DWTS Crew Supports Tyra Banks After Show Elimination Misstep: 'This Was Not Tyra's Fault'
Executive producer Andrew Llinares and judge Bruno Tonioli are showing their support for Banks, 46, after she accidentally named the wrong stars when announcing which pairs had landed in the bottom two during Monday night's episode of the popular ABC dancing series.
"I think Tyra dealt with it amazingly," Llinares told Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday, before adding, "I just want to be really clear, this was not Tyra’s fault. It was a behind-the-scenes issue."
Tonioli, 64, echoed Llinares' sentiments while also speaking with ET, telling the outlet that what Banks had printed on her cue cards was different from what she was hearing in her ear from DWTS producers in their control room.
"It's live television, things like this happen, especially with information coming in from all over the country, voting and calculating in such a small amount of time," he said. "Tyra was brilliant ... she was really good because she took control of the situation."
Monday night's episode ended with Banks accidentally calling out one of the wrong bottom two duos, as three dance couples were still onstage waiting to see if they would be sent home or go on to perform for another week.
After incorrectly announcing that Vernon Davis and Peta Murgatroyd were in trouble, Banks then said that there was "an error in our control room" and that she needed Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy — who believed they were safe from elimination — to come back to the stage, as they were the couple that was actually placed in the bottom two alongside Anne Heche and Keo Motsepe. Ultimately, Heche, 51, and Motsepe, 30, were the couple sent home at the end of the show.
"This is live TV. I was reading my cards, but my cards were wrong," Banks said during the episode "So here we go. ... And again, we apologize for this. This is live TV, and we're all human."
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Llinares then revealed to ET that he was in the control room when the incident occurred, sharing, "The votes and results coming in is one of the most dramatic moments in the show, but it was a little more dramatic than we were hoping for last night, in a very unexpected way."
"I think we were a little shocked and stunned by what was going on, but this is live TV and you have to deal with situations like this all the time," he added. "There was a technical issue as the actual votes were coming in last night. What happened was, Tyra actually had the wrong names on her card."
Llinares continued: "As soon as we realized what was going on, and we got the correct voting information, we immediately rectified that on air. We spoke to Tyra, we got her to guide us through that. I think she did an amazing job rectifying what happened live on the show. It's not an easy thing to do, what she did. There's a lot of undue criticism, I think, around Tyra. I just think she's doing an amazing job on this show. And I could not be more thrilled with the way that she dealt with this moment on the show."
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Llinares also told the outlet that he will be attending meetings "with everybody that's involved in our voting to make sure that nothing like this happens again."
"We're figuring all that out," he said. "We've never had an issue like this before and we're very confident we won't have an issue like this again. But we are definitely going to take measures to make sure we're in a really rock-solid place around this moving forward."
"We're so thrilled with where the show is," he added. "I think the competition is tighter than I think it's ever been this early. It's an amazing cast, they're so so talented. I feel like we’ve got a really exciting competition that's starting to kick in. So, we're super excited about that."
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.