Why Simone Biles Didn’t Win “Dancing With the Stars” Even Though She Should’ve

By | May 16, 2017

People are funny. They are “shocked” Simone Biles didn’t make the “Dancing with the Stars” Finale over lesser dancers like David Ross. The judges “couldn’t believe it” after they had judged her harshly. The host couldn’t believe it after he had told her to smile more just last week. And the media write-ups keep using the words “shocking” elimination without a single mention in any of the articles that only one black woman has won DWTS in 24 seasons, and it was “the chubby girl from ‘Glee'” Amber Riley, someone DWTS’s largely white female viewership doesn’t have to feel threatened by. Here’s why wasn’t surprised she got sent home early even though she shouldn’t have been…

The Dancing with the Stars viewers are majority white women. And while they may vote for attractive black men sometimes, they have routinely, without exception, snubbed “sexy” black female dancers who were each supposed to win their respective seasons like Mel B, Mya, Zendaya, and poor Brandy who didn’t even make it to the finale. Then there’s countless others like Toni Braxton who’ve been sent home early over the years in “shockers” not that different from Simone’s premature ouster. The common-thread: although Amber Riley is someone just plus-size enough to be non-threatening to most of the white women who watch DWTS, the sexier black women who’ve competed have never won before. Now that may change with Normani Kordei in next week’s finale but that will be largely because of 5th Harmony’s rabid fan base who are not exactly the typical “Dancing” viewer, and also because of weak competition coming from Rashad Jennings and especially David Ross, who should’ve went home weeks ago if not for “Dancing” viewers. Oh, and don’t give me any B.S. that Cubs fans put David to the finale, can you really picture enough of them watching “Dancing” to block vote him in? These were the regular “Dancing” viewers/voters that have picked Donny Osmond over Mya in seasons past (in another “shocker”).

Simone’s Partner Sasha. Even Simone’s partner Sasha seemed to know this “white woman voter problem” might be a problem as he often went out of his way to kiss his white girlfriend—partnered with Rashad Jennings—apropos of nothing, just to make it clear there’s no genuine heat between he and Simone, God forbid. In the clip packages, we usually saw Sasha berating Simone for not being emotional enough, and the judges seemed to focus on her lack of connection with him, but anyone who’s seen Simone’s floor routines knows it’s not a big problem for her to show emotion while performing, and I might question how much heat Sasha really generated on his end.

Julianne Hough’s judging or guest judges like Mandy Moore. Is there any way we can put Julianne Hough on a bus back to Utah? I’m sure there’s someone at the local Tabernacle choir who needs a sister wife to choreograph the latest moves. It was very obvious she didn’t like Simone, and has routinely given her mixed-comments even when forced to give her a high score because of a technically flawless dance. And guest judges like Mandy Moore (“you’re not showing enough emotion”) were no better, and I think it’s because…

Simone’s blackness isn’t a handicap in any way. This may sound confusing but hear me out: what were the judges (especially the female ones) always getting on to Simone for? “We don’t feel like we really know you.” This sounded odd considering Simone opened up about her adoption, gynmastics failures, and self-doubt, but what they were really saying was this: she never really mentioned race. And I feel like that sometimes makes “well-meaning” non-black liberals uncomfortable because they can’t feel bad for her “racial struggles” which is another of saying being black is not always a struggle. It’s no surprise that Julianne Hough—who doesn’t see race when she needs to wear blackface to a Halloween party—practically creamed herself over Normani’s slavery and racist cyber-bullying inspired dance a couple weeks back. It let’s people feel like they’re on the “right side” by not having been a racist asshole to Normani online, and more than that it also makes people feel good about giving her high scores or votes like it’s “charity” that’s owed more than something she deserved through hard work (which she did). By Simone not opening up about her “struggles” and being giggly and buoyant and dancing circles around the competition by practically flying, she may as well be saying that being black can be just as joyful and unburdensome as being white, and she’s here because she earned it, not because you’re “allowing” her to be there through open-mindedness. Which is at least part of why the judges were confused she didn’t kiss their ass after lukewarm praise like…

“Smiling Doesn’t Win Gold Medals.” Even though Simone’s classic retort to Tom’s clumsy question of why doesn’t she smile when the judges are giving her mixed reviews (usually followed by lesser scores than she deserved) went viral, I seriously doubt it didn’t cost her some votes. Especially because the white women that vote for “Dancing” have been looking for a reason to deny her the entire time, as evidenced by their mildly disgusted reactions whenever “Dancing” panned out to the audience during one of Simone’s sexier performances.

I do hope Normani wins and becomes only the second black female winner in all of “Dancing With the Stars” history, but to me it won’t quite mean as much as if Simone had won. True, I do think she’s a better dancer–she practically can fly–but it also would’ve been a more direct challenge to how black women are thought of and what they’re “allowed” to do or act.

One thought on “Why Simone Biles Didn’t Win “Dancing With the Stars” Even Though She Should’ve

  1. Tammy

    Great review. You should write for the entertainment business.
    You are WAY better than some of those uptight a holes.

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