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DWTS Season 17, The Finale Stats of the Week

Nov 27, 2013
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Amber Riley is your Fall 2013 Mirrorball Champion! Huzzah!!  I see two statistical storylines here.

First, if you’re like me though, you’re probably thinking that it’s time for Derek Hough to retire and give someone else a chance, right? I mean, the guy is DOMINANT … or at least he feels dominant, right? It’s fitting to look at his statistical accomplishments and see what the objective data tells us.

Second, to the naked eye, it seems that Amber was not the better dancer. Corbin Bleu was absolutely able to execute dance moves with more precision and skill than Amber. She won because America voted her in, right? I’ll confirm or deny this statistically. I will also revisit an old Stat of the Week and update where we are on the “Does the Best Dancer Always Win?”-o-Meter.

Storyline #1: Derek Hough as Terminator

pros chart

So yeah, it’s time for Derek to retire.

He’s taken his partners (Brooke Burke-Charvet, Nicole Sherzinger, Jennifer Grey, Ricki Lake, All Star Shawn Johnson, Kellie Pickler, Amber Riley) to the finals well over half the time and once he’s there, it’s just less than a 50/50 chance that his partner’s taking it all (Burke-Charvet, Sherzinger, Grey, Pickler and now Riley).

What was half surprising to me is that Cheryl Burke is almost as dominant as Hough when it comes to taking her partners to the finals (even with a moderately bigger sample size). Everyone remembers how she came roaring out of the gate with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith, but since then, she’s become the accent whisperer, taking Cristian de la Fuenta, Gilles Marini, William Levy and Jack Osbourne to the finals. And don’t forget the minor miracle that was Rob Kardashian.

Still, apparently, no one remembers second place. It’s Hough that sticks in our minds as the dominant one while everyone else is just trying to keep up.

Storyline #2: Did the best dancer win?

According to the average scores … YES! Didn’t see that coming, did you?  Well, it’s a relatively new development.

amber v corbin

In the past two weeks, Amber has whipped off a string of 30’s while Corbin has been fighting against what the judges have played off as “you did this great, but you could have done it even a little better.” I guess he beat himself? I’m glad Corbin didn’t win. Rooting for Corbin this year was like rooting for the Yankees or the Miami Heat. But if we’re being objective here, there’s no way Amber is the better dancer.

With that in mind, let’s update the chart I did earlier this year wondering if the best dancer always wins. Well, it’s EXACTLY even now. The best dancer wins half the time.  Unless you think Corbin was a better dancer than Amber.

pros chart

Until next time, Stat Nerds!  Watch out for Cast Predictions in the spring!

Business nerd, improviser, pop-culture-phile, global citizen, not necessarily in that order.

  • Chad Woodward

    Thank you for the wonderful analysis. This has definitely added to my overall enjoyment of DWTS this season.

    • Kat G

      Thanks Chad! Can’t wait for next season.

  • Jennifer

    Why am I just now finding this site??? Love your analysis!

    • Kat G

      Thank you Jennifer! I’ll pick things back up in February with cast predictions. That’s a whole other data set! :)