He’s as cuddly as a cactus. He has garlic in his soul. He’s Len Goodman, the head judge on Dancing With the Stars, and we love him. We’ve spent all season chronicling Grumpy’s weekly harumphs and here’s our season roundup with the best of the bunch.
Len vs. Ron Artest & Peta Murgatroyd, Week 1
Metta World Peace had the first dance of Season 13 and it set a bad tone — at least forLen. "It's a new season, we've got a new set, but it's the same old shhh-immying about,” Len said as the semi-scandalized audience “oooh”-ed then booed. “For me, it lacked Cha-Cha content, your footwork was atrocious. It was all sizzle, no sausage, I'm afraid." It was not his cup of tea. As Tom Bergeron put it, "Welcome back, Len!"
Len vs. David Arquette & Kym Johnson, Week 2
Len should’ve called in sick on Week 2 ‘cause he was in a foul mood. Then again, because of that, this week provided some of his best grumps of the season. One of those moments came after the third dance of the night, David and Kym’s Jive. Len put on his best toddler pout and muttered “I’m almost speechless, if I’m honest. Ain't it time for Castle now?” That's harsh, man. "Any connection that had with a Jive was a coincidence.”
Len vs. Carson Kressley, Week 2
None of the judges really liked Carson’s wobbly Quickstep with Anna Trebunskaya. As Len put it, "If I held my knife and fork like you held Anna, I'd starve to death." To soften the blow, he added "The trouble is, the worst dancers on this show are the most fun to watch." Um, thanks?
Len vs. Karina Smirnoff, Week 2
Many fans thought J.R. Martinez & Karina’s show-ending Jive was the best routine of the night but Len dismissed the style of dance entirely. "What's on the label is not in the tin. I was looking for a Jive and you gave me a Lindy Hop here." The audience booed him and he got annoyed with the audience, but by that point it was Len vs. The World.
Len vs. Chaz Bono, Week 2
Proving he really is the King of the Backhanded Compliment, Len told the injured Chaz that he admired his grit and determination for getting through the routine. Claps! However, "the bottom line, it's a Quickstep and I've moved faster through the car wash." Slam!
Len vs. Carson, Week 4
Apparently an expert on the subject, Len said of Carson’s pirate-themed Viennese Waltz: “It was like childbirth — terrible while it’s happening and a joy when it’s over.” Yikes. Amid the boos, Len said the dance had no finesse, no quality of movement and no technique. He summed things up with one of his classic backhanded compliments, telling Carson — despite the horror of his technique — if he were at home, he’d vote for Carson himself. Gee, thanks Dad.
Len vs. Nancy Grace & Tristan MacManus, Week 4
The King of the Backhanded Compliment gave a zinger to Nancy and Tristan’s Paso Doble: “Well your dancing is competent but I can’t get excited because it’s not exciting. No real performance, lacked expression. It was OK but I can’t get excited about it.” When Len, of all fuddy duddies, calls your dance boring, it has to smart.
Len vs. Hope Solo & Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Week 4
Len was just not on the Maks train this season. The judges have commented before about partners sparring in rehearsals and this week Len went off on two counts. He told Hope he gets frustrated (and no, Tom, not just because of his age!). She could go all the way in the competition, but he wants more commitment from her as opposed to her soccer practice and marathons and all the other stuff she did during the week. He also didn’t want all of Maks’ bleeps and swearing in front of Hope. Of course he swore himself and it was bleeped out, so he didn’t set the best example.
Len vs. Carrie Ann Inaba, Week 4
In an odd turn of events, Carrie Ann decided to play Len and say J.R.’s Pink Panther Foxtrot had too much humor. It fell a little flat for her and she even thought she saw a lift. Well! Len decided he didn’t want to sit between Carrie Ann and Bruno anymore. He wanted to take his ball and go home. He shouted that J.R. was the best male dancer of the night. The routine had just enough humor without going slapstick. He thought it was fabulous. But he was so mad about Carrie Ann’s critique that his compliments fired out like insults.
Len vs. Carrie Ann, Week 5
This was a fun one. First, Len gave David and Kym some nice (backhanded) compliments about their Tango, saying he could talk about their hold and “this and that,” but at this point in the season, contestants have to either show up or shut up. David merely showed up. Len’s temper also showed up after Carrie Ann countered that David’s hold improved. Len started waving his hands around in disagreement and — in an unusual move — Carrie Ann decided to shut him up by giving him a kiss on the cheek. She said she disagreed with Len — to her, David needed to work on his musicality. Everything else was there. He was more steady on his feet. Len wasn’t going to sit still for that. He jumped in with “No, no, this is not a romantic dance!” He went on about the aggression of the “Tainted Love” Tango as Carrie Ann tried to talk over him about musicality. Tom jumped over to the judges’ table, saying “Kids, kids — when we all talk at the same time, we hear nothing!”
