Len Goodman took his “grumpy judge” status to a new level on Dancing with the Stars. Goodman, who has been the head judge on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition since the show’s inception in 2005, slammed Week 8 contestant Bonner Bolton by saying the pro bull rider should never have made it so far in the competition.
“You get frustrated, please don’t blame the judges,” Len said before slapping the DWTS contestant with the lowest score of the night. “Blame the viewers. You’ve gone a bridge too far. I’m sorry but you should have been…”
The live studio audience cut Len off with boos before he could finish his sentence, but Bolton was eliminated from the show less than an hour later, missing the semi-finals by one week.
— ICON Voice (@ICONvoice) May 9, 2017
Many Dancing with the Stars fans thought Len Goodman was too hard on Bonner, who overcame a serious bull riding injury last year which left him temporarily paralyzed. Bolton looked like he was about to cry after Len lashed out at him.
— DWTS Queen Sharna (@dwtsqueensharna) May 9, 2017
— Erin Christman (@erin_christman) May 9, 2017
— Laurie Stephens (@Lauriestep2) May 9, 2017
So disappointed in Len Goodman tonight. That comment he made to Bonner Bolton was WAY outta line! Len needs to retire! Enough! #DWTS
— ????SoapBeeGirl ???? (@Angela_Winchell) May 9, 2017
After the live show aired, DWTS pro dancer Sharna Burgess said she was surprised by Goodman’s especially harsh critique of her partner.
“I was really taken back that Len said that,” Burgess told Entertainment Tonight. “I would think that Len understands that after 24 seasons on Dancing with the Stars, it’s not always just dance, it’s that person and their story and their inspiration. Why is it a bad thing that he’s been inspiring people for eight weeks?”
Bolton said he didn’t sign on to the show to impress Len Goodman.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t come do this show for those judges,” he said. “I made it further than I ever knew I would. And honestly whether I stayed or went, it was a celebration for me every day I make it, every practice I make it through whatever the case may be I’m going further than I ever knew I would.”
Len Goodman is known as the grumpy judge on the U.S. show and its British counterpart Strictly Come Dancing. But even the pro dancers have been thrown off by his rude critiques at times.
After Goodman called out pro dancer Gleb Savchenko for the lack of samba content in a dance he choreographed for celebrity partner Jana Kramer last year, the DWTS pro said Len needs to get a clue.
“It needed more samba content in there. There was so much larking about,” Len said of the ’70s themed routine. “You know it’s the truth, Gleb.”
— People Magazine (@people) October 25, 2016
After the DWTS pro began to list the samba moves he incorporated into the routine, Len let him have it.
“I saw what you did. I know what you did … don’t get me started Gleb. You just listen to what I’m telling you and get on with it,” Goodman barked.
“I think Len should spend more time with us rather than in England,” Savchenko told People.
“There is a fine balance between a show number and just a samba. No one wants to see a minute and forty seconds of just samba, especially when you’re dealing with someone who’s never danced before.”
On another season, comedian D.L. Hughley didn’t appreciate Len’s lowly score of a 4 and his accompanying mean-spirited critique of his dance. Hughley told E! News Goodman is a coward for calling the shots from the safe haven of the judges’ table.
“I don’t like the idea of somebody having a mic and me not,” Hughley said of Goodman.
“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.”
Len even screamed at one of Dancing with the Stars’ golden couples: six-time mirrorball champ Derek Hough and his partner Kellie Pickler. That season, Goodman went on a major tirade over the trio routine the couple did with partner Tristan McManus, calling the choreography “a hodgepodge of moves just to titillate the taste buds!” Len even got into a shouting match with the other DWTS judges, going so far as to scream at Bruno Tonioli: “Your vocal cords are stuck up your a**!”
Take a look at the video below to see some of Len Goodman’s mean moments at the Dancing with the Stars judges’ table.
[Featured Image by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images]