Skip to main content

When The Bachelor’s Matt James got eliminated from Dancing with the Stars during Disney Week, there was outrage. Many questioned the new elimination process on DWTS, wondering why head judge Len Goodman has any say if the judges disagree in their votes on which celebrity to save. 

Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Dancing with the Stars pro Britt Stewart over the phone to get clarity on the elimination process. Here’s how eliminations work on DWTS

'Dancing with the Stars' judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli pose on the stage in the ballroom
Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli| ABC/Eric McCandless

‘Dancing with the Stars’ changes the style of eliminations

Previously, Dancing with the Stars relied on judges’ scoring and fan votes to determine who gets to stay. But in seasons 29 and 30, the elimination format changed a bit. The celebrity’s rankings on the leaderboard are still determined by the judges’ scores and audience votes. But instead of eliminating the star with the lowest overall score, the judges decide which celebrity they want to save from the bottom two. 

‘DWTS’ pro dancer Britt Stewart explains Len Goodman’s role when the judges vote who to save 

After the outrage some fans felt regarding James’ elimination, we had to clarify how the new process works. “The only time Len would not choose a couple to save is if Bruno [Tonioli], Carrie-Ann [Inaba], and Derek [Hough] all three agree on the same person leaving,” Stewart explained to us. “So [when James got eliminated], the reason why Len made the final decision is because the three judges had different opinions on who they thought should go home.” 

Because Goodman is the head judge on Dancing with the Stars, his vote is weighted and therefore worth more than the other judges. As Stewart explained it: “I think when they did it mathematically, it ended up being very close to a tie. [For example], Kenya’s [score was] 2.5 because Len has a weighted vote, and Matt only had two votes, so it was very close.” In the end, Goodman has the final call. 

‘Dancing with the Stars’ fans confused about Matt James’ elimination 

So far, four celebrities have been eliminated from the competition, including Martin Kove and Christine Chiu. On Monday, Oct. 11, two celebrities were eliminated from Dancing with the Stars Season 30: James and Beverly Hills 90210 star Brian Austin Green. Many fans were shocked the judges chose to save James over Real Housewives star Kenya Moore.  


‘Dancing with the Stars’: Britt Stewart Shares One Incredibly Important Aspect of Her Life Outside the Ballroom [Exclusive]

“Confused about the judges save,” a fan tweeted. “If Matt got two votes and Kenya got one, how did Len’s one vote save Kenya?? (Not that I think Matt deserved to stay over her, just very confused).” 

During the first two eliminations of the season, the judges were unanimous in deciding who to save. But Disney Villains Night was the first time the judges were divided this season. As Stewart explained, Goodman makes the final choice if the judges aren’t unanimous in their decision. 

Many fans in Bachelor Nation thought James and Lindsay Arnold could go all the way this season. Tune in each week to see who takes home the Mirrorball Trophy in season 30. 

Dancing with the Stars airs Monday nights at 8 PM EST on ABC.