USMagazine, Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 2:23pm (PDT)
It's been two days since Maksim Chmerkovskiy sent shock waves through the Dancing With the Stars set after exploding at head judge Len Goodman over a "disrespectful" critique, and the show's pros are taking sides.
"I've been in this business for 50 years," Goodman argued after declaring Chmerkovskiy's rumba with soccer star Hope Solo their "worst dance of the season."
"Then maybe it's time to go!" Chmerkovskiy barked back amid their verbal battle.
Going on to declare 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."
Read on for what Chmerkovskiy's costars and colleagues have to say -- and if they're on Team Maks or Team Len:
Derek Hough, partnered with Ricki Lake: "As a seasoned professional, [he] should know not to do that. There's a certain amount of self control you should have. Last week, I knew going in it wasn't going to be our best dance. I don't get upset about it, I expect it and then I take it with grace and move on.
Lacey Schwimmer, just eliminated with partner Chaz Bono: "Regardless of what Maks said, and if he hurt people's feelings, he had the courage to stand up for 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. It's unnecessary and rude, especially with all the bullying going on in the world."
Tristan McManus, partnered with Nancy Grace: "People have reactions to things and everyone has their own opinion. That was his opinion and he felt like he had to verbalize it. Fair enough. That was his opinion. What he said was what he said."
Former DWTS pro Louis van Amstel: "As a pro, if you talk back to the judges it always makes you look like the bad guy, even if you're right. I’m not saying I agree with Maks, because I actually don't. Len never really explained why he said Maks was part of the problem, because he cut Len off. These discussions, in my opinion, are good because this was real. But, often times, Len blurts out statements that are so fabricated. I wish it was always real."
Chmerkovskiy's former partner, Kirstie Alley: "Maximus Aureius, hear you went all Gladiator at The Coliseum last night. Protected the Queen at all costs. Thumbs Up!! I Salute you!! xo"
Chmerkovskiy's brother, Val, eliminated with partner Elisabetta Canalis: "[Maks is] the most generous person I have ever met, and I don't mean towards me! Cowards say what people like to hear... Remember that he might be the only person that actually exposes his real emotions on this show."