Woz strikes back at 'Dancing' judges

Even with the lowest score Monday, Wozniak is not necessarily out of the competition.

Stung by his low scores in Monday's premiere of the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak struck back early Tuesday, saying the judges were "not in tune" with the public.

In a posting to his Woz.org Web site just hours after the conclusion of the season's debut, Wozniak thanked his fans, criticized the three judges and claimed he had the support of the press and his dancing rivals.

"Tonight the judges were not in tune with what the public likes," Wozniak said. "The press people that we talked with for an hour or so afterwards all told me that they cheered our dance, from their quarters. The dancers gave total support and indicated that we did great after our post-interview, and they did so for none of the other dances."

Wozniak and his professional partner, Karina Smirnoff, received only 13 points out of a possible 30 from the three judges, the night's lowest score.

"I don't know if it was hilarious or delirious," said one judge, Bruno Tonioli. "It was like a Teletubby going mad in a Gay Pride parade."

Wozniak acknowledged the Tonioli's Teletubby reference, but just barely. "All I heard was some teletubby comment, which might be valid," Wozniak said. "I would say that there is a big mismatch between the judges' votes and the audience responses. That might be a matter for the producers."

He also downplayed the judges' impact on the competition. "I went into the dances deciding in advance how little the judges' scores mean," Wozniak said. "Through the dress rehearsal, it was easy to see two equal performances getting very different scores."

Even with the lowest score Monday, Wozniak is not necessarily out of the competition. The 13 couples will dance again next week, at which point those scores will be added to this week's, then factored in with the by-phone and online viewer votes. The two couples with the lowest scores will then have to compete in a dance-off Tuesday, March 17.

According to the Dancing with the Stars site, couples are scored using a combination of judges' point scores and viewer votes. "Each week every couple receives points from the judges and votes from the public," the rules state. "For every couple, we work out the share they got of the points given by the judges on the night, and the share they got of the public's votes on the night and we add these two shares together. The couple with the lowest combined total is eliminated from the show."

Wozniak remained optimistic, perhaps because of an online campaign for viewer votes that includes a Facebook page, multiple Web sites and a Twitter feed.

"I truly expect, from things I'm seeing and hearing, that I may even wind up winning last night's contest once the online voting ends," he said.

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Gregg Keizer

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