The new change of the judges deciding who goes home from the bottom two may be the only thing that prevents Sean Spicer from making it to the Finals. But he has yet to be under those lights, even though it seems like Dancing With the Stars made that elimination change specifically to stop DWTS from being a pure popularity contest.
Sean Spicer's status as a "star" came from being President Donald Trump's former White House Press Secretary. So politics was involved from day one (much to Tom Bergeron's dismay), just as it was for Bristol Palin. Bristol was billed on Dancing With the Stars as an "activist and author" but qualified as a "star" for being the daughter of former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
In both cases, the stars were not great dancers, but not the lowest-scoring dancers for several weeks. Stars with lower scores from the judges were eliminated one by one on Dancing With the Stars Season 11, but once Bristol Palin and Mark Palin started consistently getting the lowest scores, they still stuck around. It was a shock to fans when Brandy and Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated before the Finals and Bristol and Mark made it to the final three.
Bristol and Mark may have had plenty of backing from Dancing With the Stars fans who love to vote for underdogs or who always support popular pro Mark Ballas. But there was also a concerted effort from Sarah Palin and fellow conservatives to vote for Bristol Palin on DWTS.
Since Bristol Palin faced so much backlash -- starting when she was cast on the show and continuing when she stuck around as a bad dancer -- it created a self-sustaining movement to keep her around. It turned into a political showdown with people on the right seeing themselves as the scrappy underdogs sticking it to liberal Hollywood.
That seems to be the case again for Sean Spicer. He wasn't the lowest-scoring dancer until Lamar Odom was eliminated. But Sean and Lindsay Arnold -- or Sean and Jenna Johnson last week -- have been the lowest-scoring dancers for about five weeks now. He, too, is fielding support from the political sphere, with President Trump himself tweeting for people to vote for Spicer:
It's not clear how much that helped, since Sean Spicer was already getting a lot of support to keep him out of the bottom two. It's hard to imagine the judges wouldn't take the opportunity to remove the worst-performing dancer if Sean & Lindsay were ever in front of them. Not that the judges have been making decisions fans like this season. As usual, there's conflict.
I'm sure Sean Spicer didn't just make it this far from political support. He's probably also getting votes for being an underdog -- DWTS fans do love to watch a baby giraffe find its legs -- and for having a positive attitude. He's also dancing with the lovable Lindsay Arnold. Never underestimate the power of the pros to drive votes. That was part of why Bobby Bones won last season -- because fans wanted pro dancer Sharna Burgess to win. Lindsay is a bundle of energy and joy. She and Sean make for a positive pair in the ballroom, if not the most graceful team to watch.
Lindsay Arnold was out last week for the death of her mother-in-law, and she is out again in November 11's "Boy Band & Girl Group Night" for the final six couples. If fans are voting for the team of Sean and Lindsay, they may neglect to vote this week because she's out, although I would be surprised if that were the case. We'll know by tonight on that. If Sean continues into the Semifinals next week, it will most likely be with Lindsay again.
Since Dancing With the Stars Season 28 is currently down to the final six, there's less room to hide. Sean Spicer's odds of being in the bottom two keep going up, and if he does land there, that's where the rodeo will end. It's just a matter of the other five couples -- Lauren & Gleb, Ally & Sasha, Hannah & Alan, James & Emma, and Kel & Witney -- having strong enough scores and votes to keep them alive into the Semifinals.
Have you been voting for Sean & Lindsay on Dancing With the Stars? If so, why? If not, who are you voting for? Have you not been voting at all, due to the controversial voting changes favoring East Coast viewers?
Dancing With the Stars Season 28 continues Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.