Throughout the season, fans have been critical of judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s scoring of Kaitlyn and Artem, with some even suggesting that she was intentionally scoring them lower than the other contestants due to her past romantic history with Chigvintsev.
Acknowledging and shutting down that fan-spread speculation, Chigvintsev’s fiancee Nikki Bella revealed that Chigvintsev created a video apologizing to Inaba after he took some of her critiques personally.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Chigvintsev commented on Inaba’s low scoring and critical comments about Bristowe’s dancing, remarking, “At this point it starts being a little personal, I feel like. I feel it’s definitely, maybe not a different standard, but I feel like it’s different expectations. I don’t know. I’m watching back the dance itself, it’s like, ‘Oh, you can kick sharper!’ Well, I can say that about everybody who dances on the show today. I don’t know. It’s really odd.” In response, supporters of Artem and Kaitlyn began confronting Inaba on social media for her judging and criticism of Kaitlyn’s progression as a competitor.
Last week, during the semifinals, Artem and Kaitlyn got a perfect score of 60 out of 60 for their two dances; Inaba gave them a 10 both times.
Chigvintsev’s Fiancee Nikki Bella Encouraged Him to Apologize
Following the backlash on Inaba, Nikki Bella told Us Weekly that she and her fiancé argued about it. She said, “He and I, like, kind of bumped heads on that… And then I really got in on him and I felt bad.” Continuing, she added that it was her who encouraged Artem to reach out and make a video to Inaba apologizing for any negative impact his comments about her judging may have caused. She said, “I was like, and you’ve made it so personal. She’s getting bullied. You need to go make a video on it. And poor Artem did this video. And he goes, ‘Should I post it?’ And I was like, ‘No, don’t post it.’ But like, so, we saw things differently.”
Bella did not shy away from calling out the fans who criticized the fact that she did not just come to her fiancé’s defense, choosing instead to say that she sided with Inaba on this particular issue. Explaining her point of view in the matter, Bella revealed, “For the women [fans] who thought I should have my man’s back, I would take a bullet for that man. I love that man and we both have chosen to be in the reality world, we put our life out there. So when you all said if it isn’t good I shouldn’t talk about it … no. I talk about the good, the bad, the ugly.”
Chigvintsev & Inaba Dated From 2006 Until 2009
Although Chigvintsev suggested he and Bristowe were being judged differently by Inaba, he was sure to clarify that he did not believe it had anything to do with their past romantic history, which ended over a decade ago. He told Us Weekly, “I don’t think my previous relationship has anything to do with it, I’ll be honest with you, because she’s been judging me for the past however many seasons I was on the show. So there’s no, like, personal agenda whatsoever. I don’t think it has anything to do with it. I think she just really was harsh in the sense that she saw so much more potential than what we’ve been delivering the past two weeks and she finally got things that she’s been wanting to see.”
According to People, Carrie Ann Inaba and Artem Chigvintsev met years before they worked together on Dancing With the Stars, when Chigvintsev was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. They began dating in 2006.
Inaba confirmed that the two broke up in 2009. In an interview with People, she revealed, “I’m single. Artem and I broke up in the beginning of November.” Continuing, she added that “As much as our relationship was really good,” they came to the difficult conclusion that neither “was ‘the one’ for the other. It was very sad to let go of something that was so good on so many levels.” At the time, it seemed that there were no hard feelings or ill-will between the two. Inaba called him, “a fine gentleman,” saying, “I have never gone out with somebody that grounded, always ready to talk it out. I’m very happy for him and the success he’s having.”
The season 29 finale of Dancing With the Stars airs on Monday, November 23 at 8/7c on ABC.