Following Monday’s tense war of words between professional ballroom dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy and the judges – particularly, Len Goodman the fellow ballroom pros and stars weighed in on their spat.
Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson caught up with the dancer in the center of the ballroom storm after incident.
“I never regret anything in my life,” Maksim said when asked about his tense exchange, where he defended partner Hope Solo’s performance. “I told Len he should retire about 10 years ago, and he did. He got on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and we respected him.
“I respect everybody’s opinion, but the biggest plus about the fact that I am a United States citizen and I live in this country is the freedom of speech,” he continued. “I believe that there’s been many occasions where a celebrity has been judged based on their so-called potential, and not on the performance tonight. That’s all I said.”
Maks’ partner, Hope Solo, was happy he was quick to defend her, telling Shaun, “I respect people with opinions, and he has an opinion. He had my back, and I’ll have his back any day.”
Derek Hough also weighed in with an opinion — however, one Maks might not be happy with.
“He’s going to hate me for saying [this,] but he might have been [out of line,] to be disrespectful like that. We all get picked on for little things, we all get nitpicked, but we don’t say anything,” the fellow pro told Shaun. “You just kind of swallow it and take it. I do understand that passion, and when you’re on edge and that happens, things come out. I understand that part as well. So I’m two minds about it.”
Cheryl Burke said she can also see both sides of the argument.
“I feel for him, because he’s my colleague. We’ve done this show since the second season, and so has he,” she explained. “We put in so much work, and it’s hard to take criticism personally from the judges. I understand kind of where they were both coming from.”
J.R. Martinez told Access, “The judges are here to judge us. Sometimes, certain comments can be taken harshly. They’re here to give you constructive criticism… They’ve given me constructive criticism, and you just have to kind of take it as part of the show, and as part of what comes with the whole platform. Sometimes you go a little too far.”
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Meanwhile, Lacey Schwimmer told Shaun that she identified with Maks’ frustration with the judges, explaining that she also felt at times her partner, Chaz Bono, received harsh criticism from the judges.
“Just because the judges particularly don’t like [Chaz] for how he looks or his personality or how he does things better than a lot of people on the show… he did a great job,” she said. “They always make comments about what he looks like. They always make comments about his personality and it’s not about that. It’s a dancing show!”
“I’ve been called different animals by one of the judges several times,” Chaz told Shaun. “I feel like that’s disrespectful.”
“It’s unnecessary and it’s rude and it’s bad taste,” Lacey added.