USMagazine, Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 12:01pm (PDT)
Dancing With the Stars judge Len Goodman may have been shocked by pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy's outburst over his Monday night critique, but fellow pro Lacey Schwimmer applauds her pal for having the courage to speak up.
"A lot of us wish we would say stuff and we never do -- we're afraid of it," Schwimmer, 23, told Us Weekly backstage after Monday's show, where Chmerkovskiy went off on Goodman after he called his rumba with Hope Solo their "worst dance of the season."
"Regardless of what Maks said, and if he hurt people's feelings, he had the courage to stand up for him and his partner, and I think that is amazing. It's hard to hear your friend bullied by three people who we're supposed to respect," she continued, referring to DWTS judges Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli. "It's unnecessary and rude, especially with all the bullying going on in the world."
Calling DWTS "my show," and arguing that he "helped make it what it is," Chmerkovskiy later explained himself to The Hollywood Reporter. "Len is the only one who comes from a ballroom background, and I really respect his opinion," he said. "I've danced for 27 years, and I've won more titles than Len ever even participated in."
Schwimmer -- who, along with the show's other pros, outline their weekly choreography -- says she has encouraged her celeb partner, Chaz Bono, to have a thick skin when accepting critiques.
"[I tell Chaz to] expect the worst. I'm not going to speak poorly of the [judges'] profession or what they have done in their careers, but they have no business saying the things that they do," Schwimmer seethed.
Bono, 42, wishes the judges could offer him more constructive criticism.
"It's a bit insulting. One judge in particular week after week paints me as this... I don't know... chubby, cuddly little Ewok, little penguin. That's not about my dancing," Bono argued. "If you want to talk to me about my dancing and how I can improve, I have no problem with that. That would be fine!"
Adds Schwimmer: "This is a dance competition, not a favorites competition and you guys clearly know who the favorites are. It's very obvious."