Have "Dancing with the Stars" judges gone too far this season? D.L. Hughley, one of the celebrity contestants, certainly thinks so. Interviewed by E! News backstage on the night of the results show, the 50-year-old comedian/actor calls the judges "bullies."
Hughley, who partners with pro dancer Cheryl Burke, wishes he had his mic on so that he could respond to the judges' critiques instead of being "a verbal punching bag." "I don't like the idea of somebody having a mic and me not," he expresses his frustration to reporter Will Marfuggi.
"That to me is cowardly. What did I do? Did I dance so poorly that I made [Len] upset that I get to dance again? This experience is starting to be horrible for me. It's not fun. It's like going to school and the principal has it out for you. I don't need you to help me, just look the other way."
According to the online publication, some pro dancers agree that the judges were being too mean sometimes. Kym Johnson, who pairs up with soap opera actor Ingo Rademacher, says she was in particular shocked by Len Goodman's harsh words.
The head judge, however, is unapologetic. In fact, "I can't get over how kind I've been this season, honestly," the 68-year-old British professional ballroom dancer says in his own defense. "I'm normally so much harder...I thought I was a bit generous last night, actually, D.L."
Both Hughley and Johnson are safe and will be back with their respective dancer next week. "I think that there are people that you can't elevate, so you can only choose to deal with them how they choose to deal with you," the former says, apparently readying to fight back.
Tony Dovolani, who was the first one eliminated along with partner Wynonna Judd, sings a different tune. He "actually kind of applauded" Goodman, adding that "the judges are not there to apologize." He explains, "The judges say what they say and they mean it. That's what our show is about. They can't take emotions into account."