Maksim Chmerkovskiy bills himself as the bad boy of the ballroom, but he also is based in a place where kissy-kissy, smiles and “have a nice day” aren’t the norm. Is it cross-cultural conflict as well as a little language difficulties that lead to last night’s blow up on “Dancing with the Stars”?
New York drivers are heavier on the horn than people from sunny California and in Los Angeles and particularly circles where Hollywood hopefuls and haves and have-nots inhabit, there’s a certain amount of saccharin sweetness. Add the stiff upper lip and propriety of an Englishman like Len Goodman and something is bound to blow.
Chmerkovskiy may have a point, but he might not have expressed it eloquently in English. Haven’t fans been a little uneasy since Bristol Palin? When Len Goodman told his celebrity partner Hope Solo that she had just performed her worst dance of the season, if only to protect his partner’s ego, Chmerkovskiy encouraged the fans only to be scolded by Goodman.
To be fair, Solo’s rumba wasn’t great; it wasn’t sexy, but at least Solo looks happy. She has such an electric smile, but it’s her footwork that is hard to watch.
So what exactly did Chmerkovskiy say?
It began with Goodman commenting, “This is your worst dance of the whole season.” He continued, after admonishing Chmerkovskiy for encouraging the audience boos, by saying, “I’ve been in this business for nearly 50 years…”
Chmerkovskiy couldn’t resist adding, “Maybe it’s time to get out…” Never lecture about age, but because younger bucks will catch you there.
Carrie Ann Inaba defended her fellow judge, admonishing Chmerkovskiy, “Don’t be disrespectful like that.”
Chmerkovskiy defended his comment by saying it hurts when the dancers and celebrities “hear you guys a little judgmental comment.” I think we can fault his English, but perhaps he meant the judges comments went too far.
Chmervkovskiy later said, “This is my show…I helped make it what it is” and he was tired of having the celebrities “judged on their so-called potential.”
We also had high hopes for Hope Solo and didn’t figure out that her biggest challenge was learning to walk in high heels and be girly.
Yet, don’t you think the judges are being a little bit too easy on someone like Chaz Bono? We found Bono a little whiny, particularly since he’s not the oldest contestant. He’s also not the first overweight contestant either. Are they being easy on Bono just in case his fan base gets him into the semi-finals just like Bristol Palin?
See the clips from “Access Hollywood” with Billy Bush and Kit Hoover
Bono was offended that judge Bruno Tonioli called him a “cute little penguin.” Bono and Schwimmer feel that the judges have a personal dislike of him. Seriously? Tonioli might have been unnecessarily cruel to singer Michael Bolton (“It was a doggy mess of a jive. You did it all very, very, very badly”), but he’s been quite kind and even indulgent to Bono in my opinion.
I think Goodman could have been stricter with Bono. Bono doesn’t have much personality on stage.
Chmerkovskiy has helped the show by voicing valid concerns before. Remember, Chmerkovskiy spoke out about that season when the dancers and the celebrities were being overworked. That was online and not on the show if I recall correctly.
That was the season Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson won the mirrorball. Season 9 the contestants were asked to perform: cha cha cha, jive, rumba, tango, paso doble, samba, waltz, quickstep, foxtrot, Argentine tango, Viennese waltz, salsa, salsa/Viennese waltz relay, foxtrot/cha cha cha relay, two-step/Charleston/bolero/lambada, hustle group, mambo marathon, team paso doble/tango, megamix and freestyle. Compare that to season 5. Marie Osmond made it to the semi-finals, but consider there were only these dances: cha cha cha, foxtrot, quickstep, mambo, jive, tango, Viennese waltz, paso doble, rumba, samba, and freestyle. That’s 11 dances during season 5 compared to 20.
Season 11 had only 15 dances, including one team and a winner-take-all cha cha cha. That season was won by Jennifer Grey who sometimes got tens when there were obvious missteps, but the judging seemed to be more generous when it became clear that Bristol Palin was going to make it to the semi-finals.
Chmerkovskiy’s partner that season was Grammy Award-winning singer Brandy. Brandy was cut, but Palin moved to the finals. Luckily the energetic and ever entertaining Kyle Massey with Lacey Schwimmer finished second. Chmerkovskiy’s partner during season 5 was Mel B who finished second behind Helio Castroneves (with Julianne Hough).
There are personalities that make DWTS interesting and certainly Maksim Chmerkovskiy is one of them. He makes the show interesting–in terms of choreography and his clashes with his partners.
Without personalities like Chmerkovskiy, Julianne Hough, Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani, Mark Ballas and Cheryl Burke, I don’t think the show would have been successful. Some of my acquaintances vote for the professional dancer and not the celebrity.
And when things get a bit dull, it’s good to have pros who liven up the situation (or even a judge like Bruno Tonioli). The judges and the professional dancers all had to have strong work ethics and will power and egos to get to the level of dance perfection they attained, so it’s not surprising that there would be some issues from time to time. Chmerkovskiy’s style isn’t so much unlike Anna Trebunskaya’s style of teaching. That brash bad boy behavior probably serves Chmerkovskiy well in New York, while the gentility of Goodman goes better with the Hollywood crowd. What do you think?