Burke did not specify what exact components of the reality dance competition would be affected by the shake-ups, but she did say producers are planning to "surprise and delight the audience in new ways" while maintaining "the same show that everyone knows and loves."
It's possible the format changes could affect DWTS' voting and/or elimination process, which many fans — and even some contestants — called for following the controversial 27th season. Plenty weren't pleased when well-scored frontrunners like Fuller House star Juan Pablo Di Pace and R&B singer Tinashe were eliminated prematurely, allowing more popular but less talented contestants like country music radio personality Bones and Bachelor in Paradise star "Grocery Store" Joe Amabile to live longer in the competition than some fans would have liked — with Bones and partner Sharna Burgess ultimately taking home the Mirrorball trophy.
Following his shocking elimination (where he scored a perfect 30/30 for both dances in the semi-finals), Di Pace voiced his support for a new voting structure. "Twenty-seven seasons later, maybe it is time for a refresh, a little nip and tuck. Maybe instead of being completely a popularity contest, it could actually be more of a skills contest. But who am I to say? I think the fans' outrage will probably work for something," he told TVLine at the time.
Even the judges had remarks following Di Pace's surprising elimination, with head judge Len Goodman speaking out against it. "Listen, I know the American people would like fair play, but mostly we like justice," he said. "And there's no justice here."
Fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba seemed to agree with Goodman, taking to Instagram to rant about the night's events.
"OK so I just walked in the door from the semi-finals of Dancing With the Stars, and I have to say I'm very disappointed with the outcome. Juan Pablo and Cheryl should be in the finale next week," Inaba said firmly in a video, scolding viewers for not sending enough votes Di Pace's way. "You guys need to vote, please."
In another video, she continued, "OK so I'm still on it about it, but it's like, how do you go home in the semi-finals when you've been the highest scorer and you just got a perfect 60?"
DWTS alum and Di Pace's Fuller House co-star Candace Cameron Bure, who finished third in the competition's 18th season, reposted Inaba's rant and even wrote that she might not ever watch the show again.
"Are you kidding me?! [Juan Pablo Di Pace] and [Cheryl Burke] are not in the finals?!!!!!" Bure wrote, in part.
She concluded her post with a threat, although she later edited it out of the caption: "[DWTS] - I may have to stop watching you."
As for what kind of changes are headed their way, viewers will have to wait until Dancing With the Stars' 28th season premieres in the fall in its usual 8 p.m. Mondays time slot on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless