October 25th, 2011
10:35 AM ET
Leave it to Maksim Chmerkovskiy to provide the water cooler moment of this season's "Dancing With the Stars."
The talented but occasionally hotheaded pro went at it with judge Len Goodman after Len referred to Maksim's dance with Hope Solo as "the worst dance of the whole season," adding that Maksim was partly to blame for the poor performance.
After Len reminded Maksim that he's been involved with the dance business for some five decades, Maksim suggested that maybe it was time for Len to retire. Maksim then had words with Carrie Ann Inaba after she criticized him for acting inappropriate toward Len.
Speaking to co-host Brooke Burke Charvet in the "celebrity skybox," Maksim went off again, saying that "DWTS" was "my show," and that he "helped make it what it is."
The dance in question was a rumba done to the music from the Broadway musical "Rent." The storyline heading into last night's dance for Hope was her struggle to perform in a less "masculine" style and display more femininity in her routines. But last night looked to be a step back for Hope, as her moves looked robotic and she had Maksim do much of the dirty work.
The judges, while critical, did commend Hope for working hard, with Len noting that he "never lost faith" in her. But the dance, alas, was not up to the standards she showed in previous weeks.
Hope Solo: 20/30 (Carrie Ann Inaba 7, Len Goodman 6, Bruno Tonioli 7)
So when all is said and done, who is to blame for this dustup?
It's clear watching Maksim that, while a gifted dancer, his blowups clearly do not help the cause of his celebrity partners. This isn't the first time Maksim has had a row with the judges, and it likely won't be the last. He also comes off as a foul-mouthed bully toward his celebrity partners during practice sessions, but crafty editing could be to blame.
Nevertheless, watching Maksim go off on people and then acting later like it's "water under the bridge" is disturbing. Perhaps ABC would be smart to rest Maksim for one tournament and make him work out his anger issues before returning to the show.
The judges must also take some blame as well. The scoring this season has been quite inconsistent - see the Chynna Phillips "brain lock" incident as an example - and suggests that favoritism is at play.
To top it off, the language that some of the judges have used to describe the performances can be inappropriate. Bruno Tonioli referring to Chaz Bono last night as a "cute little penguin" during his critique of the transgender activist's tango was particularly insulting.
Finally, ABC must also take the blame for not reigning all this nonsense in. With ratings down 20 percent in the 18-49 demo compared to last year, perhaps fans are starting to grow tired of the playground fare.
So how did the other six celebrities do on "Broadway Week"?
Rob Kardashian was the first to perform last night, and he did a cha-cha to "Walk Like a Man" from "Jersey Boys." Once again, America's sixth-favorite Kardashian looked more confident and charismatic, but there were times where he appeared stiff and unsure.
Len Goodman praised Rob for a clean and precise dance, but warned that it lacked rhythm. Carrie Ann Inaba noted that Rob was no longer a boy but not yet a man, but the more she tried to clarify this, the more perverted it started to sound.
Rob Kardashian: 22/30 (Inaba 8, Goodman 7, Tonioli 7)
HLN legal eagle Nancy Grace was up next, and she dressed as a Medieval Times extra to perform a foxtrot to "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life" from "Monty Python's Spamalot." The music alone earned this routine a "10" in my book.
Nancy really stepped up her game this week. She mentioned in practice that she had to step up her choreography if she wanted to advance, and she definitely did that. The routine was easily her most challenging dance of the season, but Nancy managed to handle it well.
Bruno Tonioli praised Nancy for doing a classy dance with a silly song, while Carrie Ann congratulated her for "proving her wrong." Grumpy Len questioned Nancy's foxtrot technique, leading to Bruno and Carrie Ann going after Len!
Nancy Grace: 24/30 (Inaba 9, Goodman 7, Tonioli 8 )
David Arquette did a quickstep to "We Go Together" from "Grease," and he looked good maintaining proper pose throughout the routine. Like Rob, he's visibly showing improved confidence week after week.
Len called the dance "rough around the edges" but fun, while Carrie Ann said David looked out of sync at times.
David Arquette: 23/30 (Inaba 8, Goodman 7, Tonioli 8 )
We're now up to Ricki Lake, who stumbled last week after three straight weeks at the top of the dancing charts. She's looking to get back on track with a quickstep set to the music of "Guys and Dolls."
Ricki managed to maintain a decent hold throughout the routine, and she doesn't struggle at all with the high-energy moves required from the dance. The result was a well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd and two of the judges (Grumpy Len preferred to keep his seat).
Len said Ricki's motor was on overdrive, adding that he loved the routine. Carrie Ann called the dance "poetry in motion."
Ricki Lake: 29/30 (Inaba 10, Goodman 9, Tonioli 10)
Chaz Bono had to follow up on Ricki's judge-pleasing performance with a tango performed to "Phantom of the Opera." Once again, Chaz gave it his all and looked to be having fun. But once again, it seemed to take a while for Chaz and Lacey Schwimmer to get the routine going. Chaz may have also erred by wearing the patented "Phantom" mask through most of the routine.
The judges agreed that while Chaz tried hard and looked aggressive, the choreography seemed flat and the music didn't fit his style.
Chaz Bono: 19/30 (Inaba 7, Goodman 6, Tonioli 6)
After Hope Solo's routine, J.R. Martinez was the final celebrity to compete and, once again, he delivered, performing a quickstep that was fast-paced and breezy. He may be the only celebrity dancer this season to hit his mark week after week.
Len Goodman said J.R.'s quicksteps may be one of the best in the history of the show, yet he only gave him a "9". What warrants a "10" in Mr. Goodman's eyes?
J.R. Martinez: 29/30 (Inaba 10, Goodman 9, Tonioli 10)
The seven couples then performed a group dance that wasn't scored. The judges were quick to praise Nancy, Ricki and Rob for their work as a group.
What did you think of last night's "Dancing With the Stars"? Who will be eliminated tonight? And who do you blame for "Maksim-gate"?
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