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‘Dancing With the Stars’ Votes Cause Confusion — How Does Tiebreaker Work?

Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate

Len Goodman Dancing with the StarsABC/Eric McCandless

Disney villains night on Dancing with the Stars was certainly dark and mysterious. Viewers were left confused after the second elimination of the night came down to a tiebreaker vote. There are four judges on the show and only three of them voted before Tyra Banks called for head judge Len Goodman to break the tie. Make it make sense!


Brian Austin Green and Sharna Burgess were the first couple sent home in the double elimination. They did not look shocked at all. They received the lowest number of viewers’ votes and judges’ scores of the week. Their elimination felt very underwhelming as the pair walked quickly off the stage. Then came the really confusing part about the second elimination.

Divided Judges Votes Cause Outrage During Double Elimination on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Matt James and Lindsay Arnold, and Kenya Moore and Brandon Armstrong were the two couples who received the next lowest amount of votes. It was left up to the judges to save one couple. This system was implemented after Bobby Bones shockingly took home the Mirrorball Trophy in Season 27. If the first three judges are divided, head judge Goodman casts the deciding vote.

Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba both voted to save James and Arnold. Derek Hough voted to save Moore and Armstrong. With two votes in favor to keep James and Arnold, and one vote in favor of Moore and Armstrong, Banks announced that the judges were “divided.” Goodman got the chance to choose which couple he wanted to stay. He chose Moore and Armstrong which sent James and Arnold home. Nothing but confusion ensued online about the Dancing with the Stars tiebreaker.


“Ok @mattjames919 and @lindsayarnold just got ROBBED!! I need someone to explain this tie breaker rule and how 2-1 is considered a tie???” one confused viewer wrote on Twitter.

Moore and Armstrong had been in the bottom two the week prior and were shocked that they got to stay in the competition. One thing that became immediately clear is that Goodman basically has the final say in who goes home. Unless the judge’s votes are unanimous, the decision will always be left in his hands. Known as the strict and Simon Cowell-like judge, his opinions are often disagreed with online. Does Goodman have too much power as the head judge on Dancing with the Stars?

Goodman is Calling the Shots with Double the Power

If you are one of those people that gets up to get a snack during the Dancing with the Stars results or scrolls through TikTok, it may have initially looked like James would be staying. Even he didn’t look too concerned after getting two votes from the judges. Most of us probably weren’t paying too much attention to the split vote. It appeared that he had it in the bag.


Unfortunately, getting the majority of the Dancing with the Stars judge’s votes actually does not help a contestant out as much as you would think. Getting Goodman’s stamp of approval is what everyone is striving for. His vote basically counts twice. Banks could have chosen her wording better so she did not confuse viewers at home.

“I need dancing with the stars to explain how this saving vote works,” another viewer wrote on Twitter. “How does a 2-1 vote call for Len to make a final decision? Its not a tie? Len just made it tie…it makes no sense. They gotta fix that.”

Since Goodman leaned towards keeping Moore, his initial vote created a tie. Because his vote has double the power, he tilted the results to three-two in favor of Moore. Even though there are four judges, a contestant really needs Goodman on board to keep them in the competition. This will always be the case whenever the other three judges do not agree.

The Dancing with the Stars fanbase is still split over Goodman’s decision and Banks’ lack of explanation of the judge’s votes. Some think James was “robbed” especially after proving himself with his Frozone Quickstep. The problem here is that the viewer’s votes are completely disregarded. Breaking a “tie” should always go back to viewers’ votes as it does on America’s Got Talent.

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About the Author

Samantha Agate

Samantha Agate is the Talent Guru here at Talent Recap. Her work has been featured at The Blast. Samantha graduated from Hunter College in 2019 with a degree in Media Studies and a Concentration in Journalism. When she isn't binge-watching reality television shows or binge-eating fried food, she loves hanging out with her friends and family and petting puppies.

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Ruth Prince
Ruth Prince
1 month ago

There was no tie, Olivia and Vale had two votes and the Spice gril only had one vote so how was that a tie make it make since, or Tyra can not add

Ellie Vikhan
Ellie Vikhan
1 month ago

It made no sense why Len voted at all. There was no tie.  It was already 2-1 in favor of letting Kenya go. How is this right???

AmyGuertin
AmyGuertin
1 month ago

 hy

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