6. Michael Bolton vs. Bruno Tonioli, Season 11
This was awkward. Singer Michael Bolton was literally in the doghouse on Season 11, Week 2 when he and pro partner Chelsie Hightower did a jive to Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog." Michael took a risk by crawling out of a doghouse at the start of their routine — and the judges used the move to make jokes at his expense. Len said the dance "probably needed a pooper scooper as well just to finish it off," but it was Bruno's comments that really upset Michael. "It was a doggie mess of a Jive," Bruno said. "You did it all very, very, very badly. I think this is probably the worst Jive in 11 seasons." The audience booed, and Len jumped in to say that was unfair and maybe Bruno should keep some comments to himself. To add further insult, Bruno gave Michael a score of 3 out of 10, an almost unheard-of low mark. After being eliminated that week, Michael told "Good Morning America," "I was disappointed with Bruno -- to me, he let everybody down. My mom was there, she's 90, she flew down to see the show... and I just didn't expect that level of disrespect from him. I think he should apologize publicly and he should be reprimanded for it." That didn't happen. The producers defended Bruno in a statement to the press: "Bruno's role as a judge is to give his honest opinions on the quality of the dances he's judging, which is what he did in this case."
7. Maksim Chmerkovskiy vs. Len Goodman, Season 13
This was when we learned that DWTS is Maks’s show. What became known as The Broadway Week Brawl started when Len told Hope Solo her Rumba was her worst dance so far. Maks fed the audience’s boos. Len said he shouldn’t since it was partly Maks’ fault.
Len: “I've been in this business for nearly 50 years...”
Maks: “Maybe it's time to get out.”
Carrie Ann Inaba: “Don't be disrespectful like that.”
Maks said he wasn’t trying to be disrespectful, but everyone on the show works hard. 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.”
8. Jaleel White vs. Kym Johnson, Season 14
This was a weird one because we never got to see the rehearsal video. The initial story, out of Us Weekly, said Jaleel got into a "heated" argument with Kym during rehearsals, with Jaleel flipping out at Kym after he accidentally stepped on her foot. The story said he shouted at Kym and called her names and she left the rehearsal studio in tears. Both Jaleel and Kym said the report was blown out of proportion, but they did have a tense moment. After the show, Jaleel told Entertainment Tonight there were "a lot of distractions this week." So what about that story of their fight? Jaleel and Kym both rolled their eyes and shook their heads. "I'm going to let my wife answer that," Jaleel told ET. So Kym answered, "You know what, everyone has stressful weeks." She said she and Jaleel spar sometimes, "But it wasn't anything, you know, like, obviously a tabloid story.”
9. D.L. Hughley and Sharna Burgess vs. Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, Season 16
The comedians were under attack this spring, and they didn’t find it too funny. D.L. started the season feeling "humiliated" by the judges’ comments and low scores. On Week 3, he called the judges "bullies" and said he didn't want to be "a verbal punching bag." Things had a chance to get better on the Week 3 Results Show, when Len addressed D.L.'s frustrations. He didn’t have to apologize, but he could’ve softened the blows or at least said something encouraging. Instead, Len argued that he had been "kind" to everyone this season and was even "generous" in his comments to D.L. After the show, D.L. shared more anger to E! News, repeating his frustration at not being allowed to respond to the judges right when they speak. "I don't like the idea of somebody having a mic and me not," D.L. told E! "That to me is cowardly. What did I do? Did I dance so poorly that I made [Len] upset that I get to dance again? This experience is starting to be horrible for me. It's not fun. It's like going to school and the principal has it out for you. I don't need you to help me, just look the other way." D.L. got the last word when he was eliminated and told Len, “I watched you during the package and you need to work on your hip action. And the hip replacement Bruno said I should have, I’m willing to you.”
2. David Alan Grier vs. Carrie Ann Inaba, Season 8
Comedians can dish it out, but they can’t always take it. David Alan Grier and Carrie Ann Inaba were colleagues on In Living Color — he was one of the stars; she was an original Fly Girl — but that connection didn't help him on DWTS. Usually known as a fun and funny guy, David showed his competitive side when reacting to the judges after his Week 5 Viennese Waltz with Kym Johnson. Bruno compared one of his mid-dance leg lifts to "a dog at a lamppost." Carrie Ann said she knew this was frustrating for David, but she figured out the problem: To her, David and Kym weren't connected in their dance and that's what made it hard for the audience to connect with them. After David and Kym were eliminated that week, David really let loose — especially at Carrie Ann. "There's several people that can kiss my a--, but she's definitely the first in line," David told "Access Hollywood." "To stand up week after week and be humiliated by people who have no right to talk to me [like that]… I am proudest that I didn't climb across that table and slap the sh-- out of every one of those judges and that's my proudest accomplishment." Whew! The next day, Carrie Ann told "Access" she was shocked by David's rant. "People in the media have a responsibility to sort of set a path for the people that are watching, and I think he set a poor example for people," she said, adding that David did send her an email apology.
