Historically, Dancing With The Stars fans from around the globe have flocked to Facebook to support their favorite couples, but that's a thing of the past: for undisclosed reasons, show producers opted to ax all international votes for season 23, according to information posted to the show's official site.

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DWTS bigwigs quietly implemented the change and remained mum on the issue even after the premiere aired Sept. 12 on ABC, leaving long-time non-US based fans eager to help choose the next Mirrorball Trophy winner flummoxed by the puzzling development.

Fans lament change in DWTS voting rules

Show fan Claire Charness shared her displeasure with the change via Twitter. Charness, who has routinely voted for her DWTS faves "without restriction" from her home in Canada, expressed frustration that doing what she's done for 20 straight seasons is now considered "dastardly cheating."

Tweeter @Johitaa echoed Charness' sentiments, writing "That's true, i live in Argentina and i used to vote via facebook for YEARS," while @TeamSharnaB opined that the decision "doesn't make any sense!" The change could be particularly bad news for @TeamSharnaB, whose aim is to promote IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe --who happens to be from Canada-- and Sharna Burgess during season 23.

IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess are competing for the Mirrorball Trophy on 'DWTS' season 23. Chuck Carroll/Wikimedia Commons
IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe and Sharna Burgess are competing for the Mirrorball Trophy on 'DWTS' season 23. Chuck Carroll/Wikimedia Commons

Making the decision to eliminate all but US-based voters even stranger is the fact that more than half of the DWTS season 23 pro roster is comprised of dancers with international roots. Seven of the 13 dancers, including Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Emma Slater, Sasha Farber, Artem Chigvintsev, Sharna Burgess, and Gleb Savchenko, hail from other countries.

Stranger still, numerous former Dancing with the Stars contestants --including season 21 winner Bindi Irwin and season 20 fan favorite Robert Herjavec-- are from other countries, and the new rule would effectively preclude their friends and families at home from casting votes. DWTS reps had not yet responded to a request for comment as of press time.

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Dancing with the Stars voting controversy?

Despite the change in policy, some international fans found alternate means of voting for their favorites on Dancing with the Stars season 23 premiere night. Although she was vilified by one outlet for promoting VPN voting, Courtney of the well-regarded fan site PureDWTS vehemently defended the method, noting that US-based voters have used it to lend support to celebrity contestants on the show's international versions --including the UK's Strictly Come Dancing-- for years without issue.

As she reasoned via Twitter, there are ways to block VPN voting, so if DWTS wanted to do so, they certainly could.

Twitter user @Doehotm seconded Courtney's remarks, noting that she's been "Been voting via VPN for the past 6 seasons... For LOTS of different shows."

Dancing with the Stars season 23, which features week one leaderboard co-toppers James Hinchcliffe and Laurie Hernandez among its star-studded cast, airs Mondays on ABC.

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