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Maks vs. Len: 'Dancing With the Stars' Contestants Speak Out

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 25th 2011 6:15AM
Maks and Hope Solo, 'DWTS'The oft-shirtless Maksim Chmerkovskiy's always filled the role of 'Dancing With the Stars' bad boy, and he can be relied upon to have at least one big outburst each season, with his anger usually directed toward head judge Len Goodman. Last night he reached boiling point and again lashed out at Len after he criticized Maks' and partner Hope Solo's rumba.

When Maks questioned Len's credentials, the head judge said "I've been in this business for nearly 50 years," to which Maks quipped "Maybe it's time to go." Things escalated after Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli tried to intervene, and Maks said "Everybody on that balcony has been dying and killing themselves only to hear your guy's a little judgmental comments [sic]. ... I am not being disrespectful, I'm protecting my partner."

Up until that point it was just between Maks and the judges, but then did the Ukrainian take it too far? When he told host Brooke Charvet that "With all due respect, this is my show, I help make it what it is," the look on fellow pro dancer Derek Hough's face in the background was priceless. So, what did the other dancers think of his outburst? And does Maks regret saying what he did?

Walking the post-show press line backstage the pro dancers and their celebrity partners couldn't help but address the incident. A calmer Maks told OnTheRedCarpet.com "I've had it. I've had it a long time ago. I just kind of kept it cool but, look, [Hope] doesn't deserve it." He then joked, "Look, whatever helps the ratings. You're welcome show!"

Maks previously told Len to shove it and accused him of being over the hill last year when Len criticized him for taking off his shirt -- again -- during a samba with then-partner Erin Andrews. The angry dancer told 'Us' that "Len is wrong one billion percent. ... This is what I do for a living! ... Don't tell me what I didn't do right because you're wrong! And if that means you're too old to be on this show and judge, then that's what it means."

'DWTS' has long been accused of being a popularity contest rather than a dancing contest, with the success of past contestants like Bristol Palin being attributed to a mixture of kid gloves from the judges and tactical voting on behalf of viewers.

It's something that has also plagued the mothership, BBC show 'Strictly Come Dancing.' In 2008 one contestant, veteran political journalist and truly terrible dancer John Sergeant, even had to quit the show because he was in serious danger of winning thanks to the public vote.

This season's bottom performer has consistently been the popular Chaz Bono, who did receive the lowest score from the judges last night -- 19 points vs. Maks and Hope's 20 -- and Maks wondered aloud to journalists last night why some far better dancers had already left the competition.

"What I've had of, I've had enough of being kind of separated -- Why isn't Carson [Kressley] here? Why no Kristin [Cavallari]? ... They were told that you should be better. You look like you should be better and then there were others that could barely walk and they were told, 'Well, you know what? I love your effort. I love your dedication. You really want to be here. I'm rooting for you.' A judge is supposed to judge."

Longtime 'DWTS' fan favorite Derek Hough disagreed with Maks' outburst. "You know, we're seasoned professionals. We've been on the show a long time and we know kind of know what to expect. We know the ins and outs. I think that to disrespect them, I think, is a little crossing the line."

However, Lacey Schwimmer backed Maks. "Generally speaking, Maks has the courage to say a lot of what a lot of the people on the show don't have the courage to say. So, good for him."

Nancy Grace was tactfully critical: "One of the hardest things I had to learn was when I appeared in front of judges for 10 years, was whether you agree with them or disagree with them, they are the judge. I found, in my life, that sometimes you have to be just as strong to fight back as to hold your tongue. It's a very very fine line and Maks did what he thought he had to do."

Top scorer J.R. Martinez said "He did go a little too far with it, but it is what it is." His partner Karina Smirnoff acknowledged that it was a hard act to follow, saying "we didn't concur with Maks' opinion."

Do you think Len Goodman's too old? Or do you think Maks is just being disrespectful?

'Dancing With the Stars' airs Mondays at 8PM ET and Tuesdays at 9PM ET on ABC.

