Yes, they're stinking it up all the way to 2 World championships, but it's not on the strength of their skating, which has taken a downward turn since 2010.
Here's a theory:
Ironically, but very typically for what ice dance has turned into, the deterioration of Meryl and Charlie's technique is key to their success. Taking the skating out of their skating is key to their success. Trading in decent technique for cheating the technique is the only way they can win.
In order to "compete" or create the illusion of competing, they've prioritized frantic motion. Their technique isn't strong enough to carry that impression of frenzied motion into their elements, so they've dispensed with technique. And actual skating.
In 2010, Phantom of the Opera was very different from Mahler, obviously, as was Bollywood to Farrucus. Meryl and Charlie's programs had very little "us" in it. The dynamic went: "first you, then me". Charlie would serve as a stable base for something Meryl did, Meryl gets out of the way when Charlie does something. The lift stability issues were there but the lift execution wasn't the unadulterated sloppiness we see now. That backwards gliding lift where Charlie flips Meryl onto his back and she rests her sit bone against his back and her skate blade on his leg demonstrates that she completely lacks Tessa's core stability (see Tessa in The Goose - nobody but her is keeping her hips, her core, her shoulders and her head aligned, still and stable - and Scott is making sure she's got a stable base not by hanging onto her or vice versa, but by his own ability to keep his edges steady and his body stable while another human being is balancing herself vertically on his thigh), but it was done calmly. They also didn't skate (as many) miles apart, pose, and then pose some more on the way back to each other en route to more skipping and hopping.
Bollywood and Phantom of the Opera, as skated by Davis White, were considered sufficient to compete with Mahler-era Virtue Moir.
But since the Mahler year, Virtue and Moir have completely revamped their power. They were always faster and more powerful than the "D&W are ying, V&M are yang" types liked to pretend, but after 2010 their ability to skate with power transformed. You can see it in the shows they did even when Tessa was pregnant. They grew their technical range. Their technique was always terrific, but they expanded what they were able to do with their blades even further.
How could Davis & White compete with Virtue and Moir while skating as Davis & White skated in 2010? Davis & White were better skaters in 2010 then they are now, Virtue and Moir were better than they were in 2010, and had gotten still better.
Somewhere it was discovered that the frenetic, frantic, desperately theatrical style created enough of an impression of "more" going on that it appeared to elevate the apparent difficulty of the entire program.
Of course it required D&W to become ever crappier skaters because they're just not good enough to frantically dive bomb into and out of stuff with that breakneck busy-ness and with good technique, so good technique goes out the door and they clutch and grab, swing and flail. They "by any means necessary" their programs, and that "means" turns out not to be actually skating.
To beat Virtue Moir, they've priotized frantic movement and apparent pace, but lack the technical chops or stability to execute at that pace. The result is an epic fake out of horrible cheated technique - maybe that priority became ever more urgent after Vancouver because of how Virtue Moir themselves evolved.
You could "see" DW in POTO. Compared to what VM have done subsequently, the POTO era DW aren't fast enough, not powerful enough, aren't "doing" enough compared to Virtue Moir Latin program, or Funny Face, or Carmen. So maybe it's VM's huge strides since Mahler that has made DW throw technique out the window in favor of kicking up desperate clouds of dust. And they simply can't execute properly going at that pace - or what seems to be a hectic pace.
In 2010-2011 I believe the USFSA and Charlie and Meryl themselves believed that Virtue and Moir would sit out the entire season. This was a golden opportunity to get off the hamster wheel and re-set their technique, get themselves grounded in good skating again, grow it over the season, and add speed and power by Worlds (a la the habitual pattern of Virtue Moir, minus the need to re-set their technique and get themselves grounded in good skating). Even if they still had a way to go by Worlds, chances are they'd still win Worlds.
But Virtue and Moir decided to come back at the end of the season. And the attempt to re-set Davis & White's technique with the tango was more of a challenge and more of a struggle than maybe the skaters had expected.
Who told Davis & White to ditch the noble experiment and not even go back to the POTO style of the previous year? Instead a bizarre non-skating program package featuring lots of nothing done with hectic energy and tons of two-footed theatricality from the waist up was born. Was this a born-in-desperation solution after it was learned VM were coming back - and lord above - it worked?
Did the USFSA tell them to stop the idea of figure skating and just get it done? The USFSA have told Davis White "no" to other programs. Clearly they want Davis White to win gold in Sochi and are working every media angle they've got to promote the cause. Davis & White showing good technique vis a vis Virtue Moir showing superb technique = Virtue Moir win. Davis & White churning up clouds and clouds of dust like a Roadrunner cartoon seems to work to beat Virtue Moir - or give the judges the cover they need to pretend it does. So do that.
It also puts the pressure on Virtue Moir because while apparently nobody judging or watching live can actually see what Davis and White are doing and not doing, Virtue and Moir, who actually have technique, who actually extend their moves, are made vulnerable because when you actually skate, you've left yourself exposed, which plays into the hands of the judges. With Davis White, there is literally nothing to see here.
Cheating pays off.
P.S. - one wonders what Davis White will do for their free dance next season and you'd think they've exhausted the noble monster/young girl theme.
Both Giselle and Die Fleudermaus seemed well suited to hopping and bouncing and skipping and leaping. Die Fleudermaus was a waltz and they didn't waltz, or dance, or do much skating, but the rhythm is very bouncy and they did a lot of bouncing.
2014 is 20 years after Grishuk/Platov won at Lillehammer with a Rock Medley featuring "Rock Around the Clock." I picture that with some Dirty Dancing mashed in and how can you fault them for energetically standing in place, bopping around, punctuating stuff with leaps and skips and hops? It's a nod to the Russian ice dance champions of 94. I can see it. Same program - just strip out Strauss or Adolphe Adam's Giselle music and plug in Meryl in either ankle socks and some type of 50's circle skirt or else Ratzo Rizzo bad girl gear. Charlie will of course NOT pomade his hair but he can be some type of adorable dork at the hop.
Come to think of it - Grease would serve just the same.
I am not one to imagine programs for figure skaters, to where I've mentally chosen the music, designed the costumes and played around with choreo, although that seems like a popular pasttime on many message boards. I thought of sock hop type rock only when I tried to think what DW could do next year that would seem "completely different" while actually being "exactly the same" and then remembered Grishuk/Platov in 1994, and that the Olympics in 2014 are in Russia, and the nightmare was born.