3. Len Goodman vs. Maksim Chmerkovskiy & Derek Hough, Season 10
Don’t go thinking Season 16, Week 8 was something new. Head judge Len loves to call out pros on choreography that doesn’t match his preferred cup of tea. Back in Season 10, Len spent some hate on Erin & Maks’s sexy Week 3 blindfold Waltz. “I never thought the thing was gonna start. … It was the most boring start I’ve ever seen.” On Week 4, he turned his angst on Derek. “You are taking the mickey out of us judges! Because that was not a Quickstep it was just a load of vaudeville.” Week 6, Len decided to diss both pros, starting with Maks for his sexy shirtless Samba. “I’m fed up, Maks, with shirts coming off, all this. She’s too good for that." He then dissed Nicole & Derek's Samba and his fellow judges in one fell swoop: “I think Carrie Ann is misinformed and judging from the noises (points to Bruno) I think you should be chloroformed. … I thought the line at the end was ugly. They were ugly legs. The gyrations I thought were surfeit the requirements. Derek, I judge mostly the Sambas on Voltas and Bota Fogos. I like to see them in the routine. Not one in there. Not one Volta. Not one Bota Fogo. I can’t accept it. It’s not a Samba it’s a hodgepodge of sexy moves and gyrations.” Yep, that sounds pretty familiar, right down to the use of “hodgepodge” to diss Derek’s Season 16 Paso Doble choreography.
10. Len Goodman vs. Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli, Season 16
Len blasted Kellie Pickler’s Trio Paso Doble with Derek and Tristan MacManus, arguing that it didn’t have enough Paso Doble content. Then he said something about Bruno having something stuck up his ass. (!) Derek told E! News he felt “blindsided" by Len’s Paso bashing — and their low score of 7, when the other judges offered 10s — because he saw Len earlier in the week and the head judge suggested some of the moves Derek actually used. Derek thought he had a leg up on the competition but it apparently backfired. But that just prompts a bigger question: Why was Len giving Derek choreography advice before the show? Is that normal? Is that fair?
Dancing With the Stars is like one big dysfunctional family, and sometimes Performance Shows turn into really bad reunion dinners. Over the years, we’ve seen fights from every angle — judges fighting each other, pros lashing out at judges, judges lashing out at pros or celebs, celebs and pros attacking each other, and of course the audience booing through it all. Sometimes the fights are uncomfortable to watch (Kate Gosselin and Tony Dovolani, anyone?) and other times they are like old married couple bickering (Erin Andrews and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, anyone?).
On the heels of Len Goodman’s Season 16 Week 8 rant against Derek Hough’s choreography and Bruno Tonioli’s ... um ... bum, here’s an angry stomp down memory lane with 10 of our favorite fights, in order of their appearance.
1. Shannon Elizabeth & Derek Hough vs. Judges, Season 6
This is the big mistake Derek learned from. On-and-off-screen couple Shannon & Derek really let us know how they felt about their Season 6 Rumba scores in the confessional rant that aired during the Results Show. Despite receiving 8s from all three judges, they were furious with comments that Shannon had no hip action. In the confessional, a tearful Shannon cried, "I did the hips! When I did the fan moves, I did the hips..." Derek was upset that the judges commented on their hip action when the other dancers were doing much worse. "What about the heel leads happening out there? What about the heel leads, the feet coming off the floor, the horrific, demented lines people are making out there — and you're giving them 9s and 10s? Are you kidding me?" Yikes! They took a lot of heat for that and Derek apologized publicly, saying he got caught up in the moment. The very next week they were gone.
4. Kate Gosselin vs. Tony Dovolani, Season 10
Obviously no list of fights is complete without Tony Dovolani walking out to the tune of "I quit" after an argument with Kate Gosselin. During their Week 2 Jive rehearsal to "I'm Still Standing" (until I walk out the door), Kate got frustrated with Tony's teaching style and Tony tried to defend himself. She said he wasn’t taking into account how she learns and he felt like she was insulting him. He walked out, then felt terrible about having a "weak moment" and returned. They got through their Jive and Kate said it just reaffirmed that neither she nor Tony were quitters.
5. Maksim Chmerkovskiy vs. Carrie Ann Inaba and Len Goodman, Season 11
Remember SpankGate? Len took issue with Maks’ tough love treatment of Brandy Norwood on Season 11, including giving Brandy a little smack on her tush. At the judges’ table, Len called Maks out about it and Carrie Ann even tried to spank him, which Maks told E! was “an absurdly disrespectful thing for her to even think of doing.” Asked about the judges challenging his style, Maks told E!, “There's no reason to comment on my teaching methods. Their job is to assess a celebrity's dancing at that moment. I just feel the judges take it upon themselves to judge way more than they are supposed to — and it's a shame. But it is what it is. I feel like it takes away from what the show is and Brandy's experience.”
Andy Dick also faced some tough love from the judges, but it didn’t bother him as much as it upset his protective partner, Sharna. She was particularly riled by Bruno’s Week 7 comment about wanting to forget Andy’s Rumba. "I'm mad because yes we do have the judges that say your commitment, your heart, your this and whatever, and then we have this one judge that likes to stand up every week and tells jokes to be mean and be funny. [...] There was not one week when [Bruno has] given us a dance criticism. There isn't. Every week, if you go back and look at it, it's 'Oh you're Woody Allen,' 'Oh you were frantic,' 'Oh you were Cloris Leachman.' Now you want to forget the dance entirely. Last time I checked, this was a dance show."