Did DeMarcus Ware get screwed over by the judges on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

For the second time in three weeks, DeMarcus Ware and Lindsay Arnold closed out the show on Monday’s “Dancing with the Stars” — and this one was a doozy. The pair delivered a dazzling Argentine tango, and after the judges awarded the first perfect 30 to Juan Pablo Di Pace and Cheryl Burke earlier in the night, it seemed like maybe a second 30 was incoming. But nope, they scored a 26. So what gives?

First of all, not to sound like a broken record, but we shouldn’t be seeing perfect scores in Week 3. It’s way too early, you don’t give room for improvement, and no one is “perfect” (yes, we know it’s all subjective) that early. Not even Kristi Yamaguchi, who was the first person to get a 27 in Week 1 in Season 6, got a perfect 30 until Week 6, which is usually when the 30s are given. Di Pace’s samba was fantastic, but far from transcendent; he could’ve attacked it a lot more and there’s just something about his personality that’s not connecting with his dances yet. Maybe he got extra points for acing the samba rolls, the toughest move in one of the hardest dances. Whatever the case, the judges were feeling generous and he got a 30.

SEE Why the hell did the judges bust out a perfect score so early on ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

Ware’s Argentine tango was just as great, if not better, than Di Pace’s samba. Arnold choreographed to the former linebacker’s strengths, and we were treated to some jaw-dropping lifts. It was intense, intimidating, and as Carrie Ann Inaba pointed out, it felt like a paso doble at times (paso tango?). If that’s why she only gave him a 9, that’s valid, but she didn’t say that in a negative way, clarifying that she felt the tone fit with the story he was telling.

Bruno Tonioli also awarded him a 9, but Len Goodman gave him an 8, which was unnecessarily low. If Di Pace could swing three 10s — and that routine was the standard of dancing they wanted for the night — Ware should’ve at least pulled three 9s. (Let’s be clear that it also would’ve been ridiculous if they gave out two 30s in Week 3.) Perhaps Ware is killing it in the fan votes, so they want to level the playing field a bit. (Conversely, they might be inflating Di Pace’s scores because of the lack of fan votes.) Given football players’ excellent track records on the show, they might also want to downplay how good he is, lest fans complain about yet another NFLer winning.

But if this underscoring continues, Ware could be this season’s Charlie White or Ralph Macchio: consistently good dancers the judges are harsher on and/or lowball in scores. Unlike them, Ware is already established as one of the top-tier contenders and is a football player, so he’ll likely make the final no matter what, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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