Len vs. Derek Hough, Carrie Ann and Bruno, Week 5
Every so often Len likes to challenge the choreographers. His favorite targets are Derek Hough, Maksim, and Mark Ballas. Mark was gone and Len pointed his pencil at Maks last week, so it was Derek’s turn. Bruno was the first to talk after Ricki Lake’s Foxtrot, but Len was giving the loudest nonverbal critique, bowing his head and scrunching up his face in an obvious “This was not my cup of tea” statement. Len wasn’t into Ricki and Derek’s Roger Rabbit and Running Man moves. He began his critique with “No one likes funk like I do...” but had to pause to deal with the guffawing Bruno and Carrie Ann. “Why do I have all this,” he complained, pointing to his fellow judges. However, he continued to Derek, funk is not something that he appreciates in the Foxtrot. In addition to that, in the hold there was no body contact.
Len vs. The Kardashians, Week 6
Len basically rolled his eyes at Rob Kardashian’s sister Khloe, who shouted out the suggestion that he give Rob a “9.” “Dream on, sweetheart!” Of Rob’s actual dance Len said, “There was no rhythm. It wasn’t oily. The Cha-Cha-Cha [is supposed to be] cheeky and oily. It was all a bit stiff and starchy.” He gave Rob a “7.”
Len vs. Nancy, Carrie Ann and Bruno, Week 6
Len applauded Nancy’s increased personality in her Spamalot Foxtrot but he didn’t rave the way Bruno and Carrie Ann did. “The Foxtrot, a certain amount of the dance has to be in hold and that part of it wasn’t so good,” Len said, “because your posture wasn’t there you footwork wasn’t there. So as much as I liked the razzle-dazzle...” The audience started booing. As everyone booed and Len made faces, Carrie Ann repeatedly shouted “Broadwaaaaay,” to illustrate the importance of entertainment this week, and Bruno told Len, “It was Monty Python!” Len turned to him and snapped, “It’s a Foxtrot, sunshine!” Carrie Ann’s score is always revealed first, and when she raised her “9” paddle for this dance, Len’s eyebrows went through the roof. He gave it another “7.”
Len vs. Hope and Maks, Week 6
This was The Broadway Brawl. Len said Hope’s Rent Rumba was her worst dance so far. Maks fed the audience’s inevitable boos. Len said he shouldn’t, since it was partly Maks’ fault. He never got to explain why, just saying “I've been in this business for nearly 50 years...” Maks jumped in with “Maybe it's time to get out.” Carrie Ann defended Len, saying, “Don't be disrespectful like that.” Maks said he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, but everyone on the show works hard and they shouldn’t be disrespected either. In the Celebriquarium, he reacted none-too-kindly to the low score of 20 out of 30 including a “6” from Len — the same score Len gave to Chaz Bono’s Phantom of the Opera Tango. “With all due respect, this is my show. I help make it what it is,” Maks said. “I love every professional that’s ever been here and I love every celebrity that puts effort into every week. Having said that, I’m a little tired that we’re being judged some on effort and some on being picked on for heel leads. That’s all I’m saying.”
Len vs. J.R., Week 7
Len had harsh Daddy Is Disappointed words for J.R.’s Ghostbusters Tango. “To me this performance is sub-standard to what I expect from you. It’s your own fault! The last three weeks you have set such a high standard for yourself that our expectation is — this dance, the Tango of all the ballroom dances is perhaps the easiest regarding the footwork because it’s nearly every step is a heel lead. And you virtually did none. You were concentrating so much on the razzmatazz and the performance, you forgot to work on your feet.”
Len vs. Team Tango, Week 7
Maybe the Tango just wasn’t J.R.’s dance. He got a double shot of Len’s bad medicine, first with his troubled Ghostbusters routine and then as the captain of Team Tango. Len liked the group work by J.R., Nancy and David, but they were all trashed in one fell swoop when he declared “Each one of the individual performance was a disaster.” Awesome. Thanks.
Len vs. J.R., Week 9
J.R. twisted his ankle in rehearsals, and his Paso Doble with Karina suffered. Len didn’t soften the blow, saying, “Well, it is what it is. Certain dances suit you, certain dances don’t, and for me this dance didn’t suit you at all.” The crowd booed and he put his arms out saying “J.R., please believe me. It was more zero than Zorro.” He then raised his voice in irritation, adding that J.R. was too hunched over. “This is a proud dance! This is the dance that the man dominates!”
Len vs. J.R., Week 10
Len is all about tough love, and even though other contestants have been more vocal in crying foul, Len has been especially tough on J.R. This week, Len took issue with J.R.’s admittedly imperfect Cha-Cha-Cha. Len said it was brave that J.R. did a lot of the dance solo, however, “J.R., this wasn’t that good.” He said there were a lot of mistakes and he went off time. Then, even though he was J.R. and Karina’s mentor for the week, he gave them another “7.”
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