'Dancing With the Stars': A Complete Guide to the New Ballroom Rules

ET breaks down all the new season 28 changes following Monday's premiere.

Dancing With the Stars is officially back, but is running a bit differently this season!

The beloved ABC series returned for its 28th season last week, debuting a new and improved set complete with a redesigned mirrorball trophy. Week two of the competition provided fans with even more insight into the show's updated format, which received plenty of reaction from viewers on social media.

Now, from the new voting tweaks to how eliminations will work, ET's breaking down everything you need to know about the new ballroom rules.


At the top of the show, host Tom Bergeron revealed that fans will still get to vote on ABC.com. But in addition, they'll also have the option to vote via text this season! "Viewers are allowed 10 votes per couple, per voting method," co-host Erin Andrews added. "Voting closes right after the final dance of the night."

The SMS keywords to text for voting are below:

Text ALLY to 21523 to vote for Ally Brooke
Text SAILOR to 21523 to vote for Sailor Brinkley-Cook
Text HANNAH to 21523 to vote for Hannah Brown
Text JAMES to 21523 to vote for James Van Der Beek
Text KARAMO to 21523 to vote for Karamo
Text KATE to 21523 to vote for Kate Flannery
Text KEL to 21523 to vote for Kel Mitchell
Text LAMAR to 21523 to vote for Lamar Odom
Text LAUREN to 21523 to vote for Lauren Alaina
Text MARY to 21523 to vote for Mary Wilson
Text RAY to 21523 to vote for Ray Lewis
Text SEAN to 21523 to vote for Sean Spicer


Tom also announced the brand-new tweak to the voting system that "changes everything."

"For the first time ever, the judges will be able to save one of the bottom two couples," he revealed.

This was put into place for the first time during Monday's show. In no particular order, the couples announced safe were:

Lamar and Peta
James and Emma
Ally and Sasha
Karamo and Jenna
Sean and Lindsay
Hannah and Alan
Sailor and Val
Kel and Witney
Lauren and Kleb
Kate and Pascha

That left Mary and Brandon and Ray and Cheryl as the bottom two couples. Taking both week's dances into account, the judges' saved Ray and Cheryl, sending Mary and Brandon home. This marked the first elimination of the season.

ET spoke with judge Carrie Ann Inaba following the show, where she candidly spoke about how she's feeling about the voting changes.

"I'm a little stressed out by it," she admitted. "It's hard at the end to choose who we want to save. But you know what's good about it, we've had people in the past that were amazing that went home suddenly. That is what we are trying to avoid here."

"So even though I don't like it, it makes me a little bit nauseous, it's really important to do," she added. "And I'm happy we have the opportunity."


Although Keo Motsepe and Daniella Karagach were announced as pros during the cast reveal on Good Morning America last month, the two were not paired up with celebrity dancers, which means they have zero chances of taking home a mirrorball this season.

In an exclusive interview with ET, Keo explained what exactly they'll be doing this season.

"I'm a full-on pro, so pretty much the same as someone who has a partner, but without a partner," he explained. "If you watch Strictly Come Dancing [the U.K. version], they don't have a troupe -- it's just pro dancers all around. So me and new pro Daniella [Karagach] will be doing that this season. We'll be doing special numbers, we'll be doing opening numbers, and obviously, if something happens to any of the pros or celebrities -- knock on wood -- her and I will step in. We're always ready to go, and we'll be in other people's numbers."

"I'm very positive. I always find a way to see something good in a bad situation somehow," he added. "Not having a partner doesn't change the person I am, and it doesn't make me less than anyone else on the show. It actually makes me better as a person because this is my time now to showcase my dancing with Daniella. We get to show people why we're on Dancing With the Stars, and I'm excited to do that."

How do YOU feel about all the new format changes? Which team will you be rooting for this season? Let us know on Twitter (@desireemurphy_ and @etnow) and share your thoughts in our Beyond the Ballroom Facebook group.