Tony Dovolani Sounds Off on Carrie Ann’s Criticism of NeNe Leakes’ Dancing With the Stars Jive
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Dancing With The Stars

Tony Dovolani Sounds Off on Carrie Ann’s Criticism of NeNe Leakes’ Dancing With the Stars Jive

Who knew NeNe Leakes would be the less outspoken half of her Dancing With the Stars Season 18 partnership?

Tony Dovolani is justifiably proud of his resume as a ballroom dancer/teacher and he's not afraid to jump in during a judge's critique. Tony and NeNe performed the Jive on Week 2 and judge Carrie Ann Inaba said her advice for NeNe was that her arms could still be bigger. Tony jumped in to disagree, saying he didn't want her arms to be bigger in the Jive. Carrie Ann said she understood, but stylistically they looked too small for NeNe’s body. They disagreed on the right arm placement. In the Celebriquarium, Tony told Erin Andrews that the arm styling in Jive is specific. You're not supposed to extend your arms too far.

After the show, Tony explained his thoughts to On the Red Carpet, responding to their tease that Tony isn't afraid of the judges, he talks back to them. "I didn't really talk back, I just voiced my opinion; that's not talking back if you believe in something so strongly," Tony told OTRC. "'Cause a lot of times, people — they don't want us to say anything, but we have opinions too. Listen, I won my world championships knowing what I do. So when I taught her to do the things that [Carrie Ann] was criticizing — that's what I couldn't understand. That's not what Jive is. But I understand what she was trying to say, I think she should've chosen maybe different words."

Two-time DWTS competitor Gilles Marini recently recommended celebs just smile and nod, no matter what the judges say, but sometimes it's good to see pros explain their process. There's often a natural tension between the judges and the pros, especially since a lot of the judges' criticism is tied to what the pros have directed the stars to do. It doesn't mean the pros and judges don't like each other, but it's only fair for the pros to want to defend their teaching.

Are you glad Tony spoke back during the critique? What do you do when your stylistic choices are opposed to what the judges are looking for? Do you change what you do to try and get higher scores or stick to how you were taught is the proper ballroom technique?