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Dancing With The Stars

How Does DWTS Scoring Really Work?

Even though we're approaching Week 3, fans of The Hoff are still reeling from his Week 1 elimination. Even the producers were surprised he was let go so soon, before equally bad dancers like The Situation and Margaret Cho. Well we've got the answer. For starters, it’s totally your fault! All kidding aside, let’s take a serious look at how the Dancing with the Stars scoring system works. And be prepared, because there's some math involved. We hope you brushed up on your grade school arithmetic.

The fate of each couple is determined by both the judges's marks and votes from the public.

First, the scoring begins with the judges. During the performance episode, each judge gives the couple a score of 1 to 10, for a total nightly score ranging from 3 to 30. When the stars dance multiple performances only the cumulative total score counts. For each couple, the folks at ABC work out the share they got of the points given by the judges on the night. Their "share" is calculated as the percentage of the total number of points awarded to all contestants that evening. (For example, if a team earned 20 points on a night when the judges awarded 200 points, their judges' share would be 20/200 = 10%.)

Then we've got the votes from the public — that's us. Much like the judges' scores, ABC calculates the percentage of votes each couple received. So, for example, if Jennifer Grey had received 10 votes out of a total of 100 votes, his voting share would be 10/100, or 10%.

After collecting and calculating that buttload of figures, these two shares are then added together. The couple with the lowest combined total is eliminated from the show.

Yeah, our heads are spinning too. Fortunately, we busted out the graphing calculators and #2 pencils to figure out the Week 1 results. Here's the leaderboard with each couple's judging score and the percentage of the judges's points they got:

Jennifer Grey & Derek Hough
Score: 24, Percentage: 10.57%

Brandy & Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Score: 23, Percentage: 10.13%

Kyle Massey & Lacey Schwimmer
Score: 23, Percentage: 10.13%

Rick Fox & Cheryl Burke
Score: 22, Percentage: 9.69%

Audrina Patridge & Tony Dovoloni
Score: 19, Percentage: 8.37%

Kurt Warner & Anna Trebunskaya
Score: 19, Percentage: 8.37%

Bristol Palin & Mark Ballas
Score: 18, Percentage: 7.93%

Florence Henderson & Corky Ballas

Score: 18, Percentage: 7.93%

Michael Bolton & Chelsie Hightower
Score: 16, Percentage: Percentage: 7.05%

Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino & Karina Smirnoff
Score: 15, Percentage: 6.61%

Margaret Cho & Louis Van Amstel
Score: 15, Percentage: 6.61%

David Hasselhoff & Kym Johnson
Score: 15, Percentage: 6.61%

This score is then added to the percentages of viewer votes they got — determining whether they're safe or heading home.

In the case of The Hoff, Margaret, and The Situation — all of whom received the same score — it really all came down to viewer votes. The Hoff simply had less fans calling and texting on his behalf.

In past seasons some celebs with fairly high scores were eliminated before contestants who received much lower scores.

Last season Shannen Doherty was booted before clunkers like Buzz Aldrin and Kate Gosselin. And that was totally the fault of viewers. Shannen's respectable 38 points set her apart from Buzz's low score of 26. But to beat Shannen, Buzz only needed to get 2.8% more viewer votes than her to overcome the difference in their judges’ scores (8.86%-6.06% = 2.8%)!

In other words, Dancing with the Stars is totally a popularity contest where the viewers's votes overweigh the judges' scores. And really, why should we be surprised? It is a reality show, after all!

So until America wakes up and realizes we don't need another week of The Situation tripping over his own feet, we'll be off watching Baywatch reruns. We miss ya, Hoff.

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10.8.2010 / 11:30 PM EDT by Gemma Wilson
Related: Dancing With The Stars, Gossip

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