The jaw-dropping elimination of a Dancing with the Stars frontrunner could have the potential to create big changes in the voting structure for the long-running ABC reality dance competition as it heads into Season 28.
During the semifinals episode, Juan Pablo di Pace was eliminated after receiving two perfect scores from the judges, putting him at the top of the leaderboard, leaving fans and the judging panel aghast.
Fans of the show immediately put together a change.org petition to revamp the show’s scoring system.
The petition reads, “This show is about transformation and there should be room for improvement. However, by the semifinals, it should be more about dancing than personality and popularity, as you are almost at the end. In order for this show to continue to thrive change must come. Some things should not solely be popularity contests and this is one of them.”
The controversy surrounding this Dancing with the Stars shocking elimination has once again put the voting system for the show into question.
On the heels of di Pace’s elimination, fans are calling for changes to the voting system. Fans were equally outraged when Tinashe, a skillful dancer in her own right, was sent home earlier in the season.
There is a push on social media for the introduction of a “judges’ save.” This would allow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli to spare a couple that would otherwise be eliminated. A save of that nature is already in place for contestants of the competition series The Voice.
TVLine spoke to di Pace after his elimination and although grateful for his experiences on the series, he too sees the need for change in the show’s overall voting system.
“The show’s been going on for 27 seasons, and looking at the thousands of comments I’ve got, people aren’t happy with the system. So, yeah, 27 seasons later, maybe it is time for a refresh, a little nip, and tuck,” di Pace stated to TVLine.
“Maybe instead of being completely a popularity contest, it could actually be more of a skill contest. But who am I to say? I think the fans’ outrage will probably work for something.”
The Fuller House star also called his and partner Cheryl Burke’s elimination “heartbreaking.”
“We knew we weren’t the ones with millions of fans. We were the ones with a lot of hard work and passion and talent. So I wasn’t sure I was going through,” he remarked in the same interview.
The judging system that is in place is as follows. In order to determine who goes home each week, the show combines the judges’ scores with viewer votes. TVLine reported that the current system weighs viewers’ votes more heavily, which means skilled dancers could be sent home if they do not have enough fan support from the audience.
Dancing with the Stars airs its two-hour finale tonight, beginning at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.