PureDWTS Were The Judges Too Harsh On D.L. Hughley And Cheryl Burke Last Week?

Were the judges too harsh on D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke last week for their first dance for Dancing With The Stars Season 16? Were “4’s” a fair score? Cheryl writes about it in her new blog for People.com.

I thought the fours we got from the judges for our cha cha were a little too harsh. I felt like the judges were a little mean to D.L. and didn’t really give him constructive criticism to come back this second week and improve.

The feedback was a bit of a downer for D.L. because he worked as hard as he could. The morning after the results, it was hard for him to get back in the studio and find the motivation to start over again. I just took him aside and told him, “We can only go up from what we got last week. Just have fun with the process.” I also told him, “The judges’ criticism is just part of the game, part of the show. You just need to work harder and come back strong.” That pep talk seemed to work because now D.L. is in great spirits and wants to do really well this week.

Sorry Cheryl, I think the judges scores were spot on!! D.L.’s dance wasn’t very good for whatever reasons, but, I will agree that the judges were too hard on D.L. verbally. Below is a recap from Today for those who need it (thanks @donamadrina!!). When I am reminded on what the judges said to him, I cringe and I’m quickly reminded of why this judging panel needs a serious change!! Are these three “Judges” or “Ballroom Bullies” and which would you prefer?

“OMG, D.L.,” Bruno Tonioli began. “You have terminated the cha-cha-cha.”

Carrie Ann Inaba agreed, adding, “I have some bad news for you: That was yi-yi-yikes!”

But neither of them could match head judge Len Goodman for cruelty. Even though the funnyman standing before him already looked like he was on the verge of shedding a tear or two from the reviews so far, Len put on his most disapproving face and delivered a low blow.

“Listen, if any dance is going to suit you, it’s got to be the cha-cha-cha,” the elder statesman of the panel said of the dance that obviously didn’t suit D.L. at all. “This was no good!”

I prefer constructive judging (and this goes for Nicki Minaj of American Idol too!). When someone decides to do Dancing With The Stars or or anything out of their comfort zone for that matter, they should be applauded for what they are doing, not knocked down and abused verbally especially when you can clearly see how down they are about it already. They don’t need more stones thrown at them. At the same time, I’m not a fan to Cheryl either for the last several seasons for some of her antics. Let’s see what Heidi and Court think. Let us know your opinion too!!

Heidi: I agree that the scores themselves were fine – what wasn’t fine were some of the people who were scored higher than D.L. for dancing that wasn’t THAT much better. These judges don’t use the low paddles often enough in the opening weeks – it’s ridiculous how many 6’s and 7’s where thrown around, when there were probably only 2 or 3 dancers that actually deserved them. That said – the judges being mean and cruel is hardly a new thing on this show. It’s been this way for a few seasons and it’s ALWAYS repugnant when they start acting like that – even when it’s not YOUR partner, Cheryl. They seem to think THEY are the stars of the show.  Len? Racist comment, dude. Kinda confirmed what I’ve always thought of him, really.  Get constructive, kids – cuz right now you’re just idiots. I was going to use a much worse word, but John doesn’t like it when we swear on the front page. 🙂

Courtney: The scores were right on the money – Cheryl whining about them just makes her look…well, whiny.  As we’ve said before, we’re pretty sure the judges at least have an idea of how long each partnership practices each week, and they’ve been known to call out certain celebs that they know haven’t been putting in the hours…as I recall, Carrie Ann did make a point of saying something to the extent of “I can see that you maybe didn’t practice enough, so next week you really need to put in the hours and work hard!” In her defense, I would actually call that constructive criticism – because the overall impression I got from D.L. in that cha-cha was that he didn’t really have a clue what he was doing and didn’t really care…both of those point to an overall lack of practice, so I think that was the big problem with it that needed to be addressed, and it was.  And also in the judges’ defense (and in a bit of a tsk, tsk to the powers that be) – they are rather limited on time to critique (especially in week 1, with 12 couples to get through), and with a dance as bad as D.L.’s, I’m not sure they would have even had time to go through the laundry list of what was specifically wrong with it – the feet were bad, the posture was bad, there was no energy in his movement, there was no enthusiasm, etc. etc. etc. And really – wouldn’t it be rather cruel to go through a list like that? I think of the 3 judges, Carrie Ann’s critique was the most appropriate – Bruno was his usual flamboyant self, but that’s par for the course and I find it funny that Cheryl’s just now complaining about it, considering that William & Emmitt were often on the receiving end of some of Bruno’s more positive flamboyant comments; and Len was downright cantankerous with just about everyone that night.  As for his comment about D.L. & the cha-cha – as bad as it may have sounded, I think he might have actually been referring to the fact that cha-cha is known as the easiest of the Latin dances to learn, and if D.L. was going to nail any one dance, his best chance was with the easiest one.  There’s a reason why it’s often the first dance you learn when taking lessons, and why it’s always been a week 1 dance.  I could be giving Len way too much credit, given how bitter he came across to everyone on Monday, but I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt this time and assume he just did a really sh*tty job of chosing his words.  All of that said, I do think the judges need to be more constructive in their critiques – but I also think they don’t need to start coddling every celeb that just does a crummy job.  The celebs knew what they were signing up for, and it is still a competition – but the judges need to strike a balance: make it clear what was & wasn’t good about a dance, and offer up suggestions for improvement. And Len…Len needs some happy pills, period, because he was just a major buzzkill (and borderline cruel) last week.