'Dancing With The Stars' sequel to change voting system, feature weekly results show
By Reality TV World staff, 07/28/2005
One day after television writers attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour verbally sparred with ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson over the awkward Dancing With The Stars voting system that resulted in Kelly Monaco's victory being decided by the penultimate episode's voting (a setup that meant that the couples' finale performances -- and the judges' finale scoring -- played absolutely no role in determining the competition's winner) the network announced Wednesday that the celebrity ballroom dancing competition will feature a standalone results show (a la Fox's American Idol) when it returns for a second edition in early 2006.
"We are so grateful for the fans' passion for the show," said McPherson. "We heard their frustrations loud and clear about the voting process, so we're adding the results show, letting them have the fullest possible participation."
As a once-a-week live series, Dancing With The Stars' recently completed first season featured a scoring system in which the show's judges and home viewers equally determined which dancing couple was eliminated each week but were basing their scoring/voting on different episode's performances.
Each of Dancing With The Stars' weekly live episodes featured the competition's remaining couples performing, followed by the judges' scoring of their performances. However due to the fact that tabulating home viewer votes during the live broadcast was impractical, Dancing With The Stars instead had viewers vote for their favorite dancers after each episode aired... and instead combined the home audience rankings of the previous week's dancing performances with the judges' rankings of the current live episode's performances to determine which couple would be eliminated at the conclusion of the live broadcast.
The awkward scoring system could have been resolved by simply holding off each round's elimination announcement until the beginning of the next week's episode (allowing plenty of time for home viewers to vote and their ballots to be tabulated) however television executives generally prefer to save such dramatic events for the end of a show to ensure that viewers watch the entire broadcast.
Combined with the fact that the show's rules stated that, in the event of a finale episode scoring tie, the couple receiving the most audience votes would be crowned the winner, the strange scoring setup meant that whichever couple received the most audience votes during the fifth episode's post-broadcast voting period was guaranteed to win the competition -- regardless of how either couple performed in the finale broadcast or what scores the judges gave either of the couples' performances.
For example, because the show's home viewers had ranked eventual winner Kelly Monaco first and runner-up John O'Hurley second in the post-fifth episode audience voting, Kelly received two finale ranking points and John one. Even if the judges had scored John's finale performance higher than Kelly's (giving him two ranking points and her one) the finalists still would have been tied at three points each, resulting in Kelly still winning the competition due to the home audience's vote serving as the tiebreaker.
Although several media outlets (including Reality TV World) had noted the completely irrelevant nature of the finale performances after the show's finale aired earlier this month, this week's Television Critics Tour session represented television critics first chance to voice the public's frustration directly to McPherson.
After largely dismissing the critics' concerns and mentioning no plans to change the system on Tuesday, ABC and McPherson made an abrupt about-face on Wednesday, suddenly announcing that Dancing With The Stars will now feature an additional 30-minute weekly results show when it returns for a second season. As it was in its first season, Dancing With The Stars' weekly live performance show will remain an hour long.