11:47am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Dancing With the Stars' EP on Introducing the Elimination Duel, Potential 'All-Star' Season
For the first time in its 14-cycle history, ABC's Dancing With the Stars has been dispatching finalists with a new set of criteria.
The elimination duel, pitting the bottom two couples against each other in a simultaneous dance, has given the judges the opportunity to send someone packing based on something other than scores and viewer votes. And though the temporary twist ends Tuesday, executive producer Conrad Green sees it as a natural progression for the series.
"We're always trying to tweak and tune the machine," he tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I think the skill of doing it, when it works, is to try and put in things in that feel like they should have been there all along. It definitely adds excitement. ... We've had a dance-off before, but we'd never done it where they both danced simultaneously."
Although a definite change of pace, the duel has made the past two eliminations (Gladys Knight and Gavin DeGraw) somewhat predictable as it pitted them against much stronger performers.
"I think it's very important to fiddle with your format," says Green, "to try and bring new fresh ways of challenging our dancers and keeping the audience engaged. The key is to try and stick to the DNA of the show and not break the golden rules."
The duel comes on the heels of other new entries into the Dancing With the Stars program -- the "instant" dance, dance marathon and team dances -- that have become fixtures of recent seasons.
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And that might not be the only curveball coming from Dancing With the Stars. Mario Lopez, second runner-up in the show's third season, recently said on Live! With Kelly that he had been approached to join an "all-star" season featuring of former castmembers.
Green admits that a season of that kind has been discussed but wouldn't say much more.
"It's definitely an option for the future," he says. "I think it's something our fans would really like."