Did Dancing With The Stars Do Joseph Baena Dirty In The Latest Episode?

Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach in Dancing With The Stars
(Image credit: Disney+)

Warning! The following contains spoilers for Dancing With The Stars Season 31’s “Prom Night.” Read at your own risk!

Dancing With The Stars had its “Prom Night” in the latest episode, and as is the case with most proms, someone left with their heart broken. Actor Joseph Baena and pro dancer Daniella Karagach ended up in the bottom two and despite a vote in their favor from judge Carrie Ann Inaba, ended up going home against reality star Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvintsev. On the heels of this elimination I have to ask: did Season 31 do Baena dirty? 

I should start by saying that I understand why Joseph Baena and Daniella Karagach were sent home over Heidi D’Amelio and Artem Chigvinstev. In fact, the latter couple had the fourth-highest combined score of the past two nights of Dancing With The Stars, so the fact that they were anywhere near the bottom two was a big shock. Baena never stood a chance at outlasting a top competitor like D'Amelio when it came down to the judges, so why wasn’t he there alongside someone closer to his skill level? 

That’s the question that fans will likely be asking for the rest of this week, as many wondered why Joseph Baena was up against Heidi D’Amelio when there were so many competitors with lower scores. Reality star Vinny Guadagnino and Koko Iwasaki are fresh off their third week as the lowest-scoring performers in Dancing With The Stars Season 31, and yet they haven’t even hit the bottom two yet (and Pasha Pashkov is watching from home). The same can be said for country singer Jessie James Decker and Alan Bersten, who would be low in the standings by a decent margin had she not won the marathon dance competition. 

The truth of the matter is that those are just a few of the remaining contestants that Joseph Baena might’ve bested in the judges' vote, and yet, none of them were there in the end. Fans like to blame the show and the judges for these eliminations, but the reality we must acknowledge is that anyone with a Disney+ subscription bears a bit of responsibility for this as well. After all, the audience vote factors into the point totals and determines which competitors are safe, and apparently, Baena just didn’t have enough to escape a very unlucky elimination week. 

At the same time, I could advocate that Dancing With The Stars’ judges should’ve moved to save Joseph Baena before Heidi D’Amelio. He’s come a long way since his first performance in Week 1, and I’d argue his ceiling in the competition to impress the judges is higher than Heidi D’Amelio. (I for one really enjoyed his Hercules dance). D’Amelio is talented, but whether or not she has what it takes to conquer the top three competitors is an entirely different story. Conversely, it feels like Baena still had a lot to give, so I definitely think the judges did him dirty not allowing him another chance to advance in the competition. 

Dancing With The Stars streams on Disney+ (opens in new tab) on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Joseph Baena is this season’s first shocking elimination, and a double gut punch after Selma Blair’s goodbye the previous night. Who will be the next person to leave? We’ll just have to wait and see!

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.