'Reveal votes' says Dancing with the Stars judge

By Jonathan Marshall

He's clobbered the contestants, now Dancing With the Stars' new Mr Nasty is making a real song and dance about TVNZ not releasing the weekly public voting figures. Craig Revel-Horwood, a former judge of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing series, can't understand why TVNZ doesn't follow the practice of overseas networks and release details of the number of public votes that contestants receive on the top-rating show.

"It's good to know how many phone calls you've had and how many votes have been received," Revel-Horwood told the Herald on Sunday last week. "It would be good to release it. We always announce in London how many votes are received."

Since Dancing With the Stars first screened three seasons ago, TVNZ's policy has been to not disclose details of the number of votes in support of contestants. It claims its policy creates a fairer and more equitable voting system and does not compromise the integrity of the show.

But Revel-Horwood says the public has a right to know which contestants have the most support.

A year ago, the issue was raised by contestant and colourful Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

He claimed any voting system that did not tell candidates how many votes they received was little more than a "pathetic farce".

Former Labour MP and Dancing With the Stars contestant Georgina Beyer attacked TVNZ in 2005, after producers refused to reveal how much from each 99c text and 0900 vote went into each charity's coffers.

The Herald on Sunday has previously reported that only about one fifth - between 20 and 28 cents - per text or phone vote goes to charity.

Last Tuesday's Dancing with the Stars' season debut, including April Ieremia, Paul Holmes, Brendon Pongia, Megan Alatini, Suzanne Paul and Michael Laws, pulled the biggest audience number of any of the series' season openers. According to Nielsen Media Research, more than 785,000 viewers aged 5-plus tuned in, compared with 779,000 for the previous season's first episode.

Revel-Horwood, meanwhile, is denying suggestions he has been employed to spice the show up.

"A lot of people slag me off for saying that I'm like [American Idol judge] Simon Cowell, but that's completely untrue."

He said he was impressed with the candidates: "The standard is very high in comparison with the British celebrities, even though there are always some bad apples in the cart, which makes for good television."

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