We've heard over and over this season that it's so important to vote for your favorite stars. It's true. Dancing with the Stars is a popularity contest more than anything, since the percentage of fan votes received tends to outweigh the percentage of judges' scores doled out. It's complicated. See below for details. Long story short: Monday night is your last chance to vote for Jennifer Grey, Kyle Massey or Bristol Palin.
On Night One of the DWTS Season 11 Finale, the couples will perform a redemption dance by re-choreographing and re-doing a previously performed dance chosen by the judges. Each couple will also perform a Freestyle, which is usually called the "make it or break it" dance, since the pairs can do anything they want and a powerhouse Freestyle can really motivate fans to vote. So the couples will get scores for both of those dances and we at home can vote for them.
Then on Tuesday night, ABC says the three finalists will perform their personal favorite ballroom dance of the season and will be ranked by the judges. In the final element of the competition, each of the couples will do an Instant Dance, where they have to master the Cha Cha Cha to music they've been given for the first time after the show's broadcast has begun.
Last season, Erin Andrews was named the third place contestant after she & Maks danced their favorite routine on Tuesday. Only Evan Lysacek and Nicole Scherzinger were still in the competition for the fourth and final dance-off. This season it remains to be seen if all three contestants will perform all four dances. According to On the Red Carpet, only the top two will dance all four, but the ABC press release isn't being that clear about it.
Either way, the final couples' scores from the judges will be combined with the audience votes to determine the winners. Since the final three will all have at least one dance that is not voted on by viewers, that should give a leg up to the dancers who tend to get higher scores. (In other words, if Bristol gets low scores on Monday and Tuesday night and still wins, it will be because her fan base is astronomical.)
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. It boils down to the viewers's votes often outweighing the judges' scores, so — seriously — go online or call in and vote on Monday. And tell us: who the heck is voting for Bristol Palin?