‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Says Judge’s Harsh Comments Feel ‘Personal’


ABC/Eric McCandless

Season 29 of Dancing With the Stars is heating up and leading toward the finale, and things are getting tenser between the contestants and the judges. After the most recent episode, one professional dancer said that some of the comments felt like they were personal rather than professional.

After Artem Chigvintsev and Kaitlyn Bristowe performed their Jive on Monday night’s episode, judge Carrie Ann Inaba was once again strict on some of the rules, saying that they had performed a lift, which she needed to take off a point for.

Last week, Inaba said that she felt as though Bristowe gave up during their dance and knocked off some points for that. Now, Chigvintsev is saying that the criticism felt personal.

Chigvintsev Says the Comments From Inaba Felt Personal

After Monday night’s episode, Chigvintsev and Bristowe spoke with Entertainment Tonight about Inaba’s criticism.

“At this point, it starts being a little personal, I feel like,” he told the outlet. “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.”

Bristowe, on the other hand, says that when she speaks with other contestants they also tend to be confused about what Inaba is talking about.

“It’s always reassuring to talk to other people and have them asking those same questions because we come back and we’re like, ‘Huh?’ We’re good at accepting constructive criticism. We’re like, ‘OK, great, now let’s apply it. Thank you for the wonderful feedback.’ With this one, it’s like ‘Huh? OK?'”

Bristowe Thinks Inaba Is Harder on Her Than Others

Bristowe said in the interview that she’d love to have Inaba on her podcast so she could ask her a few questions and later said she really was curious about where the harsh criticism comes from.

“Is it coming from a place of, ‘I was hard on Hannah [Brown] and you’re another Bachelor girl’?” she said. “Where is it coming from and how are we supposed to take it and bring it into our next rehearsal? What do you want us to channel and use from it? It’s very hard to understand that.”

She said that she much prefers getting constructive criticism.

“Derek [Hough] says things and I’m like, ‘Great! Oh my gosh, I could work on that. Let’s use that next time.’ Same with Bruno [Tonioli]. And when Carrie says things, I’m like, ‘What do you want us to do with that?'”

For his part, Chigvintsev doesn’t want the judges’ comments to affect Bristowe’s energy and positivity in her performances.

“At this point right now we just feel like we’re never going to make her happy,” he shared with the outlet. “I was literally wanting to have ear muffs and put it on top of [Bristowe’s] head.”

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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