Written by TV

Voting Openness on TV?

So John Sergeant has quit Strictly. Don’t say that I don’t cover the important issues of the day. What’s that about Congo or pirates off Somalia?
What I still find perplexing is the lack of openness in whole TV voting world even post the telephone voting scandals we’ve had over the last eighteen months or so. We regularly hear that more young vote in Big Brother than General Elections, yet unlike a General Election, where the full results are published, we never get that information in TV contests. Instead, we’re just told who wins or loses.
In Strictly’s case, the judges count for half the votes, and viewers the other half. Of the eight couples dancing, according to the judges John and Kristina came bottom with 1 point, while Rachel and Vincent came top with 8 points.
Suppose the perverse British public essentially voted in the exact opposite manner putting John top and Rachel bottom – both would end up with 9 points (as would everyone else).
But we never actually get to see the final numbers of voters to allow us to determine what the overall results are. All we know are the bottom two couples. So maybe John has been squeezing through by the skin of his teeth, or perhaps he’s been “walzting” through unimpeded such has been the strength of his fanbase. Who knows?
Producers are obviously loathe to publish the numbers because it might influence how people vote next time. But that’s precisely why we need to see it.
And thet gets me on to multiple votes. There are no obvious limitations for the number of votes any particular line can make. Why not? OK – a family sitting down in a household may all hold separate opinions and want to each vote (thus cancelling out one anothers’ votes – but hey…). But a limit of four or five votes per phone line would be easy to implement.
Interestingly, the US version of the show adopts a percentage format that means that a very low scoring couple is at an extreme disadvantage however popular they are. This is much better than the British system where even a big points gap might only mean you’re one point worse off than the couple immediately ahead of you.
Anyway, it’s all moot now, and frankly I don’t even care about it that much. It’s an entertainment show and not a dance competition. Although quite why the Beeb hasn’t quietly reinstated a regular version of Come Dancing in Strictly’s off-season, I’m really not sure. It’d surely be popular early on a Sunday evening. And I’m sure Anton would be happy to present…