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DWTS: Everything about the New Voting System That Has Earned Mixed Reactions from Fans

Aby Rivas
Oct 04, 2019
09:00 A.M.
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Season 28 of “Dancing with the Stars” introduced a new voting system that, unlike previous seasons, gives the judges more power when it comes to deciding the fate of the couples that are up for elimination. However, fans of the show are not so happy about the improvement.


After receiving criticism for the results of “DWTS” season 27—where country music radio host Bobby Bones and his partner Sharna Burgess were crowned despite having the lowest scores—ABC decided to make a twist on the voting system of the show.


The new system still allows fans to vote for their favorite celebrities but gives the judges the final decision on who moves on to the next episode.

Here’s everything we know so far about the voting changes.

The live fan voting and its unfairness

As explained in week 2 of the new season, fans will now get to cast their votes during the live broadcast of the show each week.


However, the voting lines will only be open during the Eastern and Central time zones transmissions.

"What's good about it, we've had people in the past that were amazing that went home suddenly. That is what we are trying to avoid here." - Carrie Ann Inaba.

Meaning, those on the Mountain and Pacific time zones will either vote blindly for their favorites or don’t vote at all; unless they manage to find a non-traditional channel to see the show live.


This setback has angered west coast die-hard fans of the show that, in previous seasons, had the chance to vote after the broadcast because the results were revealed the following week.

Another issue of live voting has to do with timing. Earlier performers have more chances of acquiring more votes, while the last contestants to take the dance floor will have only about 15 minutes before the show comes to an end.


West Coast fans speak up

People have taken to social media to voice their unconformity with the new voting system.

One user accused ABC of isolating the west coast audience and sabotaging their ratings.


“I doubt I’ll ever vote again,” the fan tweeted. “I’ve been a loyal voting fan; it’s kind of sad that you’ve made it that we’d have to vote before seeing the dance.”

Another user agreed, saying:


While a third eagled-eyed fan pointed out how the voting was closed even before the final commercial break and before the judges gave their scores to the last performers of the night:


The judges' votes

In previous seasons, the fans and judges’ votes were weighted equally, which often resulted in the most famous celebrity coming above the most talented one.

This caused fans to complain about the show turning into a popularity contest, instead of a dancing technique competition.


Although we’re only on week 3 of season 28, there have been already two contestants that retired from the competition because of injuries.

With the new system, however, judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli get the last word.

Although the fan voting is still considered to determine the saved couples, the judges have the responsibility of choosing the couple who stays and the one who gets eliminated from the bottom two.


Judges and pro-dancers reactions

While fans are still not convinced about the new system, judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Entertainment Tonight that, although she’s a little stressed by it, the new system is bringing fairness back into the show.

She explained:

"It's hard at the end to choose who we want to save. But you know what's good about it, we've had people in the past that were amazing that went home suddenly. That is what we are trying to avoid here."


"So even though I don't like it, it makes me a little bit nauseous, it's really important to do," she added. "And I'm happy we have the opportunity."

On the other hand, pro-Alan Bersten told reporters the new voting system “is great.”

“I think it gives that immediacy of the voting and you don’t have to wait a week to see what happens,” he elaborated. “People get to see what they voted for right away, and the judges are a lot more strict this year, and hopefully, the audience chooses their favorite more and more every week.”


Fellow pro star Sasha Farber agreed, explaining that the new system gives someone who doesn’t have enough votes but is a great dancer, a chance to stay in the competition.

“Sometimes this happened in the past where, you know, a good dancer has left,” she said. “So this gives the judges an opportunity to save great dancing and someone who’s great for the show.”


Season 28 so far

Although we’re only on week 3 of season 28, there have been already two contestants that retired from the competition because of injuries.

The first one was former model Christie Brinkley, who announced her exit from the show before its premiere citing a broken arm. Her daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, stepped in as her replacement.


Then, this week former NFL Ray Lewis also retired citing a tendon injury. He and his pro partner, Cheryl Burke were on the bottom two on week two and were saved by Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman.

So far, the only eliminated couple has been Mary Wilson and partner Brandon Armstrong, since producers decided not to remove a couple this week following Lewis’ exit from the show.

Although it's too early in the season to point out the front runners, the judges and audience seem to agree on the potential of “The Bachelorette” star Hannah Brown and her pro partner Alan Bersten; and “Dawson's Creek” actor James Van Der Beek and his pro partner Emma Slater.

“Dancing with the Stars” airs on ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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