The Wessex Wire

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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

“Dancing with the Stars”: popularity or dance contest?

Photo Obtained from IMDB
Season 32 “Dancing with the Stars” contestants Harry Jowsey and Rylee Arnold spark relationship rumors.

In season 32 of “Dancing With The Stars,” fans have generated rumors of Harry Jowsey and Rylee Arnold’s bond to be more than just a dancing duo, a relationship which may have affected the votes in their favor.  

All of the competitors on the show have been improving, but “Too Hot To Handle” star and social media influencer, Harry Jowsey, was consistently stuck at the bottom of the judges’ scores, falling far behind the rest of the contestants. 

Rylee Arnold is the newest pro in the “Dancing With The Stars” cast at just 18-years-old. She had a reputation to live up to since her older sister, Lindsey Arnold, was a previous professional for a successful 14 seasons.

While Rylee is extremely talented, the pair’s scores were not living up to that of her sister in previous years. Harry and Rylee have been performing very simple dances, and the low scores from all 3 judges showcase this. The elimination is based 50 percent on the judges’ scores and 50 percent on the audiences’ votes. With Harry and Rylee’s scores from the judges no higher than a seven each week while other contestants receive perfect scores, it’s safe to say an alarming number of people had been voting for them, and it’s certainly not based on their dancing. 

Harry lacks dancing capability and often seems to be a “tree trunk” for Rylee to “use and abuse,” said week eight guest judge, Billy Porter. Since Harry struggles to get into the groove of the movements, Rylee uses his strengths and incorporates lifts to spice up the choreography and distract the judges from his stiffness, often dancing around him while he stands still. The judges also suggested that Harry had a lot more to give and should be challenged. 

Harry gave a better and more interactive performance in dances where he could have fun. The public got a glimpse of Harry’s potential in the week seven group dance to “Gangnam Style,” which received a perfect score. 

Rylee needed to use this success to her advantage and enhanced Harry’s choreography and therefore his performance because the viewers couldn’t keep them in the competition for much longer. People worry the show is becoming too much of a popularity contest with couples like Lele Pons and Brandon Armstrong getting eliminated in week seven with amazing scores, but other couples like Harry and Rylee remaining in the competition.  

It’s easy to blame Harry and Rylee, as they kept so many more talented contestants from moving forward. However, Harry and Rylee have no direct influence over the eliminations; it’s simply up to the judges and the votes. The voting system would likely be more unbiased if it relied more heavily on judges’ scores, but this is not the case. Despite the negative comments about their performances, Harry and Rylee came back week after week trying to top their previous scores. It’s not easy being the underdog, but this couple had a leg up on the competition when it comes to traction.

Aside from their rehearsal time on the show, Rylee and Harry were constantly

posting on social media platforms and hanging out in their free time. “Dancing With The Star” fans have investigated Harry’s hand placement and their connection, claiming it to be more than friendly. TikToks have circulated of their dance to the song “August” on Taylor Night, focusing on the two almost kissing during the performance. Judges always commented on how their chemistry separates them from the other couples. Even after elimination, Harry spent Thanksgiving with Riley’s family and bought her a $15,000 Van Cleef bracelet, which was seen on both Harry and Rylee’s TikTok accounts.  

“Dancing With the Stars” is obviously about dancing, but it is also about how each team presents themselves on social media in order to gain more votes and stay in competition. Harry and Rylee didn’t directly start this rumor, but it certainly worked out in their favor as the pair continued to advance until week nine, even with their lack of talent. People have mixed emotions about this elimination, but it was impressive for this couple to be only two weeks away from the glorious Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy. Competition is simply competition, and Harry and Rylee were in it to win it.

Behind the Bylines
Dani Tiegel
Dani Tiegel, News & Features Editor
Danielle Tiegel, but you can call her Dani, is a News and Features Section Editor for the Wessex Wire. She does competitive dance and is a cheerleader for West Essex. When she is not at the dance studio, she is shopping, napping, or watching “Grey's Anatomy”.
Olivia Di Marco
Olivia Di Marco, News & Features Editor
Olivia Di Marco is a News and Features Editor for the 2024-2025 Wessex Wire. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, summers in Long Beach Island, and shopping. You can catch her listening to John Mayer or scrolling through TikTok when shes bored. Her favorite show has to be "Gilmore Girls" and her favorite movie is "Cheaper by The Dozen 2".
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