You’re not the only one outraged by how “Dancing with the Stars” Season 27 shook out. Season 19 champ Alfonso Ribeiro is just as dismayed and is calling for an overhaul to the voting system that saw Juan Pablo Di Pace leave in the semifinal and Bobby Bones pull off the biggest upset in the show’s history.
“They’ve got to change the voting on the show. Personally, that’s just my opinion,” Ribeiro told Yahoo Entertainment. “It’s a shame because Juan Pablo Di Pace was by far the best dancer, the best celebrity, on the show this season. And he goes home in the semifinals. Perfect 10s. He’s gotten more 10s than anybody else on the show and he goes home. There’s something wrong with the show when that happens.”
Di Pace and Cheryl Burke were axed in the double elimination in the semifinal, along with Joe “Grocery Store Joe” Amabile and Jenna Johnson, despite nabbing two perfect scores that night — their fourth and fifth of the season. Bones, the self-professed worst dancer of the season (Grocery Store Joe says “hold my beer”), made up a 15-point deficit on Di Pace through fan votes to make the final, where his massive fan base came through again to overcome this low scores to give him and Sharna Burgess the Mirrorball trophy.
SEE 6 ways to fix ‘Dancing with the Stars’ before it’s too late
The scoring system as is gives 50-50 weight to scores and fan votes, and Ribeiro, who currently hosts “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” understands the even split. “I get the reasons why they do it the way they do it,” he says. “I was part of it, I get it. [But] there’s a time where you gotta go, ‘OK, the best dancer shouldn’t go home.’ They gotta get it right.”
While “Dancing” has had shocking eliminations of Di Pace’s or Tinashe‘s caliber before, there were none on Season 19, where Ribeiro and his partner Witney Carson were the frontrunners from the start, topping the leaderboard six times and earning five perfect scores. But that was in 2014, when “Dancing” had a larger viewership than it does now; a smaller audience means fewer people voting. The erstwhile Carlton also believes many viewers get complacent with the top contenders, so they back the underdog.
“I think what ends up happening is a lot of people think, ‘Oh, I don’t need to vote for them because they’re so good they’re automatically gonna be there. I just want to continue seeing this person,'” Ribeiro says. “And that person who has no business being in the finals ends up in the finals. You hurt your own show by doing it.”
His suggestion? Borrow a tactic that works “way better than what we do” from the U.K.’s “Strictly Come Dancing,” where he served as guest judge last month. The BBC series has the bottom two couples perform again, and the judges ultimately decide who goes home. “It eliminates the best dancer, the best person on the show, [from] going home early because they’re not a fan favorite,” Ribeiro notes. “They’ve got to change the voting on the show.”
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