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Dancing With The Stars

DWTS Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Defends Controversial Winner Takes All Dance

Sometimes you just can’t win. Last season on Dancing With the Stars, many fans were outraged that low-scoring Bristol Palin made the Finals over talented Brandy Norwood. Bristol’s fans saved her. Everyone else was pissed.

Fast-forward to the Season 12 Semifinals and the creation of the Winner Takes All Cha-Cha-Cha. The purpose, as it was explained, was to give one couple a 15-point boost for performing well, to help talented couples make the Finals and avoid the “popularity contest” issue.

Maksim Chmerkovskiy said he wished the idea had been around for him and Brandy last season, but he knows you can’t win ‘em all. (Besides, there’s no guarantee he and Brandy would’ve beaten the Derek Hough & Jennifer Grey juggernaut.)

The result of the Season 12 Winner Takes All dance was to give extra points to Chelsea Kane & Mark Ballas, giving them a total of 73 points, versus Ralph Macchio & Karina Smirnoff at the bottom with 48 points. There was really no way for Ralph to overcome that point-gap and his fans were mad about it. They were mad at the judges for low scores (and rude comments) and mad at the producers for helping Chelsea & Mark to that extent.

Since judge Carrie Ann Inaba is on Twitter — as opposed to the other judges and the producers, who may or may not be on Twitter since fans don’t “know” them — she seems to be feeling some of the fan wrath.

She tweeted about the WTA Cha-Cha this week and tried to defend the decision to use it.

@carrieanninaba: “In all due respect, I do believe in everyone's opinion — that's the spirit of the show...The Show actually created the WTA cha cha because so many of our viewers and friends were upset when people went home. Our show's producers were really trying to listen to your comments and implement something to help. They were not trying to take away your right to vote...and your power. It's not for that. I do read your comments — and I think about them — if they are not silly. You make good points here — some of you. And I think you should write to the show to voice your concerns. I'm not a producer unfortunately. They do listen and try to improve our show always. So, voice your opinion to them, because your opinion is important. The producer's were really trying to listen to your previous comments. I think you make some good suggestions here — please write to DWTS and let them know what you feel — they are always trying to improve. Thanks for your comments. <3 And remember, each one of us sees the world slightly differently...and that's okay.”

It is kind of ironic that the WTA Cha-Cha seems to have been developed to block someone like Bristol and it ended up helping Chelsea — another one of Mark's partners.

Last season the crux of Mark’s argument for why Bristol should win Season 11 was that she was what DWTS was supposed to be about — taking someone with no dance experience and turning them into a dancer. She had no performance background or anything.

This season, the opposite is true of Disney star Chelsea. She started as a good dancer and is now almost a pro. Mark himself said in his pre-Finals interview with On the Red Carpet that Chelsea has amazing natural talent: "I always tell her if she started dancing if she was like 3 or 4 she'd be, like, a ridiculous professional. But for someone who's only been doing it for, you know, three months [she] is amazing."

That sounds close to the arguments Nicole Scherzinger and Jennifer Grey tried to make to convince everyone they were not "ringers” — just people with natural dance talent who had no ballroom training before DWTS. Both ended up winning their seasons (with Derek Hough), much to the grumblings of the other couples’ fans, who felt Nicole and Jen were "too good" for an amateur competition.

So the WTA Cha-Cha was developed to save the high-scoring dancers and it did its job, but now a whole new group of people is unhappy. There really is no way to win, so should the producers even try to find ways to please the various DWTS “special interest groups” or just ditch the WTA and let the scores/votes chips fall where they may?