Dancing with the Stars kicked off season 24 with a somewhat unusual sight: the 4 paddle. Chris Kattan and Witney Carson earned a trio of 4s from Len Goodman, Julianne Hough and Bruno Tolioli for their debut Cha-Cha-Cha, which is a truly terrible start.
But how rare is it for someone to get a 4 from any of the judges on DWTS? What are the lowest scores ever, which judge is the most generous when it comes to good scores and does getting a 4 necessarily mean you’re doomed in the competition?
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Here are some interesting facts about all of the times that a judge has pulled out the 4 (or lower) paddle on Dancing with the Stars.
How Many 4s Have There Been?
Including the first week of season 24, there have been a total of 41 routines that earned a 4 or lower from at least one of the judges, and Chris Kattan is the 30th star to do so. However, this is a trend that has died down quite a bit in recent years. In the past 10 seasons, only six contestants have earned a 4 from any of the judges: Chris Kattan, Geraldo Rivera, Kim Zolciak, Chaka Khan, Bill Nye and D.L. Hughley.
The most stunning part is the massive gender divide. Out of those 30 stars who’ve received a 4, only seven of them have been women. As for the pros with the worst scores, three female pros have fallen victim to 4s from the judges six different times each: Ashly DelGrosso, Edyta Sliwinska and Karina Smirnoff. But don’t blame them, since Ashly was partnered with Master P and Buzz Aldrin, Edyta had to deal with Evander Holyfield and Geraldo Rivera while Karina was saddled with Steve Wozniak.
Who Got Worse Than a 4?
Throughout all of DWTS, the judges have only pulled out something lower than a 4 paddle four times. The last time it happened was back in season 11, when Bruno Tonioli gave a 3 to Michael Bolton’s week 2 Jive. Bruno also gave a 3 to Tucker Carlson’s week 1 Cha-Cha-Cha on season 3. But at least both of those routines earned a total of 12 points thanks to 4s and 5s from Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman.
That leaves two truly unique and terrible routines. In season 10, Steve Wozniak ended his Samba by doing the Worm and got 3s from Len and Bruno (but a 4 from Carrie Ann). Then there’s the epic Master P Paso Doble from season 2, where the rapper basically stood there and took a leisurely stroll around the ballroom, which was so bad that Len and Bruno gave him 2s (yet, once again, Carrie Ann gave him a 4).
Perhaps the most surprising thing is that, while Len and Bruno have seen fit to give out extremely rare 2s and 3s, Carrie Ann has NEVER dropped below a 4 for any routine. By far she’s the most generous judge, only raising her 4 paddle 14 times. Compare that to the 26 times Bruno has handed out a 2, 3 or 4 and the whopping 35 times that Len has done so.
How Long Do the Judges Give 4s?
It should come as no surprise that more than half of the times the 4 paddle has been used (22 out of 41 routines) came in the first week. And in total, only two routines after the first four weeks have earned a 4. The first time came in season 4 when basketball player Clyde Drexler earned 4s from Carrie Ann and Bruno for his week 5 Rumba (he was eliminated that week). In season 8, Jackass personality Steve-O actually managed to get a 4 from Len in the sixth week of the competition (though, oddly, Carrie Ann gave that same routine a 7).
Can You Get a 4 and Still Go Far?
The vast majority of stars who’ve been given a 4 by the judges got eliminated fairly early. But there are a few notable exceptions. In season 4, Billy Ray Cyrus got 4s from Len and Bruno in week 1, yet he managed to survive to fifth place. And in season 8, bull rider Ty Murray received a 4 from Len for his first dance, but finished in fourth place.
There are also two stars who earned 4s early on, but still made it all the way to the finale. In season 11, Bristol Palin got a 4 from Carrie Ann in the fourth week, but she got to third place. To be fair, that week the judges gave out two separate scores for technique and performance, so even though Bristol got all 6s for her technical skills, Carrie Ann gave her the 4 for her performance.
The best star with a 4 on her resume, however, is season 1 winner Kelly Monaco. She started the season at the very bottom of the leaderboard with 4s from Len and Bruno for her first dance. But she quickly turned it around and went on to be the winner.
Dancing with the Stars season 24 airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)