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Actually it is Maks show as far as I'm conerned. Maks, Derek, & Mark make the show what it is, not the judges. If it comes to a showdown between Maks and the Judges, I'm behind Maks all the way! Mark has been quite verbal with the Len also, let us not forget! As far as I'm concerned, the only Judge that can't be replaced is Burno. CarrieAnn is bonkers with no real ballroom experience and Len is wayyyyyyyyy over the hill for modern day's interpretation. CarrieAnn's little sly remark about Maks smiling last night was sheer prevocation on her part. I rewound 3 times and watched his expression. Is she on drugs??? Does she not know that his face is being broadcast on live television for all to see???? That woman is clueless! Who can blame the pros for losing patience with them sometimes! I admire Maks for protecting his partner, these stars have feelings too!

November 16 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maks went a little too far but then he has a right to his opinion. AT least he had the courage to tell Len and if you check the shows record you will find that Maks never gets the top[ contender, it is always given to Derek. If you watch when a special dance is presented on the show, Derek is always the one who gets the opportunity to dance. Maks is just as good but he is never showcased like Derek. I hope Maks comes back next year , if not I will not watch lc

November 16 2011 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Getting a bit tired of CarrieAnne.

November 16 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The judges have ruined the show!

November 16 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally, I am probably going to quit watching after this season. It used to be so enjoyable, but not anymore. It seems like it is nothing but a Derek Haugh show. I still would like to know how he always gets the most experienced people as partners. Now i totally understand why the other professionals feel a little slighted somtimes. They all do a great job, but don't seem to ever have a chance at a win. This is about the people learning to dance, not the already talented and not just Derek. It was so much better in the beginning. Now I'm tired of all the judges, and frankly, I'm tired of Derek. He is a wonderful choreographer, but so are the rest, and they deserve a better chance than they get. And I think the judges are too rude anymore, instead of being more constructive. I think they try to persuade the votes the way they want them to go. I hope JR takes it all, or even Rob, he has come a long way. It would be sad to see Ricci win, she is too full of herself and say some of her own off the wall comments.

November 16 2011 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think that Len can be too critical, especially when he attacks the person. Example: when he told Nancy Grace that she was finished...Not an exact quote, but I think he was rude to her.

November 16 2011 at 9:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Fran's comment

What he did to Hope and Nancy - I feel like he should go. I do hope J R should win. He has come the farest and is the best as I see it. I don't think I will watch the next season. I can't take the brutal attacks on the 1st time dancers. Go Maks Go. I have so much respect for Maks for speaking out and putting Len in his place. They should tell them what they are looking for give good advice on what they should do. Its become a funny show, not dancing. Chaz can not dance but yet people went that should not have gone..........

November 16 2011 at 12:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thjis is what is great about our country....Freedom of Speech. Couldhe have said his coments to len more tactfully?,,,,perhaps, But.....there have been many a contestant that has worked hard, and has gotton nothing but harshness from the judges. David is an example......u could see his heart break when the judges ridiculed him in the beginning weeks....Bristol Palin sucked....what idi she geT???....treated with white gloves......It is what it is...own it Len...ya scewed up...

October 27 2011 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think any Judge who would tell someone that after a week of hard work at something they are not natural at, that that's the worst dance you've done so far SHOULD be told off. Did you notice the look on Hope's face when he said that. I'm sure their was another way to get HIS point of view across without crushing someone.

October 27 2011 at 5:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They all should be replaced. Get better judges than this clowns. Maks was brave and not be silent about Len's comment. It's not disrespectful. It's the judges comments that are disrespectful, discouraging, no tact, respect on their skills and all their negative comments. Some are offensive, i. e. lsuch as Chaz is like a penguin and ewok. What about Bruno, how does he likes when he give out his comments? Getting up the chair and speaking like a roaring . . . . . . . . .

October 27 2011 at 3:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Maks was right on.! Somebody has to tell it the way it is.

October 27 2011 at 1:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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