VIDEO: Carrie Ann Inaba Defends DWTS Judges
Carrie Ann Inaba, 43, one of the three judges of the popular ABC hit reality show Dancing with the Stars, alongside Len Goodman, 67, and Bruno Tonioli, 55, may be used to putting contestants in the hot seat, but now people can see how reacts to being there herself.
Though the Hawaiian dancer and actress-turned-television personality has not taken as much flak about giving the show's dancers a hard time as her fellow judges, she considers it just as much her responsibility to defend her co-panelists and the people who work on the show as her friends who are getting called out. The whole "fighting authority" thing started on Monday's episode, when pro dancer and DWTS staple Maksim Chmerkovskiy considered Goodman's criticism of his and soccer-star partner Hope Solo's rumba to be unnecessarily cruel. "Maybe it's time to go," Chmerkovskiy told Goodman after the older judge cited his 50 years of experience in the dancing business as evidence of his accurate assessment.
Inaba defended Goodman right then and there, telling Chmerkovskiy, "Don't be disrespectful like that." Later, she tweeted about the incident: "FYI: Everyone has different ability on DWTS. Every journey is unique to each contestant and everyone's ten looks slightly different."
Since then, the judges have continued to receive criticism about their treatment of contestant Chaz Bono when he was voted off the show on Tuesday. On Good Morning America, Bono voiced his displeasure about Tonioli's comments that he looked like "a basketball, a penguin, an Ewok" during his dance with partner Lacey Schwimmer. Inaba, in classic damage control mode, stuck up for Tonioli, too, arguing that there was no bias that the judges held against Bono, either for his size or his former gender transition. "The scoring has to do with what they're doing dance-wise," she told Access Hollywood Live. "I mean, we are able to separate the two; we can do that, and we are able to look at the dance and just judge the dance and not bring the person into it and what they're going through personally." Inaba also assures that Tonioli meant nothing "negative or derogatory" by the comments.
Bono's mom, Cher, actually tweeted her support of Inaba after the show, at the expense of Goodman and Tonioli. "Thank u Carrie Ann 4 your Gentility u r beautiful inside & out ! To the Gentleman? I didn't know who u We're b4 which I guess is a blessing! Going Home is Fine but why insult him b4 he Goes! Maybe Rudeness & Flapping Arms take the place TALENT!"
Watch a video of Inaba's explanation here: