After tonight’s SYTYCD elimination, I went over to Television Without Pity’s forums, mostly because I am a masochist. In between the usual ranting about how Philipchbeeb is ruining the show for them and so forth, I also found the usual bevy of conspiracy theories. Melissa is older than 30 because she has lines on her face! They are manipulating the Bottom Three couples so that people’s votes don’t matter! And so forth. (These complaints are always trotted out for American Idol as well, but I don’t care about Idol so I can let them go.)
I would just like to make it clear: these people are full of crap. I mean, they are full of crap on the level of the guy at that party who tells you that Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC because they weren’t legally allowed to call it “chicken” any more, because they invented centipede-chickens with ten drumsticks apiece. They are graduates of the School Of Somebody Told Me.
How do I know they are full of crap? Because 19 Entertainment and Fox have created a happy fun television show that A) invites contestants to compete for a large cash prize, and B) invites the public to vote, at cost, to determine winners. In the case of both groups, the contestants, the show is therefore responsible to them to present the rules of the show publicly and openly, and to abide by those rules. Were the producers to not do this, then they would be liable to both groups; any contestants who felt slighted would be able to sue for the “loss of a chance,” which is well-established in contract law as potential grounds for a suit. There would similarly be grounds for a class action lawsuit on the public’s behalf.
This is why every episode ends with a disclaimer in small print admitting that the show’s producers might just possibly monkey around with partner selection and dance selection as they see fit. (I snark about non-random dance selection as much as anybody else, but if they say the dances are randomly assigned, they’re either assigning them purely randomly, or assigning them randomly and then offering a “trade” option of some sort that the dancers can take advantage of if they wish, or something along those lines.) It’s all about liability.
Seriously, it’s a multimillion dollar television franchise. They’re not gonna kill the cash cow with something that stupid.