The AP asked if it’s gotten harder for the judges to critique routines on ballroom technicality when the dances have become more artistic — not only with added styles like Contemporary, but with more props and "supersized" elements.
Julianne noted, "When I was on the show competing if I used a chair longer than three seconds…" Bruno Tonioli piped in, "Oh, you used to get hammered." Julianne continued, "You got hammered. It was all about the technique. ... I think it was harder (in the past) to be honest.” Carrie Ann Inaba admitted, “We were harder. The first five seasons we were pretty tough." However, Bruno noted, “But at the same time the show has evolved. The dances have gotten better. The kids have learned how to teach. It's harder to judge because creatively they are extraordinary.” Julianne said the pros have to learn how to be choreographers, teachers, and therapists.
They acknowledge it puts a lot of pressure on the pros, but it’s interesting that they seem to agree that the judges were more strict with the technical criticism and boundaries in the early seasons. Is that relaxing of the strict rules a good thing (nitpicking can be frustrating, and the celebs aren’t meant to be ballroom pros) or a bad thing (they’re not consistent in acknowledging the ballroom framework of the show)?
Dancing With the Stars Season 20 premieres Monday, March 16 on ABC.