Leah Remini is speaking out following her stint as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars. The outspoken actress says she would like to see some changes to the rule book following Lamar Odom’s unfortunate elimination from the ABC dancing competition earlier this week.
During her night as a guest judge alongside veteran dancers Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, and Bruno Tonioli, Remini was a champion for the show’s underdog celebrity contestants. The former King of Queens star went so far as to give Odom a score of seven for his Viennese waltz with Peta Murgatroyd, while Goodman and Tonioli gave the retired NBA player a four.
In an interview posted by Us Weekly, Remini admitted she boosted Odom’s score in the hopes it would keep him in the competition. The Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath star pointed out that Odom is not a dancer, and she expressed compassion for him. On the show, Odom opened up about his near-fatal, accidental overdose which resulted in ongoing memory loss and balance issues.
“I don’t think that people really understood how hard it is for Lamar. He’s not a dancer, he’s a man in sports who is used to putting on a game face and I don’t know if everybody at home can see through that. It’s not an easy thing to do for someone who is not used to performing.”
Remini added that she wasn’t sure that home voters realized how much Odom was struggling to remember his dance steps in the aftermath of his medical issues.
Remini reiterated that Odom “should have stayed” in the competition because he’s not used to performing for a live audience, but the judges (sans Remini) ultimately “saved” Queer Eye star Karamo Brown.
Still, Remini thinks Dancing with the Stars needs a major rule change to make the competition fair for everyone.
“I think they should change it to where you have no dance experience — zero dance experience. Zero, zero, zero. Because if you’re used to performing live in any capacity, you already have a leg up on those who don’t.”
Indeed, on this season alone, the Dancing with the Stars cast list includes three actors, two pop stars, a pageant queen, and a model.
Past winners on the ABC celebrity ballroom competition include Broadway star Jordan Fisher, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft. Even Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey is a past DWTS winner. However, last season’s winner, radio host Bobby Bones, was an underdog.
Leah Remini competed on Season 17 of Dancing with the Stars, where she was the fifth contestant eliminated. In addition to this week’s judging cameo, she has since returned to the show as a guest co-host.
Dancing with the Stars airs on Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.