‘Dancing with the Stars’ debate: Did the judges put too much pressure on Simone Biles? [WATCH]

“It’s unfortunate, but I feel that since the start of the season the judges have really put a lot of pressure on the female celebrities,” says Gold Derby contributor Cordell Martin about how the “Dancing with the Stars” judges have been especially strict in evaluating the female contestants, who came to the show with more dance experience than most of their male rivals. Perhaps those strict scores and critiques played a role in Simone Biles‘s surprise fourth-place elimination. Watch our video debate on that and more above.

Heather Morris and Normani Kordei had extensive dance backgrounds, while Biles and Nancy Kerrigan are Olympic athletes trained to move their bodies gracefully. The judges expected a lot from them, and Cordell feels the intense scrutiny “took the joy out of the show for them.” The stricter scores from the judges might also have taken them out of the show, benefiting a less proficient dancer like baseball player David Ross, who was able to ride a wave of viewer support against celebs who consistently scored higher. Now Ross is in the finals along with Kordei and football player Rashad Jennings, while Biles, Morris and Kerrigan were all sent home earlier than anticipated.

The heightened expectations “played into how their stories were presented in the [clip] packages we got because if you look at the final three, rarely did you see any issues with them, drama with their partners, having a diva moment, or any meltdowns,” Cordell says, theorizing that “viewers were able to connect to [Kordei, Jennings and Ross] and support them, as opposed to the other contestants who may have felt they weren’t the best dancer or there was too much pressure on them.”

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