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Dancing With the Stars: Here is how the tiebreaker works

Mel C and Olivia Jade in a tiebeaker on Dancing With the Stars
Mel C and Olivia Jade in a tiebeaker on Dancing With the Stars. Pic credit: ABC

Fans left Disney Week on Dancing With the Stars confused.

There was a double elimination and that meant three duos went into the elimination process.

Matt James, Kenya Moore, and Brian Austin Green were the bottom three teams when it came to a combination of judge’s scores and fan votes.

The lowest judge’s scores of the three went home immediately, and Brian Austin Green and Sharna Burgess left the ballroom without a chance.

That led to the judges choosing to protect one of the remaining two couples.

Updated with the Dancing With the Stars rule clarification on October 20, 2021

The same thing then happened again with Mel C and Olivia Jade and fans are getting frustrated with their confusion of the rules.

Mel C had two votes to keep her and Olivia Jade only had one. When it came to Len, he voted Olivia and Mel went home.

Disney Night controversy on Dancing With the Stars

There are four judges and three of them come to a decision on who they want to protect.

For this situation, Bruno Tonioli chose to protect Matt James. Carrie Ann Inaba chose to also save Matt and Lindsay. However, Derek Hough chose to save Kenya Moore and Brandon.

This made it two votes for Matt and Lindsay and one for Kenya and Brandon.

While that seemed to settle it, Tyra Banks sent the vote to Len Goodman to determine the “tiebreaker.”

Len chose to keep Kenya Moore and Matt was eliminated.

The voting was 2-1 and fans were confused at why there was a tiebreaker needed at all.

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The problem is that Len Goodman is a judge too and he gets to vote. It is not just three judges voting each week. Len gets a vote too.

How the tiebreaker works on Dancing With the Stars

The biggest problem here is calling it a tiebreaker to begin with.

This is not really a tiebreaker.

Len Goodman is the Head Judge, which means his decision is the ultimate one.

The previous week, there were only three judges as Derek Hough stayed home when he was exposed to someone with COVID-19.

It came down to Kenya Moore and Christine Chiu. Bruno and Carrie Ann chose to keep Kenya. When asked, Len said he would have kept Christine, but his vote made it 2-1 for Kenya, so Christine went home.

In Kenya and Matt’s case, there were four judges, so there could be a tie since all four judges get a vote.

With the first three judges, Derek wanted to keep Kenya, so that made the vote 2-1 before Len had a chance to cast his vote.

Len Goodman gets a vote every week no matter what the other judges decide. He is a judge too.

Since there was one judge who disagreed, Len made his vote. He voted to keep Kenya Moore, and that is what made it a tie.

If there is a 2-2 tie (which there was for Kenya and Matt and then was again the next week with Olivia Jade and Mel C), Len’s vote is the one that is the deciding one.

That is because he is the head judge and if there is a 2-2 tie, his vote decides.

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It might be better to not call it a tiebreaker in the future or use different wording, but this is how the rules on DWTS work.

Dancing With the Stars airs on Monday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting...read more

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