The Bonus Cha-Cha: Did It Make a Difference on 'Dancing with the Stars'?
The Bonus Cha-Cha: Did It Make a Difference on 'Dancing with the Stars'?
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
During the season 12 semi-final eliminations on Dancing with the Stars, Ralph Macchio was sent home. The popular actor had the lowest scores of the night (by a wide margin) and hadn't been dancing so well since that knee injury, so it wasn't a shock. Still, many thought that the star's fans might pull him through.

What happened? Was it the cha-cha?

This season, Dancing with the Stars decided to introduce a "winner takes all" cha-cha during the semi-finals. The move gave the better dancers a chance to earn 15 extra points, all but ensuring a place in the finals. Not surprisingly, the points were won by Chelsea and Mark, a couple whose scores have been surging in recent weeks.

Chelsea was assured a place in the finals with her cha-cha, but would she have been eliminated without it? That's not so certain.

No one would argue that Ralph Macchio is more popular than Chelsea Kane. After all, who, outside of diehard Jonas Brothers fans and Disney Channel viewers, had ever heard of the girl a few months ago? But she's a good dancer -- a really good dancer. Those viewers who vote based solely on the performances would have given her some support. She was never going to get as much support as Ralph (who wouldn't vote for a charismatic, entertaining, nice actor from a beloved movie?), but Chelsea had a shot.

During the semi-finals, that shot might have been enough. Prior to winning her 15 extra cha-cha points, Chelsea had already earned 58 points for her standard dances. That's 10 points more than Ralph -- not an insignificant margin. Ralph might have overcome the difference, but it would have been tricky.

It's also important to remember that Chelsea wasn't just given those extra points. They could have easily gone to another dancer, making Chelsea's elimination even more likely. But she won them, and she won them fair-and-square.

The winner-takes-all cha-cha was definitely designed to keep certain dancers on the show. After all, who doesn't think that the concept appeared in response to Brandy's semi-final elimination last season? High scores and brilliant performances weren't enough to keep the singer in the face of massive Bristol votes, so it's no wonder the producers wanted a potential solution.

Did it work? Did the results work out the way that they "should?" Or did the Dancing with the Stars producers blow off viewers in order to advance their own agenda?

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(Image courtesy of ABC)