One week after Maksim Chmerkovskiy challenged Judge Len Goodman on Dancing with the Stars, the ABC show seemed to have the last word on the popular (though often controversial) pro. Two of the rehearsal packages during Monday’s show were edited to make Chmerkovskiy look like an unyielding and very impatient instructor who’s reduced to striking partner Hope Solo in an effort to make a point.
To wit: While Chmerkovskiy and Solo were practicing with Team Paso Doble, the Ukrainian-American pro slapped the soccer player on the shoulders before frantically whipping her around. An exasperated Solo responded by saying, “would you stop being you?”
Chmerkovskiy then left the rehearsal hall, leaving teammate Derek Hough to instruct Solo, instead.
In an earlier package, Chmerkovskiy took a break from rehearsals to rest an injured toe so troop member Teddy Volynets stepped in to dance with Solo. The soccer player appeared to relish her new partner by commenting on her feeling of “calm” and how fast she had learned the new routine, but Chmerkovskiy didn’t let the duo forget who was the real boss. He told Solo her feet were “horrendous” and went on to say, “it’s still my house, and they know who is in charge.” (To be fair, Chmerkovskiy also frolicked around in a wolf’s mask and argued he’s “not always like this. I like to have a little fun, too.”)
After Monday’s show, however, Solo had only kind words to say about her temperamental partner — mostly because Team Paso Doble earned 26 points and her samba with Chmerkovskiy nabbed a 24. “Obviously, it’s working,” she told reporters afterwards about Chmerkovskiy’s style of coaching. “Hello, we’re here for the seventh week. We’re getting okay scores. You wouldn’t want to see me if he wasn’t tough on me. I’d be like, uh, I don’t know what I’d be out there on the dance floor.
“Teddy’s fun. He’s great. If you bring anybody into the studio it’s a different energy,” Solo continued. “But Maks still had to coach us and make me great and be hard on me and make up the choreography. It was a team effort.”
As for Chmerkovskiy’s decision to talk back to Goodman last week, Solo said “I’m honestly grateful he sticks up for me. That’s what a team is for. He’s my teammate.” On Oct. 24, Chmerkovskiy lost his cool when Goodman described the couple’s rumba as their “worst dance of the season.”
During Monday’s episode, however, Chmerkovskiy had very little to say when he faced the judges and didn’t respond to any questions from reporters afterwards.
In the meantime, his decision to get physical with Solo during the rehearsal didn’t jibe well with at least one other pro. “That’s stuff you shouldn’t be doing,” said Nancy Grace’s partner Tristan McManus. “No matter whether you’ve been dancing for however long or just new to dancing, that shouldn’t be happening.”
That said, McManus said the packages seldom tell the full story. “Those packages are like a minute and a half…amongst the rest of us it’s not a continuous thing. They pulled it together tonight and they remember what it’s about. Hope herself pulled it together with Maks and they did great.”
What did you think of Chmerkovskiy’s behavior during rehearsals?
–With reporting from Carrie Borzillo