Where’s the Beef?

Remember the little old lady on the Wendy’s commercial staring at the diminutive beef patty on the large bun asking, “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” That is what I wondered during the first episode of Season 4. It seemed that the routines were awfully short. To see if it was just my imagination, I replayed the show and timed the routines from the start of the music to the end of the music. The longest routine was 1:16 (mm:ss) and the shortest two were 1:05. I had the impression (probably from the first season) that the routines were about a minute and a half long.

That aroused my curiosity. So, I reviewed my previous DWTS video tapes and measured the length of the routines. Yes, I know… I am in desperate need of a life but what else is there to do while waiting for the next Social Security check? I have summarized the results in the chart below by tabulating the average length of the routines for each week of the show (with noted exceptions).

Season 1 routines appear to be what was I originally expected – about 1:30. Season 2 upped the game with longer routines averaging 1:36 while Season 3 came in less at 1:32. So far, Season 4 has dropped that average to 1:20 per routine.

The most dramatic comparison is Week 7. The average routine in Season 2, Week 7 was 1:45 while the average in Season 4, Week 7 was 1:10, begging the question, “Where’s the …er, the dance?” In Season 2 and Season 4 the dancers learned two new routines. Here are the top perfomers’ times:

Season 2 – Week 7
Drew Lachey 1:43 1:54
Stacy Keibler 1:45 1:45
Lisa Rinna 1:46 1:46

Season 4 – Week 7
Laila Ali 1:09 1:09
Apolo Ohno 1:12 1:09
Joey Fatone 1:09 1:07
John Ratzenberger 1:15 1:14 (John's the endurance Champ:!:)

I realize I am exaggerating the point because the routine lengths vary from week to week. However a glance at the chart shows a definite trend to less performance. Let’s see… cut the pre-show preparation by 33% and cut performances by 33% … what can that mean? Oh, silly me… now The Bachelor can start 15 minutes sooner. In another couple of seasons they need only introduce the stars and then we vote for our favorites. As Len Goodman might say, “We don’t need all that ‘razzle dazzle’ in between.” The Bachelor will then have time to choose between 45 girls instead of only 25.

Final trivia based on the episodes I reviewed:

The Longest Routines (1:45 or longer)

Season 2

Tia Carrere 1:47 1:49
Stacy Keibler 1:45 1:45 1:47
Drew Lachey 1:46 1:54
Lisa Renna 1:46 1:46
Jerry Rice 1:48
George Hamilton 1:46

Season 3

Joey Lawrence 1:50
Mario Lopez 1:46 1:50

Season 4

None yet

The Shortest Routines

Season 2 Jerry Rice 1:25
Season 3 Jerry Springer 1:17
Season 4 Ian Ziering 1:05
Paulina Porizkova 1:05

Having overstayed my welcome I go back waiting for that check to arrive… I need to buy a new shoe brush sooo bad!;)

P.S. Anyone who wishes to supply the missing data in the chart can email it to me at


Well-Known Member
Welcome to DF! :D
About the length of the routines... I haven't been watching the 4th season (to tell you the truth I only watched the 3rd season for a few episodes and quickly got bored) but it makes TV sense that they'd make the routines shorter. I don't think DWTS is about dance. It's more of a "look hot and make the audience think you're doing it with your Pro" kind of show. So they probably cut down on the dances to make it easier for the Ams and make room for all that very important gossiping. But that's just me.

It looks to me like the shorter routines are in the weeks with more crowded schedules (for example, in this season, they started doing two dances in week 7). I suspect that the producers are choosing the lengths to fit the overall length of the show.
That was really interesting to read. I would say that every season has changed with how many dancers they have etc. I think that this season, they've probably had to cut back their time with all of the dancers they've had just to get everyone in. Season 1 was just getting into gear, so they probably wanted to cut back the routine to just see how the show would go over with the audience. I'm not surprised about that really. I'm impressed that John danced that long lol.

Welcome to DF! ;)
I started getting really annoyed after the first season that the focus on DWTS was less on actual 'dancing' and more about the 'singing'! I don't care about the judges latest snappy line...I don't care what celebrity singer is in town that day...I'm not interested in what late-night talk show host needs his ratings boosted by doing stupid skits that don't show anyone how great dancing really is....

All I ever wanted to see was some really decent celeb pro/am routines...with a few kick-butt pro numbers thrown in for good measure so we could drool and see how it's really done!

Was that too much to ask?
The anemic dance routines of Season 4 continue with week 8. Here is the updated tabulation of dance routine times.

The average routine length was 1:11 (mm:ss). A new record for shortness was achieved with Joey Fatone's 1 minute three second Mambo. The longest routine of the night was logged by Laila Ali with her 1 minute sixteen second waltz. However, when you consider it took Laila 16 seconds to get from her pillow to the first waltz step and another 15 seconds to get from the last waltz step back to her pillow, her waltz was only 45 seconds long. The total dance time for the evening was 12 minutes. It must have been an agonizing ordeal for the producers to cram all that into a 90 minute program.
Final Stats for Season 4

Here are the updated stats for weeks 9 and 10. It was nice to see the routine lengths improve significantly from weeks 7 and 8.:)


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