many upset people on social media have blamed “Bachelor” franchise fans for voting for Amabile when he’s by far the weakest dancer.
While Bachelor Nation might be burning up the DWTS phone lines, the show is skewed toward older viewers — which could explain the votes for Schneider, one of the stars of the 1980s comedy “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Ware, who started off strong, has that big Dallas Cowboys fandom. And athletes, especially football players, are known to go quite far on this show.
Bones has also been ranked consistently in the middle or the lower end of the scoreboard. But he hosts a radio show broadcast to millions every day and has a legion of fiercely loyal fans. He could also easily win the award for most improved dancer, and the show always loves an underdog.
In an interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” Bones called it “crap” that only women have been eliminated so far, and his dance partner Sharna Burgess agreed: “I don’t think that that’s fair, necessarily.”
“I don't understand how that happened,” Burgess said. “That's a massive coincidence that it's been all the women that went home.”
Coincidence or not, there’s no doubt that producers are hoping the streak ends soon. As GoldDerby wrote, the show is pushing “showmance” rumors between Ren and her dance partner, Alan Bersten — a time-honored tradition when producers want to fuel interest in a certain couple. Lynch, meanwhile, has a big fan base from her days in the “Harry Potter” franchise, and picked up steam with a near-perfect score last week.
Although Di Pace and Manheim, two of the strongest dancers, have an excellent chance of making it to the finale, many fans are hoping at least one woman will be in the final three. Out of 27 seasons, there has only been one in which the final contestants were all male: Season 3 in 2006, with Emmitt Smith, Mario Lopez and Joey Lawrence.
However, there has been an all-female final three twice before: In Season 15 in 2012, with Melissa Rycroft, Shawn Johnson and Kelly Monaco; and Season 18 in 2014, with Meryl Davis, Amy Purdy and Candace Cameron Bure.