DWTS Exec Producer Conrad Green Talks to Entertainment Weekly on New Format

And it sounds very much like he’s been reading PureDWTS again. :-) Check it, from EW.com (click the link to read the whole thing):

How clued-in are the judges to the popular vote?
The judges have never known those figures. They’ve never seen a single vote. There’s two voting documents — one comes from the phone company and one comes from ABC.com, which includes the Facebook votes. We get those numbers and put them into a grid and determine the results from the control room, on the spot. It’s only me and [a representative of ABC's] Broadcast & Standards who see them. No one, even the upper execs on the show, ever see that document. And so while the judges might have the same opinion that anyone else has as to how popular certain couples are — they don’t know.

In practice, it’s kind of difficult for the judges because no matter what they do, they seem to get lambasted. Look, don’t get me wrong, all of us as viewers have our own opinion about scores that are given. Sometimes you go, “Really?” But then again, I’m not a dancer. They are from dance and they know this. And I kind of think you’re never gonna be able to give a score that everyone can agree on. You can tell that just by reading the comments below the line. People are furious that it was either too high or too low.

And the judging on this show is very difficult — we’re the only show where they have to hold up a number and be accountable for it. You could be fake, or damning, or warm — but you don’t have to be consistent. Our judges can say what they want. But then they have to hold up a paddle. So sometimes they’ll be trying to say something encouraging — they feel someone’s having a tough time, so they’ll say something quite nice… but then they’ll hold up a 7. And people say “Well why would you do that?” Well, because they don’t want to beat the guy up! The next week, they might give him an 8 but be more critical. It’s really tricky, because you also want to be able to encourage, give notes, plan improvement. And then there’s the question: Do you judge people relative to each other? Do you judge on just, that feels like an 8 to me? Or do you judge it relative to the contestant’s improvement?

I suppose it may always seem to angry viewers like the judges are “in on it” and orchestrating results.
The problem is, you can’t ever convince people that’s not the case because people just choose to believe that. It’s not the case. The whole point of this show — and it obviously is easier when the public votes after the judges instead of the public vote carrying over — but the point of the show is that the public along with the judges are picking the winner. So it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy for us. You want the voters to be involved in that process. This is why, when people say, “Well, the judges’ scores should carry more weight; it’s crazy if someone like Elizabeth goes” — well yeah, I get it. I’d have liked to see Elizabeth in the final, I must admit, because she’s great as a dancer. But then if the public really want other people there, I’m kind of fine with that.

Okay, Conrad – but you never give them hints?? I suppose those three might be smart enough to figure out who’s doing well and who to protect all on their own. But I can’t believe there is NO manipulation going on.

Love the bit of insight on how the Eastern and Central time zone make up most of the voting. Very interesting…