I have mixed emotions about the new format. On the plus side, I just love being able to see my favorites again (Mark, Neil and Pasha). And it pretty much assures each contestant won’t have a partner who will handicap them. On the negative side, those three in particular distract me from watching the contestants. So it is not fair to the contestants. Not to mention that it means only having a top 10 (or 11). And I miss being able to have more new dancers to get to know.
Maybe a compromise would be to go back to a top 20 (or go halfway with a top 14 or 16) and then, like American Idol, have a Tuesday and a Wednesday night performance show, with the girls dancing one night and the guys the next, paired with All-Stars. Once we get down to the top 10, then drop the All-Stars and go back to pairing up the contestants. At that point, there shouldn’t be anyone left who will drag their partner down.