Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: DWTS Season 13, Week 10 Costumes: J.R. Martinez & Karina Smirnoff, Cha-Cha-Cha: Miss

It’s difficult to say how the final audience vote last night was split among the three remaining contestants. As far as Dancing With the Stars Season 13 goes, Rob, Ricki, and J.R. have all performed extremely well with their fans. But how much does the actual voting matter?

Let’s break down the systematic way that a DWTS champion is chosen:

1. The judges tally up their scores for Part 1 of Finale Week, based on their scores for the first dance and the Freestyle dance. We know that Rob is in the lead with 57 out of 60, and J.R. and Ricki are tied for second place with 54 each.

2. The audience votes until one hour after the show has aired on the West Coast (10 pm PST).

3. After Tuesday’s first dance, the judges’ scores will be added to each couple’s scores for last night. For example: if all three competitors got perfect 10s tonight for their first dance, Rob would still be in the lead with 87 out of 90, and J.R. and Ricki would still be tied for second place at 84 out of 90.

4. Those judges’ scores are then combined with last night’s audience vote on a 50/50 split.

Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Dancing With the Stars Season 13 Finals: Costume Hits & Misses

5. Based on that score, one contestant will be immediately eliminated on live television (ouch!).

6. The remaining two contestants will dance their last dance. They will compete for the Mirror Ball trophy in their Instant Samba. Once again, the judges will vote for the last time. For example: if Rob and J.R. wind up in the final two, and the judges give them both 10s, Rob will have 117 out of 120 and J.R. will have 114 out of 120. 

7. Those judges’ scores are then combined with last night’s audience vote on a 50/50 split: 50% of the FINAL score comes from the combination of audience votes and 50% from these last judges’ score. 

8. A new Mirror Ball champ is crowned.

Phew! Since when did ballroom dancing involve math?

No matter how the three dancing stooges on the judges’ panel decide, we’re just thrilled to finally have a tight, unpredictable race. 

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