Dancing With the Stars Season 17 Voting Changes: Showrunner Addresses Complaints
What would you have done, if you got the call from ABC that said Dancing With the Stars was going to go from two nights down to just Mondays?
Right now, DWTSSeason 17 is struggling with all the issues that come with that condensed format. Showrunner Conrad Green talked to Entertainment Weekly about the many options they considered before settling on the current system where people vote one night and see those results paired with the judges' scored the next week.
"We looked at the option of same-night voting, but that would alienate half the country — although, in terms of audience, probably about two-thirds of the audience’s votes come from the Eastern and Central time zones," Conrad said. "So you could definitely get a good results, but you’d alienate all those other people.” Sorry, everyone in the West!
EW also brought up the idea of the Instant Save, which The Voice used last week. "Believe me, we talked about it,” Conrad said. “But whatever you do in this situation, people are gonna get upset about it. The only ideal one is to have a Results Show the following night."
They also gave serious consideration to eliminating someone at the start of the following show, as opposed to at the end of the same performance night. "And then people could vote on the people who are left behind,” Conrad said. “And that was the toss-up, really. But So You Think You Could Dance did that, and it was not good, to the point where they changed it.”
He said there aren’t many options if 1) you want everyone in the country to be able to vote and 2) you only have one show a week. “So while this is a slightly odd system, it’s the system we actually used in the first season — this process of last week’s public vote with this week’s judges’ scores."
Some of the frustration this season is how so many "better" dancers have left before lower-scored dancers. That's a product of DWTS's mix of judges' scores and viewer votes, which gives a lot of power to voters. Would DWTS consider giving more weight to the judges' scores?
"We’d just get it in the neck for giving them even more power," Conrad said. "We tried that [in Season 14] when we did the Dance Duel, so there was a sense that the judges picked clearly the best dancer out of the two. We tried that, and people hated that. Or once, in the season where Ralph Macchio was on Week 8, I think, the judges could give extra points to the couple they thought was best, and then everyone accused them of fixing the finale. So you kind of can’t win. I would always like the right balance of people to get there, but eventually it always seems to sort itself out, broadly."
You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, so you basically have to pick one thing and stick with it. But just because a vocal group shoots down an idea — like the Dance Duel judges' save — doesn't mean everyone really hated it. Fans just feel passionately about their favorite couples and when the results are upsetting they need someone to blame.