Maks Chmerkovskiy, Len Goodman
"Maksgate." That's what ousted celebrity dancer Carson Kressley is calling the dust-up Monday night between pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy and two of the three Dancing With the Stars judges. "I do understand," says Kressley, "because you work really, really hard, and then you get some scores that you don't agree with and you just want to claw everyone's eyes out."
In this case, the overheated argument started after Chmerkovskiy and his partner, soccer star Hope Solo, finished their rumba. Head judge Len Goodman, again feeling that Solo hadn't fulfilled her potential, called it their "worst dance of the whole season." He then came down hard on Chmerkovskiy when the dancer tried to get the crowd to boo louder in response to Goodman's comments. "Don't start all that, Maks, because half the fault is yours."
But things really got nasty when Goodman reminded Chmerkovskiy that "I've been in this business for nearly 50 years." His response: "Maybe it's time to get out." That comment didn't sit well with judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who fired back: "Don't be disrespectful like that."
Solo's dance got a score of 20 out of 30, just one point higher than last-place finisher Chaz Bono. After the show, Chmerkovskiy was asked if he'd had it with the judges. "Yes, I've had it," he said. "I had it a long time ago. [Solo] doesn't deserve [to be treated like this]."
Keep in mind that this is week six, the first week of having to learn two dances, and the point in the competition where the mental strain and physical exhaustion really begin to show. Backstage, Chmerkovskiy wasn't the only pro who wanted the judges to eat their words. Lacey Schwimmer, Bono's partner, was equally angry about what she felt was the judges' disrespectful comments toward him. "They're unnecessary and rude," said Schwimmer. "Every week he gets referred to as an animal." (Judge Bruno Tonioli called Bono a "cute little penguin" last night. He has also referred to Bono as an Ewok and a Teletubby.) "And they always comment on his personality. Last time I checked, this was a dancing show."
"I'm actually proud of what Maks said tonight," added Schwimmer. "A lot of us don't get the chance to stand up for ourselves and our partners. I really took offense tonight, and backstage I started crying because I was so embarrassed and so hurt by what the judges said to him. Week after week after week, and tonight it was just the cherry on top. So we're just going to do it for the fans."
Bono agreed that "it just becomes frustrating after awhile. You feel like you get judged one way on the show, where other people get judged another way. In my case, it doesn't seem to be based on dancing, or improvement. I'll get bad comments or positive comments and still get the same score."
Kressley says he never felt bad about the judges' comments or scores towards him. "I always thought I was teetering on the edge [of elimination]. I know I'm not a very talented dancer. So if I got a 7, it was like, jackpot! People get very emotional when you put all that hard work into it. But it's nothing a back rub won't fix."
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