‘Dancing with the Stars’ poll: Are judges being unfair to Rumer Willis?

You can win $100 every week predicting who will get the high score, low score, and who will be eliminated on “Dancing With the Stars.” Since a big part of whether you win our contest is determined by how the judges rate the contestants in each episode, I can’t help but wonder, why have they been so hard on Rumer Willis?

Do you think they’ve been scoring her too harshly in recent weeks? Vote in our poll below.

‘DWTS’ recap: Nastia Liukin rebounds, but night ends with huge outrage

I, for one, think Willis’s scores have been too low for the last two weeks, and I believe it’s because the judges are grading her on a different curve. It was clear for weeks that there were four standouts in the competition; Nastia Liukin, Riker Lynch, Willow Shields and Willis consistently danced circles around their rivals, dominating the top slots on the leaderboard.

The judges noticed, so they’ve held those stars to a higher standard, giving detailed critiques about their dance quality and scoring them rigorously based on their abilities, while contestants Chris Soules and Robert Herjavec, who haven’t shown quite as much natural aptitude as dancers, are praised when they show improvement.

Military veteran Noah Galloway has his own unique challenges as a double-amputee. Should he be judged by the same standards, or commended for the effort and creativity required for him just to compete? To date, the judges have walked a fine line, never giving him the top score but never putting him on the bottom of the leaderboard either.

But how do those different judging standards affect the scores? Consider the “Spring Break Special,” when Willis polarized the judges and Soules unexpectedly improved. The result: Willis scored 32 and Soules scored 31. Both received 8s from Carrie Ann Inaba, while Julianne Hough actually gave Soules a higher score (8, compared to 7 for Willis). Did they really think the two dancers were in the same league, or did they simply rate him more generously as a reward for his effort?

On “Eras Night,” Willis was ranked fifth (third from the bottom) for a jive routine that the judges considered competent but unambitious. She scored one point lower than Galloway, who actually got a perfect 10 from Inaba. After their dance-off performances were factored in, Willis ended up tying Lynch, but Galloway pulled ahead of both of them.

Of course, those scores also factor into who is eliminated each week, which makes them even more important to consider when making your predictions here at Gold Derby. When Willow Shields was sent home on Monday night, it signaled that no one is safe, so if the judges hold some dancers to a higher standard than others, it can drastically affect the results. Would Shields have been sent home, for instance, if Soules hadn’t scored so high during the “Spring Break Special”?

There’s a double elimination next week. If Lynch and Willis are both sent home instead of bottom-scoring Soules and Herjavec, will the judges deserve part of the blame? Only one bottom scoring contestant has been sent home all season (Redfoo at the beginning of the season), so if that happens next week, the judges’ can’t claim to be caught unawares.

Liukin, who topped the leaderboard for the third time on “Eras Night,” once again leads our predictions to get the highest score, with 21/20 odds and support from 49% of users. And despite her recent run of bad luck, Willis is second with 10/3 odds based on support from 23% of users.

Radzie and Ryan Lapierre, our two best users predicting this season of “DWTS” so far, both agree Willis will come out on top again.

Meanwhile, 49% of users say Soules will be return to the bottom of the leaderboard for the fourth time, giving him 21/20 odds. 39% say the low scorer will be Herjavec (8/5 odds). Lapierre agrees that it will be Soules, but Radzie is going out on a limb saying Galloway will be the bottom dancer for the first time.

Do you agree with our racetrack odds? Vote in our poll below, then make or update your predictions below by dragging contestants from left to right in the order of their likelihood of getting the high score. If you think Willis will get back in the judges’ good graces, make sure to put her in first place. You can continue to update and change your predictions throughout the week until 5 p.m. PT each Monday. Just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.

But remember that coming out on top doesn’t just mean answering the week’s questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (one of 500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a long shot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points. As we use those point totals to break ties when more than one user tops our leaderboard with the same number of correct answers, don’t take them for granted.

And since you’ve got two chances to be right about next week’s elimination, your chance to score big points and win our weekly contest is even better, so don’t wait!

Dancing with the Stars’ predictions: Can anyone outscore the dominant top four?

To enter your predictions for each question we ask (high and low score each week, elimination, ultimate winner), make sure you are logged into your Gold Derby account or register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google.

After logging in, click on the “Predictions” button found at the top-right of every page. That will bring you to a list of every event currently being predicted at Gold Derby.

We are forecasting everything from the results on reality TV shows like “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” to the winners of Tony Awards and both Daytime and Primetime Emmys. 

Click on any box to bring up that event, then scroll down to start making your predictions.

For each TV show, cast your votes on several different questions relating to the upcoming episode. And remember to place your 500 and 200-point bets wisely. 

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