Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba says she’s “frustrated” by the revamped results format on the ABC dancing competition this season. In a new interview, the former Fly Girl admitted she is “irritated” that she and fellow judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli have to choose between two worthy celebrity dancers while the lowest scorer stays safe each week.
This week, the high-scoring Kate Flannery was sent home by the three judges’ after they were forced to choose between her and singer Ally Brooke. The two women were in jeopardy despite the fact that former White House staffer Sean Spicer continues to get the lowest judges’ scores for his dances — by a lot.
Inaba, whose shock was seen on her face when Spicer was once again deemed safe, told ET that viewer votes have also been part of the show, so she can’t get “mad” about the unfair results. But she can get frustrated.
“It’s disappointing to see people go home like this week after week, and Sean is staying in. … I can’t get too mad, but yeah, I’m a little frustrated. I’m a lot frustrated.”
Inaba also addressed viewers who are seemingly using their votes to “spite” the judges and perhaps make a mockery of the show by voting for the worst dancer.
“There are people who are working their butts off, and we’ve gotten so many complaints in the past seasons about not the best dancer winning… How about having a little respect for the people who are working their butts off dancing? This is a dancing competition. It’s nothing else. It’s supposed to be about the best dancer. Put it where it counts!”
After radio host Bobby Bones’ controversial win on last season’s Dancing with the Stars, the voting system was changed to require the judges to choose between the two stars with the lowest combined scores and number of votes. The system seems to be backfiring, as talented dancers such as Sailor Brinkley-Cook, Karamo Brown, and now Flannery — who actually beat Spicer in a cha-cha dance-off this week — continue to be shown the door.
Spicer, who received a Twitter endorsement from Donald Trump when he started out this season on DWTS, told ET that he feels “humbled” by the love he has received from at-home voters. Noting that he knows how low his scores are, Spicer said it “means a ton” to him that the viewers continue to outweigh the vote.
The former communications director said that while he thought about voluntarily stepping out of the competition out of respect for the more talented celebrities, in the end, he thinks it would be “disrespectful” to the voters who have had his back all season.
Spicer has been a controversial cast member from the beginning. When the Dancing with the Stars Season 28 cast was first announced, host Tom Bergeron posted a lengthy rant in which he said he was disappointed that producers chose to cast another politically divisive contestant.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.