Splash’s awful judges get all the power in order to get rid of Louie Anderson

Last week, I argued that Splash‘s judges are terrible, perhaps the worst ever. This week, the show gave its two judges all the power, depriving the studio audience of ability to score the contestants and affect the results.

This seemed like a really transparent way of eliminating Louie Anderson, who was, in fact, eliminated from the competition.

What other reasons would there be for breaking the rules and bailing on the format, never mind for host Joey Lawrence to spell out exactly the score the judges needed to give Louie in order to get rid of him?

Although Louie’s average score from awful judges David Boudia and Steve Foley was .25 lower than Katherine Webb’s, the audience vote would easily have saved him. No offense to Katherine, but the audience loved Louie, and for good reason.

Louie was one of the best parts of the competition: Yes, his dives were barely dives, because they basically consisted of him falling off the diving platform. More significantly, though, was that, despite being 60 and weighing more than 400 pounds, he kept trying and working hard, joking all the time.

The comedian was both hilarious and, surprisingly, inspirational. As he was eliminated, he said, “This is my first step into a brand-new life.”

Why would the show want to get rid of him? Perhaps it wanted to evolve into a more serious competition; the bad but entertaining dancers tend to go home relatively early on Dancing with the Stars, leaving the rest to prove and improve on their dancing, giving the show some credibility. Or perhaps it’s reached the point where Louie’s physical limitations make training him too challenging, especially for whatever types of dives are coming soon. Perhaps the judges lobbied for more power in order to prove how seriously shitty they are at their jobs.

Or perhaps I’m just trying to find a reason for an odd rule change that resulted in my favorite competitor’s elimination.

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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.