Midseason Report Card: Does ‘Dancing with the Stars’ season 21 earn a perfect score?

If you look at the ratings for “Dancing with the Stars” this fall, you think that ABC has to be feeling pretty darn good about themselves. This show is now more than a decade old, but it continues to be one of the network’s most-watched shows. Also, the demo ratings are strong, and while you may complain here and there about the lack of big names in the cast, few people ever seem to be that upset about them at the time in which the season ends.

So while the numbers were good and we feel like Bindi Irwin is a satisfying winner, was the path to get there as fantastic? That’s what we want to comb through in the latest chapter of our Midseason Report Card series.

What worked – We have to start with Tom Bergeron, otherwise known as the best live TV host in the business. He’s so quick, classy, and perfect in this role. Erin Andrews is from our vantage point the best co-host the show has ever had, but it’s really a thankless job since Tom gets to do most of the good stuff.

Performance-wise, we had a lot of likable people on this season, and some of the themes worked out well. We enjoyed classic TV week, and our favorite was Hometown Glory, a rare opportunity to learn more about not just where some of the Stars are from, but also the pros. As we mentioned, Bindi was a great winner, but we think that really Nick Carter and Alek Skarlatos also delivered when it comes to being likable, interesting people you wanted to root for. There weren’t really any casting duds at the end of the season.

What didn’t – The show probably does need to a better job in the future of establishing clarity on what the rules are. While we knew about the rule that sent Kim Zolciak home, compared to the one that let Tamar Braxton be scored using rehearsal footage (it’s really our job to know), it may have been confusing to others. Also, the show could get in touch a little more with its ballroom roots, which is why we’re glad that it is coming back.

As far as casting, we’d say that this season we really didn’t get much out of the early exits other than maybe Kim and Gary Busey, who was probably really polarizing to some out there.

Overall – We will give “Dancing with the Stars” a little bit of credit here since we think that they did a pretty good job with this season. There were some magical dances, and at this point we’ve come to love the pros so much that we don’t even care as much who the Stars are. Grade: B.

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