Finally — some real debate on how Twitter affects voting, fairly or unfairly, on Dancing With the Stars. Three-time pro champ Derek Hough brought it up in his TV Guide blog, discussing how Season 16 has promoted Twitter use by fans, including in the voting of the Prom King and Queen on Week 3, which gave two extra points to winners Zendaya Coleman and Jacoby Jones.
Derek delved into the Twitter issue after writing that he's glad they don't tell us the full vote rankings beyond the bottom two. "Revealing the full rankings would add nothing except make people feel worse if they're at the bottom or if they're lower than they expected. Also, if someone is consistently in the top, fans might get complacent and not vote." (Do you agree with him, or is that the top couple’s problem? Are they owed secretly consistent safety at the top?)
And now to the Twitter debate: "I love the Twitter voting that we've been doing this season, even though they never put the pros' handles up!” Derek wrote. “But seriously, I think it's cool that we're engaging fans more. However, there's a drastic flaw in that because whoever has the most followers is at a huge advantage. Plus, we have new pros who are unknown to fans, so that doesn't help either. And depending on the core of your fan base, your fans might not be all that tech-savvy. Again, I like that they're doing this, but there are some drawbacks. I also feel bad for the people who will never have a chance to win it."
Agreed about the drawbacks, but it’s hard to know if a solution exists, without taking away the good parts. It's true that Prom Queen winner Zendaya has more than 2 million followers, which is a lot more than everyone else, but Jacoby only has 38,000, which is a lot less than, say, Sean Lowe's 518,000. It’s not like Jacoby won Prom King because he already had the Twitter base. Twitter is an easy way for stars to reach out to their fans, but there are plenty of people who support celebs based on their dancing, not just whomever they might be following on Twitter. And a lot of people aren’t following any of the stars on Twitter, they just pick someone to support based on either the dancing or whichever star they’re drawn to. But, yeah, people who aren’t on Twitter at all are left out of that equation.
Derek's 347,000+ Twitter followers have helped him win DWTS before (and his Season 16 partner Kellie Pickler has more than 758,000 of her own), so it's not like this Twitter boost is unique to Season 16. But we did notice the three new pros, who all have much smaller fan bases, have been in the bottom two in the past three weeks. You can't really ignore that — especially when D.L. Hughley has had low scores, but his more than 111,000 Twitter followers and Cheryl Burke’s 330,000 have probably combined to help save them. Then again, Lisa Vanderpump — who was in the bottom two on Week 2 — has more than 560,000 followers just on her own, so it shouldn't matter that much that Gleb Savchenko only has 12,000 at this point. Unless people are following some of the celebs just for interest and not as supporting "fans."
It's not like you can ban the use of Twitter to help couples — Twitter helps fans interact with the show and be part of the process, and social media is a big part of live TV viewing in general nowadays. Besides, this is supposed to be Dancing With the Stars, so if one star has more tech-savvy star power than another, so be it.
What do you think about the great Twitter debate? Is there anything to be done? Not a big deal? Totally unfair?
Source: TV Guide