Splash’s judges and producers screw with us, get their lowest ratings yet

I’ve complained about Splash’s judging before, and I’m probably the only person who cares, but last night’s judging was so absurd that there is no way it was even close to serious, so the only logical conclusion I can come up with is that the judges and producers are just screwing with us and intentionally trying to get a reaction. It didn’t work, at least not in terms of ratings.

First, Louie Anderson, removed last week because of a one-week change in the rules, returned to the competition. What a surprise! The reason: Katherine Webb couldn’t continue due to an unspecified injury. It was odd that she didn’t mention what it was, but said the doctor said she couldn’t continue; it was also odd because Rory Bushfield’s doctor said he shouldn’t dive because of his ear injury, but he keeps doing it anyway. Perhaps they’re not comparable injuries.

This week all dives were from the 10-meter platform, and that’s no joke: it’s the equivalent of jumping off a three-story building. This is where Splash is both fun and amazing: it’s doing a good job of making a cheesy spectacle out of something that is serious and dangerous, which is probably frustrating for those who care about the sport but good for entertainment.

Louie jumped off it—literally, just jumped—and later said it was the bravest thing he’d ever done. No doubt there.

For that, impossibly stupid judges David Boudia and Steve Foley gave him a pair of 7s. For just jumping off. That’s fine, except then they gave Drake Bell 7.75 for doing an actual dive, and a ridiculously challenging one.

Next, Brandi Chastain did a complicated dive and got a 5, apparently because her entry wasn’t flawless. Later, Kareem Abdul Jabar received 7.25 for doing what appeared, to my untrained eye, to be pretty much the same thing that Brandi did, except she did a somersault.

What?

Obviously, this is of no consequence, and there’s not even money for charity on the line. But why bother with the charade of judging and scoring? Reinstating studio audience scoring this week after ignoring the audience last week makes that an even more transparent attempt at manipulating the results.

Whatever shenanigans are occurring behind the scenes, they actually don’t result in much drama. Louie Anderson’s withdrawal was not a surprise to anyone, and after bringing back the fan favorite for another dive/jump/fall made it seem like this was all a charade.

If this was a desperate appeal for ratings, it didn’t work; last night’s episode had the lowest ratings of the series so far—it lost easily to The Voice, Hell’s Kitchen, and even a repeat of NCIS. Also, it’s not like anyone’s going to get all worked up over a silly diving competition on ABC and write more than 400 words about it.

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