“Dancing with the Stars” bad boy Maksim Chmerkovskiy shocked fans Monday night when, angry about judge Len Goodman’s harsh critique of his performance with Hope Solo, he told hostess Brooke Burke, “This is MY show. I helped make it what it is.”
After the show, Maks justified his comments to the press and even threw more fuel on the fire, calling Len “an idiot.” But his former fiancée, fellow “DWTS” hoofer Karina Smirnoff, who dances with J.R. Martinez this season, dissed him on the red carpet and implied that Maks should take a chill pill.
When asked about Maks’ comments, Karina—who was engaged to the fellow dancer and Ukrainian from Dec. 2008 until they split in Oct. 2009—muttered sarcastically, “shocker!” and “not that we ever listen to him anyways.”
More seriously, Karina told Xfinitytv.com about Maks’ “MY show” declaration, “People have opinions and for some reason, we all think that we need to state our own opinion as if we feel the necessity of the world to know what our opinion is and at the end of the day, this show is not about that.
“This show is about dancing, about showing the teamwork or the lack of it thereof, showing the camaraderie between other couples, entertaining people at home, especially nowadays [when] we’re still struggling with the economy. It’s not about drama. Enough drama. We get it every day. This [show] is about happiness.”
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But Maks was spewing nothing but unhappiness after Monday night’s show, telling reporters, “I’ve had enough. Say ‘it wasn’t my cup of tea, it’s not my type of rumba,’ give us the score, we’ll take the criticism. Don’t tell me, ‘it was your worst dance of the season’ ‘cause you’re an idiot and you know it’s not true. I’ve also danced for 27 years and I’ve won more titles than Len ever even participated in. That’s not to disrespect his opinion because we’ve all been here for 13 seasons and they also judge [the English show] ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and I respect where they come from. I’m just not going to sit back and let my partner get disrespected. Me, personally, you can say whatever you want but they won’t.”
The dancer refused to back down, saying, “I pride myself on the fact that I never change. I think I got smarter, more educated, but the integrity is still there, my morals. I’m very clear with what I stand for.”
The veteran “DWTS” pro added “there’s a huge double standard” on the show. “Always has been. That’s why I keep losing amazing dancers in early rounds.
“The judges have their favorites, always have.“ When asked if the judges ever socialize with the dancers, Maks said, flippantly, “I don’t know. Maybe they hang with whoever their favorites are but I never hung out. I’m very cool with Bruno.” Perversely, he also claimed: “I’ve always been great with Len. Len’s the only one who comes from a ballroom background and I really respect his opinion when he talks about frame. [But] for Len to call me personally out like that [tonight] got me very upset.”
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And frustrated Maks doesn’t see any end to the tyranny of Len, Bruno, and Carrie Ann. “Judges are well-protected with their contract. We all started this together and…when you become big and number one, the network rewards you with a paycheck and a judge’s paycheck is very good.” But Maks didn’t mention the dancers’ paychecks!
The dance pro DID try to backpedal on his televised comments, however, saying, “I only have one regret—that there’s a headline saying Maks calls ‘Dancing with the Stars’ his show. I never said that.” Yes, he did, but we’ll let him continue: “ What I did say is that I believe, I feel like that it’s my show and together, with other pros, I dedicated six years of my life to this show and I helped make it what it is. But I never took it away from everyone else who participated. I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”
Meanwhile, Karina, who is a front runner with her partner J.R. this season, said the war veteran has had a great influence on her. “He makes me take whatever the judges say, whether it’s good or bad, find whatever they said that we can use in the studio and then apply it to the dance. You can’t change what they’re going to say, but you cannot let them affect you.”
“I give the people at home more credit—that they know good dancing,” Karina said. “When you watch, you know if it sucks or if it’s amazing. But we need the judges because they watch it from outside.”
Could Maks have been referring to Karina and J.R. as one of the judges’ pet couples? Karina smiled, denying she and J.R. were their favorites.
A couple of other dancers weighed in on Maks’ meltdown, with Ricki Lake’s partner Derek Hough saying, “We all had a laugh about that.” He added of Maks’ stand against the judges, “I think it’s a losing battle and you can’t argue.”
But Chaz Bono’s pro, Lacey Schwimmer, agrees with Maks that the judges can be cruel and took aim at the judges herself, most especially Bruno Tonioli, who has called Cher’s son some interesting names this season. “It’s hard to hear your friend bullied by three people that we are supposed to respect,” Lacey sighed. “They’re called names like animals and Ewok, a penguin…it’s just unnecessary. I actually lost it backstage and was crying because I was so hurt. Chaz is my friend and I’m sitting here listening to people say these things to him and it’s awful.” Chaz doesn’t appreciate the name calling, either: “That’s NOT about my dancing.”
Tune in Tuesday night to see the fallout from Maks’ ire—and for what promises to be a very interesting elimination!