Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough’s paso doble (with guest dancer Tristan MacManus) was a real spectacle on "Dancing With the Stars" Monday night -- in more ways than one. Not only did the flashy routine get the audience out of their seats, it also brought the judges to low-blows.
Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli loved the routine and proved it with 10s. But head judge Len Goodman saw it differently -- the dance was too flashy lacked enough pure paso moves for him. He gave it a mere 7 points, and he gave his fellow panelists a piece of his mind.
While it's rare for Goodman to use profanity (as he did toward Tonioli at one point in the evening), pro dancer Mark Ballas believes that Goodman showing utter disdain for certain routines is business as usual on "Dancing With the Stars."
“I can name three other times Len’s done this,” Ballas told TODAY after the show. “He did it last season when Derek, Shawn Johnson and I did our trio dance (with the jungle theme); he had a meltdown when I wore clown makeup in a dance with Chelsea Kane and again during our wizard number. Len just doesn’t like theatrics.”
Hough wryly maintained that the arguing among the judges gave him a scary childhood flashback.
“Mom and Dad are fighting again,” he quipped. “Not in front of me, please!”
On a more serious note, Hough doesn’t believe that the judges’ feud was based in reality.
“I was saying before we even danced tonight that the judges’ (remarks) felt really contrived,” Hough candidly offered. “(Their comments) felt a little thought through. That’s how I felt, but that’s just me. I’m just really happy with the way Kellie danced tonight, and I’m really proud of her.”
In fact, Hough was so pleased with the routine he simply laughed off Goodman’s score.
“Nothing could have taken (how I felt) away,” the three-time mirror ball champion said.
Did Goodman have a point in his critique?
“He may have,” mused Valentin Chmerkovskiy. “(But) no one really heard what he said because they were too focused on his outburst and unprofessionalism.”
Peta Murgatroyd didn’t think Goodman was correct in his assessment. “He did not have a point,” Murgatroyd, the show’s season 14 mirror ball champion, said. “There was so much paso in that dance. Len says he wants it to be entertaining, but he also wants it to be a strict competitive paso.”
Murgatroyd thought that Goodman was only joking when he said he didn’t like the dance.
“I thought he’d say all the harsh stuff followed by ‘…but it was amazing!’ But he didn’t say anything like that," she noted.
Hough feels that both Goodman’s tirade and the positive comments by the other judges are all mostly forgotten by now, and that voters only recall the great dances that they saw.