Relative Placement Scoring System

as published by the World Swing Dance Council

Explanation of the Relative Placement Scoring System

The Relative Placement Scoring System assigns an equal numerical value to each Judge’s raw scores, so that each Judge has an equal vote in the final outcome. Relative Placement is now widely accepted at major swing dance events and is the scoring system used for all competitions.

  1. Number of Judges Needed
  2. A minimum of 5 Judges is required for Relative Placement, but the use of 7 or 9 Judges is recommended.
  3. An even or odd number of Judges may be used for call‑backs in the preliminary and semi-final rounds. In Jack & Jill’s, half of the Judges may judge leaders and half may judge followers.
  4. An odd number of Judges are used in the finals to minimize the possibility of ties.

B.Preliminary and Semifinal Rounds

  1. In the preliminary and semi-final rounds, a call‑back system is used. In this system, each Judge selects individuals (in Jack & Jill’s) or couples (in Strictly Swing, Classic, Showcase) for call‑back to the next round, but does not rank them in any particular order.
  2. The Scorer converts each Judge’s selections into ordinals: 1 for all those selected, 2 for any alternates, and 3 for all those not selected. Contestants are then ranked according to the total number of 1s, 2s, and 3s received from the judges.
  3. The Chief Judge then determines how many individuals or  couples will be promoted to the next round. The decision is based on returning close to a predetermined percent of the contestants and/or where the natural break in the rank occurs.
  4. The Chief Judge’s scores are used only to break any ties.
  5. Tallying the Final Placements
  6. In the finals, each Judge must place every couple in rank order (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, etc.). In finals, with a large field of couples, the Judges will concentrate on placing the top twelve couples.
  7. Raw scores (9.5, 8.9, 7.6, etc.) are used only to determine a Judge’s order of placements. If a Judge submits only raw scores, the Scorer will convert them into ordinals, (1, 2, 3, etc.) for Relative Placement.
  8. Duplicate placements are not permitted. If a Judge mistakenly provides duplicate placements, the Scorer will alert the Chief Judge, who will request that the Judge in question provide unique placements for each couple.
  9. A couple must have a majority of Judges’ votes to be awarded a final placement.
  10. If no couple has a majority of votes, then the next placement  is added to the previous placements (1st through 2nd, 1st through 3rd, etc.) until a majority is reached.
  11. If two or more couples have an equal majority, then the numerical value of the ordinals for each couple is added. The couple with the lowest sum gets the higher position. If the sums for two or more couples are identical, then the next placement is added to the previous placements for those tied couples only.
  12. The Chief Judge’s scores are used only to break any remaining ties.
  13. Example of Relative Placement




J1     J2 J 3 J4 J 5 1-1 1-2 1-3 1-4 1-5 1-6
1 1 1 3 2 3 2 3 ———- ———- ———- ——–> 1
2 6 5 4 1 2 1 2 2 3 (7) 4 ——–> 4
3 2 4 1 5 5 1 2 2 3 (7) 5 ——–> 3
4 4 2 5 6 6 0 1 1 2 ———- ——–> 6
5 5 6 2 3 4 0 1 2 3 (9) ———- ——–> 5
6 3 3 6 4 1 1 1 3 ———- ———- ——–> 2
  1. In the example above, there are 6 couples competing. Because 5 judges are providing placements, a majority of at least 3 Judges is needed to award any couple a final placement
  2. Here, no couple has a majority of 1st place votes from the Judging panel. Adding the next placement and counting 1st through 2nd place votes, only couple #1 has a majority of at least 3 votes. Therefore, couple #1 is awarded 1st place.
  3. Counting 1st through 3rd place votes, only couple #6 has a majority of at least 3 votes. Therefore, couple #6 is awarded 2nd place.
  4. Counting 1st through 4th place votes, three couples have an equal majority of 3 votes. When the numerical value of the ordinals making up those votes is added, couples #2 and #3 both have the lower sum of 7, whereas couple #5 has the higher sum of 9. Couple #5 is therefore awarded the lowest final placement of the three couples, in this case 5th place.
  5. To break the tie between couples #2 and #3, it is necessary to count 1st through 5th place votes, Couple #3 has 5 votes, one more than couple #2. Couple #3 therefore is awarded 3rd place, and couple #2 is awarded 4th place.
  6. Couple #4, the only remaining couple, is awarded 6th place.

Special thanks to Andy Bouman and Ed Cirio of the Next Generation Swing Dance Club for their contribution in developing this document.

The World Swing Dance Council, 407 Dahlia, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 /  Email: / Web site: