'Dancing With the Stars' Twitter Demands an Explanation for Carrie Ann Inaba's "Lift" Comment

Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba is all about the rules, which she proved Monday night while giving feedback to former NFL player Vernon Davis and his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd.

After the pair danced a graceful Foxtrot to John Legend’s “All of Me,” Carrie called the couple out for violating a very important rule on Dancing With the Stars — the “lift rule.” As a result, Carrie Ann told the couple she would have to dock a point off of their score. Still, the couple managed to get a 17 out of 30, a total that landed them in the middle of the pack and likely secured their place in round two (pending they don’t receive a low number of at-home votes).

So, what is a “lift” and what is the “lift rule” on Dancing With the Stars?

First and foremost, “a lift is any movement during which one of the dancers has both feet off the floor at the same time with the assistance or support of their partner,” Carrie Ann explained in a Facebook post from 2017 (which you can read in full below). Though lifts can take a ballroom dance routine to the next level, they aren’t actually allowed in many dance styles.

The lift rule on Dancing With the Stars was established way back in 2005 when the show first debuted. According to Carrie Ann, the show put the rule in place out of respect for proper ballroom dance competitions.

Browse through the National Dance Council of America rules, and you’ll see that Carrie Ann knows her stuff. When entering a formal ballroom competition, many dance styles prohibit lifts, including Rhumba, Cha Cha, Jive, Paso Doble, Samba, Tango, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, and Quickstep. Where lifts are allowed, however, are in dances such as the Jitterbug, Argentine Tango, the Charleston, Salsa, Jazz, and Contemporary.

But wait, why did Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong not get penalized for their lifts during their season 9 premiere Salsa to “Tell It to My Heart” by Taylor Dayne. That’s what fans wanted to know on Twitter after seeing The Real star go flying in the air on Monday night. “Jeannie Mai can do a lift, but Vernon Davis couldn’t. Shady Carrie Ann #DWTS,” one fan tweeted. “How come Vernon Davis is told that lifts are not allowed and get point deducted but when Jeannie Mai takes a helicopter ride no points deducted???” another wondered.

The answer: You’re allowed to do lifts for the Salsa, which is what Jeannie and Brandon performed, but not the Foxtrot, which was the dance style assigned to Vernon and Peta in week one.

Of course, Carrie Ann is being a stickler for the rules for a good reason: As she explained, the rule was enacted to keep an emphasis on technique, rather than flashy showmanship.

“It keeps it fair for competitors of all ages and abilities to compete on our show. It levels the playing field for those who have physical challenges that make lifts impossible,” Carrie Ann wrote. “If lifts were allowed in every dance, people would start doing lifts to make their dances visually exciting, because truth be told, a good lift is always great to watch.”

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