Joey Lawrence competed on season 3 of the show alongside ballroom pro Edyta Śliwińska and the two made it to the semifinals; finishing in third place. Joey Lawrence competed against Mario Lopez and Emmitt Smith for the Mirrorball Trophy (Smith won) and, on his podcast, he and Matthew Lawrence both said that the show is “rigged.”
Joey Lawrence’s younger brother Matthew Lawrence was previously married to longtime “Dancing With the Stars” pro Cheryl Burke. Although Matthew never competed on the show, he does share similar feelings as his brother on the matter.
Here’s what you need to know:
Joey Lawrence Says He Thinks There’s Been a Lot of ‘Debate’ About What Goes on Behind-the-Scenes on ‘Dancing With the Stars’
Matthew Lawrence shared an experience that he had on “Worst Cooks in America” where he quickly realized that it didn’t matter how well he did — he felt that the show was cast a certain way and it played out the way producers wanted it to.
“I got really disenfranchised with competition reality shows,” he said. “I thought if you really tried hard and really improved, that would be marked in how you get to advance on the show. But, really, it’s just like any other show,” he continued.
Then, Joey Lawrence spoke out about how he felt things went a certain way on “Dancing With the Stars” for similar reasons.
“I feel that there was always a lot of debate as to how much finagling was going on behind the scenes,” Joey Lawrence began. “You know, whether the audience vote and the judges’ votes, then the producers. I mean, there was certainly a scenario there that played out,” he continued. A short while later, Joey Lawrence clarified that he “didn’t buy a single vote.”
Matthew Lawrence then shared his experience being “around” the show without actually being on it.
“It was rigged,” Matthew Lawrence concluded.
Fans Responded to Joey Lawrence’s Comments on a Reddit Thread
Shortly after the “Brotherly Love” podcast was made available, several “Dancing With the Stars” fans took to Reddit to react to Joey Lawrence and Matthew Lawrence’s claims that the show is “rigged.”
“I dont think its rigged in the sense that they dont follow the actual audience votes.. that is highly illegal and there are many rules in place so it doesnt happen. However, I have totally always believed that both the judge’s scores, and obviously the storylines they decide to run for each contestant, thats their way of ‘rigging’ the show: manipulating the narrative and the audience by proxy,” one person wrote.
“I agree with others. I’ve felt for years the show is heavily manipulated, and even more so now with the judges save. I don’t believe it’s outright rigged, but scoring, song/dance choice compared to everyone else, packages, feedback, promotion…I think they have desired outcomes,” someone else added.
“I’ve definitely heard this before (just rumblings over the years). I don’t think it’s rigged, per say, but there is definitely some behind the scenes manipulation happening. I have no doubt that one year one coast couldn’t get through to vote wasn’t a glitch,” a third Redditor said. “This happens on other shows too….certain dating show is notorious for this. Told how to act, who to keep, manipulate situations etc,” they added.
The new season of “Dancing With the Stars” premieres on September 26, 2023, on ABC.