“I just want to be really clear, this was not Tyra’s fault,” Llinares told “Entertainment Tonight.” “It was a behind-the-scenes issue.”
During Monday’s results, Banks called Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy safe, and then said the bottom two couples were Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe, and Vernon Davis and Peta Murgatroyd, who were on stage with a third pair, Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko. The new host then announced that there had been an “error in the control room” because Aldama and Chmerkovskiy were actually in the bottom two with Heche and Motsepe, and asked for the duo to return to the stage, where the judges eliminated Heche and Motsepe.
According to Llinares, there was a “technical issue” as votes were coming in — voting closes during the final commercial break — and Banks was given cards with the wrong names on them, which the supermodel did say on air. “As soon as we realized what was going on, and we got the correct voting information, we immediately rectified that on air,” he explained. “We spoke to Tyra. We got her to guide us through that.”
The EP thought Banks dealt with the mix-up “amazingly.” “There’s a lot of undue criticism, I think, around Tyra,” he said. “I just think she’s doing an amazing job on this show. And I could not be more thrilled with the way that she dealt with this moment on the show.”
Bruno Tonioli concurs, calling out the haters who are upset she replaced Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews. “Tyra did a fantastic job. She is doing it the way she wants to do it,” he said. “It’s a bit tiring, all the negativity, in not even giving people a chance. Just let her be who she is. It’s great to work with her.”
The results faux pas was the first of its kind in the show’s 29 seasons, and Llinares is now making sure that there won’t be a second.
“[We’re] having meetings today with everybody that’s involved in our voting to make sure that nothing like this happens again,” he shared. “We’ve never had an issue like this before and we’re very confident we won’t have an issue like this again. But we are definitely going to take measures to make sure we’re in a really rock solid place around this moving forward.”
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