Pop Culture

‘Dancing’ stars angry over Bruno’s Bolton slam

Sarah Palin may have turned up to “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday night, but the big story was the beat down crooner Michael Bolton got from one of the judges.

Bruno Tonioli enraged not only British judge Len Goodman, but also the contestants, after he said Bolton’s quickstep with Chelsie Hightower — set to Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” — was the “worst” dance he’s seen in 11 seasons. Brutal Tonioli ended up giving Bolton and Hightower a 3 out of 10, something that sent shockwaves among the celebrities.

“It was unfair, it was hard,” Margaret Cho told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson after the show. “I love Michael Bolton, he’s my buddy here and so it’s really tough.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen a 3 since Master P days,” professional dancer Tony Dovolani, who is paired with Audrina Patridge, told Robinson, recalling the hip-hop star’s disastrous season two appearance. “That was harsh. We had to actually dance right after [Michael and Chelsie], so it was hard to watch that because I know Michael wants to do this so badly, and I know the judges are there to judge, but they need to be encouraging.”

“It was harsh,” Patridge added. “It was kind of rude.”

Pro Louis van Amstel, who dances with Cho, said that while Master P’s poor moves were worthy of the low scores he received nine seasons ago, Bolton deserved a better mark.

“[Master P] deserved it; he wouldn’t even put on a pair of dance shoes. Michael, on the other hand, he did not deserve a 3 for effort alone,” van Amstel said.

“Jersey Shore’s” Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino was also affected by Tonioli’s low score and the judge’s words to the “Soul Provider” singer.

“I think that was harsh,” The Situation said. “Everybody in this competition is putting in their time, you see it all the time, all of us are there, we all support each other — and they gave him a 3 and I was like, ‘Damn!’”

Behind the scenes, Florence Henderson said that after Tonioli’s remarks, the singer wore his feelings on his face.

“He looked so down backstage,” she said. “We’ve all become friends and we root for each other and it hurt all of us.”

Dovolani added that he tried to cheer Bolton up.

“He was quiet, I walked up to him and kind of gave him a nudge to the shoulder and the guy thing like, ‘Hey!’ [I said to him], ‘That was really harsh what they said. I still think you have a lot of potential, you just need to find your niche,’ ” Dovolani recalled.

As for Michael Bolton himself, he said he enjoyed the actual dance, even if the scores weren’t those for which he had hoped.

“I had fun, I liked pulling out of the dog house, holding to the bone the whole dance,” Bolton told Robinon. “Sometimes, when you’re going to have fun, you can incur the wrath [of the judges] but you know, we took that chance and doing this show is taking that chance.”