“Dancing with the Stars” found itself with a tie at the top of the leaderboard once again on Monday night, but it was sparring between one of the judges and one of the professional dancers that took center stage on Monday night’s competition show.
Jennifer Grey and partner Derek Hough, and Brandy and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy sailed past their competition for the top spots, but Maks was the one in the spotlight, exchanging words with judge Carrie Ann Inaba, following the pair’s last dance of the night.
The “Dancing” fracas happened in the last few minutes of the show, as Carrie Ann criticized Brandy and her partner for not starting their instant dance – a cha cha to “Teenage Dream” — instantaneously.
“I’m kind of shocked you took like, four eights to begin your choreography when musicality should come easy for you,” Carrie Ann said.
“Relax, don’t worry about it,” Maks instantly chimed in.
The two began talking over each other – with Carrie Ann suggesting that the couple wasted time and that Kurt Warner, who waltzed to No Doubt’s “Hella Good” just minutes before, did more moves on the dance floor.
“Kurt did more dancing,” Carrie Ann said as she raised her voice and repeated herself to be heard over Maks, who continued to defend his moves with Brandy. “Kurt did more dancing than you did; he got right on the first beat, Maks.”
After suggesting Carrie Ann should only give them a score of 7 points for the number, Maks said, “It’s all on me, I take the blame.”
“Good, I’m glad you do,” Carrie Ann responded with a quick smile, as the audience in the “Dancing” theater reacted in shock, some booing and some making startled “ooh’s” over the spat.
Judge Len Goodman complimented the pair’s number, but later, when pressed by show co-host Tom Bergeron for his view on the verbal fracas, said he agreed with his fellow judge.
“I think Carrie Ann was actually quite right. I would have like the routine to have started – instant dance, you know and that’s what we want to see, you come out, get on the floor and dance,” Len said.
Last week, Maks had complained about the instant dance, which found the pros and stars given their dance ahead of time, but not their music until the night of the show, leaving them to prepare backstage in about 40 minutes.
Despite the disagreement, Maks and Brandy still received good marks. The pair took 9s from Carrie Ann and Len and a 10 from Bruno Tonioli who said, “I loved it” as he held up his score panel.
The pair then added 28 to their earlier waltz score of 29, putting them in a tie with Jennifer and Derek for an overall score of 57/60.
Jennifer and Derek earned their hefty, tying score thanks to a combination of a 27-point scoring quickstep, which Bruno called “vintage Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire,” and their instant dance (a rumba to Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You”), which got a perfect 30.
Not far behind the leaders was the energetic duo of Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer. The fun-loving pair scored just one point below the leaders, due to their charming Viennese waltz, which netted 27 out of 30, and their instant dance (a jive to “Good Golly Miss Molly”), which brought home another 29 points for a total of 56/60.
Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya took fourth, with the NFL star expressing his disappointment after receiving three 8s for the couple’s aforementioned instant cha cha to No Doubt’s “Hella Good,” for a total of 48/60.
“It’d be nice to get something better than an 8… but I guess we’ll keep trying,” he said.
Although she was cheered on by her dad, Todd Palin, who was in the audience, and inspired by a trip home to visit her mom, Sarah Palin, and her son, Bristol Palin still landed in last place with partner Mark Ballas.
The pair’s first number – a super-sexy tango earned 24 points, but the pair struggled with their instant dance, Bristol being the one star singled out for her lack of musicality on the surprise song – Sergio Mendes’ “Mas Que Nada,” a tune she admitted to never having heard before.
“I don’t think you were connected with the music,” Carrie Ann said as Bristol and Mark ended with 47/60 for the night.