It’s Not FAIR: (or, Cheetahs Never Prosper)

by Kim Grams

OK, here’s the plan:

1) Finish my current picture book inspired by “Dancing with the Stars”;

2) Find an agent, who finds a publisher, who gives me a lovely advance and lots of publicity;

3) Get famous – just enough to be invited on “Dancing with the Stars”, but not enough to be annoying;

4) Go on Dancing with the Stars and get voted off first because a) I don’t have a gigantic fan base, b) I have Fibromyalgia which means my body often doesn’t cooperate with my brain, and c) I’ll probably be the worst dancer (see point b).

So, I’m voted off first. Would that be fair? Shouldn’t I get points for trying? Shouldn’t people vote for me because I have a disability? What if I’m bad, but I’m REALLY funny? Should people vote for me to see what hilarious thing I’ll do next? No, they shouldn’t. (Unless there’s actually someone who is worse than me, or someone who’s slightly better but really boring). Even though entertainment value factors in, it’s still a DANCE competition, and the best dancers should get the votes.

Which brings as to the just finished season and Sabrina, the Cheetah girl. She, in my and many other’s opinion, should have taken home the trophy – or at least given the others a run for their money in the finals. But that didn’t happen. She was unexpectedly, unexplainably voted off, halfway through the competition. It was shocking, and for the first time in my reality-show-with-voting history, something terribly unfair happened.

Now there have been other times when someone didn’t make it as far as many thought they should. Looking at American Idol, there are examples like Chris Daughtry and Melinda Doolittle. But at least, in those cases, I can see some reason behind their ousting. Chris was maybe too “rock” for the Idol crowd, and Melinda may have skewed too old for younger voters. For Daughtry, being voted out a bit earlier actually seemed to have helped his credibility in the non-Idol, rock community.

But, what about Sabrina? I can’t think of any reason whatsoever for this very unfair development. She’s young, she’s hot, and she’s on the Disney Channel. She’s good, not conceited about it, and did I mention really GOOD? She and her professional partner, Mark, were invited back to give a sneak peek of their live tour performance and she looked like a professional. How could she have been voted out so fast? Were too many of her voter’s out trick-R-treating on that fateful Monday night? Who is her fan base and where were they?

One thing that I suspected long before this season is that the voting system for Dancing with the Stars may be inaccurate. You get so many votes per phone line or email (plus the whole text messaging thing that I don’t know how to do – yes, I know, I’m archaic). Sometimes I can get my fair share of allowed votes, sometimes not. Sometimes I can vote from my cell phone, while other times I’m told I’ve reached the limit on my votes – even when I haven’t placed any yet. This gets even trickier if your family doesn’t all want to vote for the same person. I’m not the only one who has experienced glitches. Even on the last night, when they should expect a high volume of calls, they still only gave a half hour to vote; my family in Ohio got busy signals the whole time.

Even though I enjoyed the rest of the season, it felt tainted. It could’ve been perfect. That’s the cool thing about the TV world. It can be perfect. It can be any world you want it to be. But it’s really only an illusion. Our REAL perfect world is waiting for us in eternal life – and it was paid for with Jesus’ blood – not by your commercial sponsor. Sometimes, I’m so focused on everything going exactly right, right now, that I forget that. We all have many hopes and dreams for this life. Some of them will work out. Some of them won’t. No matter how imperfect or discouraging life sometimes seems, when God looks at us, He sees perfect, courtesy of Jesus Christ.

Good thing for me. If I had to depend on my ability to get a book deal or be on Dancing with the Stars for salvation, I’d be in big trouble. Sometimes life’s not fair – whether it’s a bum deal on a reality TV show, or something really unfair, like an unexpected health condition. It’s easy to loose sight of the prize. I have to remember to focus on the real prize (and I’m not talking about the mirrored trophy ball). It’s good to have dreams and goals. But whether we ultimately obtain them here on earth doesn’t really matter in the long run.

So unfair or not, I still like my reality vote-for-your-favorite shows. And I probably won’t be getting out my high-heels and sequin dress anytime soon. But for now, I’m gonna quit writing this article. I have a picture book to finish.

Kim Grams is a writer and pastor’s wife who lives in Scottsbluff, NE. A dancer and an avid reality TV viewer, she has also written So You Think You Can Dance? True Confessions of a Former Liturgical Dancer 

Created: December 17th, 2007