Wonders never cease! Judge Len Goodman delivered a shocker on Dancing with the Stars Monday by admitting that he “under-marked” NFL Donald Driver for his premiere night Cha Cha. And then he apologized for it!
Goodman explained that after watching the episode, he realized he was wrong to give Driver a 7 for his crowd-pleasing Cha Cha. (Driver’s overall score of 21 left him close to the bottom of the leaderboard). “I apologize,” Goodman said during the show. “I under-marked you… I watched it back. You did a great job.” Goodman went on to explain that unlike in football when referees have access to instant playbacks on video screens, ballroom dancing is judged live and, well sometimes things happen!
Afterwards, Driver said the mea culpa felt good. “I think we both thought it was a low score, but we made history, so if we continue to make history, we’ll be good.” Driver and Partner Peta Murgatroyd scored a 24 Monday for their fierce Quick Step. “He’s a great judge,” Driver continued. “Len, he’s man enough to step up and say he made a mistake and you don’t really get that from too many people today. His integrity showed today. We are smiling ear-to-ear right now.”
“We’re very grateful,” added Murgatroyd. “He’s a very well-respected judge. Everything he says, we take on board, but that was just an added bonus tonight.”
Even fellow pro Mark Ballas gave Goodman a thumbs-up for admitting his mistake. “Len, for me, he’s the judge when he talks, you take it to heart. He’s a chairman. He has a lot of years in this business. I think that’s really big of him to say that he felt like he under-scored it. It’s so hard in the live room to see what you see on TV. But in real competitions in our world, you have to judge fast. There’s no rewinding it back. You just gotta judge and go.”
Going forward, Driver’s strategy is simple: Work hard and inch up that leaderboard ladder. “That’s what we want to do. We practiced hard. I told her week one, we’re not going home first and I still don’t think we’re going home.”