If you’re into the voting part of the Dancing With the Stars experience every season, then you might want to take note of the new twists Tom Bergeron announced in the first and second episodes this season. Before, viewers had more time to vote for their favorite couples and the judges didn't have as much power as they suddenly do. But now, things have shifted. And the new scoring system on DWTS could be a game changer.
The first surprise fans were met with was the fact that viewers were unable to vote for their faves in week one. Instead, the polls opened up at the start of the week two episode. This could have limited the amount of votes some couples would have potentially received, had fans been able to vote for their favorite performance during night one instead of waiting until the following week.
But the bigger shock came when Bergeron announced that at the end of the week two episode, the judges will be able to save one of the bottom two couples. Some might say that’s a little too much power for the DWTS judges’ panel, but it could help keep a deserving pair around to fight for their right to dance another week.
Another big change to the DWTS voting system is when fans can vote. This season, fans can only vote for their favorite couples from 8 to 10 p.m. ET when the show airs live. There will be a final commercial break after the last performance of the night, during which voting will close. So if you live on the West Coast and you miss the live show in your timezone, you won't be able to vote once the final performance of the night airs.
DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba spoke to Entertainment Tonight about the changes fans can expect and what they mean for the season ahead. "I do know that we have made some adjustments to the judging, because we got a lot of complaints," she revealed. "We listened to what everybody said about what happened last year."
Inaba was likely referring to Bobby Bones' controversial DWTS win last season, despite having low judges' scores. His success on the show relied heavily on fans’ votes and longtime fans weren't happy about the way Bones’ popularity shook up the voting system. The changes to the way DWTS scores its competitors could have been done in an effort to ensure fans are a little more supportive of the way the scores are calculated this time around.
There are also two ways fans can vote this season. They can vote for contestants online or by text this year, which brings something else new to the DWTS voting system. The only downside fans are already unsure of is the time frame allotted for voting each episode. It could alter the combined scores some teams might have received, had voting been open beyond the East Coast two-hour window.
If the judges are given the opportunity to save one of the bottom two couples every week, it could really switch things up. It can be the difference between a team going home early on and being able to stick it out to get to the finals. It's still unclear if the judges' new power will have that much of an impact on DWTS, but it could drastically change the course of the season.
Even though fans weren't able to vote for their favorite performances during week one, from here on out, their votes will count as long as they are able to get them in on time. But the judges' scores will still have just as much of an impact and it remains to be seen if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Dancing With the Stars airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.