Backstage at Dancing With the Stars: Maks Makes Peace
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya
Here's what you didn't see on Tuesday night's Dancing With the Stars after former NFLer Kurt Warner was drop-kicked from the show and the cameras stopped rolling: Pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy breaking away from the group hug around Warner, going to the judges' table and putting his arms around Carrie Ann Inaba, who had roundly criticized the beginning of his choreography on Monday night. They stayed that way for a long moment, talking privately into each other's ears.
It seemed to restore peace in the Dancing neighborhood, at least for now. Says Chmerkovskiy, explaining his unusually heated reaction to Inaba's comments, "We're not robots that they let out of the closet for three months twice a year to do the show. We put in a lot of hard work and dedication. Carrie Ann's been at our throats for the last couple of weeks and I was just kind of sick of it."
"I was never bothered by what Maks said," says Inaba, standing outside her trailer moments later. "But am I tired of the ranting? Yes, I'm tired of the ranting. I think everybody is."
But pro Tony Dovolani, who considers Maks his best friend, says he understands completely why it happened. "It's very difficult at this point in the competition because all the professionals have put so much into it, so much emotion, so much hard work. For the public to think it's always going to be nicey, nicey, that just isn't real."
Dovolani says that frustration comes with the territory. "It's hard keeping your celebrity positive, because they do a pretty good job defeating themselves. So you want the judges to give you some encouragement. And when they don't, that's a little hard to take."
"Maks took it personally, and he shouldn't," says judge Bruno Tonioli, who himself was under fire earlier this season for making barbed comments about Michael Bolton, who also took it personally and demanded an apology — which he never got. "We are there to say what we think," says Tonioli. "If we stop being truthful, we'd be useless."
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