Spoilers ahead for the October 21 episode of Dancing with the Stars Season 28.
Dancing with the Stars always brings in a cast of celebrity dancers with varying levels of dance skill, and Season 28 is no exception. While there are stars who have a natural edge -- including, for example, Bachelorette Hannah Brown who used dance as her talent on the pageant circuit -- others come in at a disadvantage, such as athlete Ray Lewis and of course former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Judges are known to give points for effort based on the different levels of natural talent, but after the latest Season 28 elimination, I say the time for effort points has passed.
After nobody was eliminated on the most magical night of Dancing with the Stars, one couple was doomed to get the axe on October 21, and the judges were visibly shocked when the bottom two celebrity dancers were model Sailor Brinkley-Cook and singer Ally Brooke. With a score of 27/30, Sailor was one of the top dancers of the night, and Ally was tied with or above three of nine couples with her 25/30.
Sailor and Ally were both in tears while waiting to hear the news, and I'm guessing plenty of viewers were as well after Lauren Alaina closed out the night of performances with an emotional dance to a song she wrote as a tribute to her late stepfather, with the episode airing on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli both clearly weren't happy to have to send Sailor or Ally home, but both voted for Ally to stay, meaning that head judge Len Goodman didn't have to break a tie. Sailor was devastated at being cut -- which is perfectly understandable, especially given the circumstances that brought her to Dancing with the Stars in the first place -- and still being comforted when the credits began to roll. So, why did this elimination convince me that the time for effort points was passed?
Sean Spicer's 21/30 Viennese waltz to Queen's "Somebody to Love" was the deciding factor. Spicer didn't trip over his own feet or step on partner Lindsay Arnold's toes or even wear another fluorescent shirt, but he was visibly subpar to the other dancers of the night. To be fair, his score did reflect that, as his 21/30 was a full three points below the second lowest score of the night, which surprisingly belonged to Hannah and Alan Bersten.
The break for me came when the visibly unenthused judges doled out their 7s each, with Bruno finally stating that he was giving Sean Spicer the 7 "for effort." The rest of the episode showed the other celeb dancers putting in a great deal of effort of their own, with the result being some fantastic dances. Sailor's number was actually one of my favorites of the night.
Sean Spicer's dance was perfectly adequate to get by in the earlier weeks of the season, but Kel Mitchell was being pelted with dodgeballs to prepare for his quickstep with Witney Carson and James van der Beek had strings attached to his hips to be yanked around and kicked by Emma Slater for his Samba, and none of the judges felt the need to disclaim that they were inflating points for effort.
All of the celebrities are trying their hardest at this point, but DWTS doesn't hand out the mirrorball trophy for the best effort. There are already questions about whether the voting for Season 28 is fair; not judging everybody on the same scale leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Viewers are going to vote for who they want to vote for no matter what number the judges give, so the judges should judge based on merit. Honestly, if the judges start giving Sean Spicer lower scores, the audience might rally around him and vote for him in droves.