Dancing boo footage shows the judges thought they were being booed, but that’s it

Dancing with the Stars tried to put an end to what’s being annoyingly called “Boo-Gate” by showing footage of the apparently random audience boos from last night’s episode, which the show’s producers and host have been insisting were not at all about Sarah Palin, but instead were dissatisfaction with the evening’s highest scores.

Brooke Burke introduced this by interviewing Derek Hough and Jennifer Grey, and dismissively said that “the press reported that they were booing for Sarah Palin,” to which Jennifer Grey said a dramatic “no.” Brooke then introduced footage that “never intended to air, so it’s raw and unedited, but I think it’s going to show us what actually happened.”

First, Brooke, most of your footage is raw and unedited: Your show is live. Second, I don’t understand why the footage they showed is so damn grainy. They shoot in high definition, and air live. How did the footage get shittier in 24 hours? Obviously, there’s some technical thing I don’t understand.

Anyway, the footage, from the camera that is focused on the judges’ table alone, showed that, almost immediately after the judges revealed their scores, some in the audience began booing. However, the audience’s cheers for those scores is at first louder, and the booing builds. Simultaneously, Tom Bergeron is crossing the stage and a camera is being positioned in front of Sarah Palin for the interview segment.

Bruno says, “They’re booing an eight.” Carrie Ann Inaba says, “That’s a good score. They’re booing us!” Bruno then screams at the audience, “What’s a matter you?” Carrie Ann looks over toward Tom and Sarah Palin, and says, “They’re yelling at us.”

Now, I don’t want to be one of those people who demonstrates confirmation bias and only sees validation of his or her own beliefs in everything. But it seems to me that the only thing this footage confirms is that the judges were convinced that the booing was about them, in addition to showing that Brooke Burke is almost as terrible an actress as she is a co-host (“Seems to me that the audience was booing because they thought you deserved higher scores,” she said awkwardly.)

Since the scores were the highest of the night–and, let’s not forget, actually cheered all the way through the scoring itself–the booing isn’t obviously about the scores. It may be; perhaps there were some disappointed audience members who only decided to protest once they heard other people indicate they were happy with the scores. But that seems weird.

Perhaps some audience members were reacting to something else entirely, such as the clear set-up for Sarah Palin’s impending interview. Of course, some in the audience also cheered and clapped at the start of her interview, and the booing stopped then.

At the very least, this isn’t as obvious as ABC would like us to believe. Here’s that part from last night’s episode:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.