Julianne Hough Guest Judges 'DWTS,' Sparks Backlash For Criticizing Maksim Chmerkovskiy

Image: Julianne Hough Guest Judges 'DWTS,' Sparks Backlash For Criticizing Maksim Chmerkovskiy Julianne Hough, left, and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 11:46 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Two-time "Dancing With the Stars" champion Julianne Hough returned to the program as a guest judge Monday night, and her stinging criticism of pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy prompted backlash from viewers and dancers alike.

The contestants and professional swapped partners this week in what was called "The Switch Up."

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Hough gave a harsh review of "The Wonder Years" actress Danica McKellar and Maksim Chmerkovskiy's performance. In particular, she called out Chmerkovskiy, whose regular partner is Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis. 

"I felt like it was a little bit like this week could get past so that you could be back with Meryl and you just had to phone it in," Hough said of Chmerkovskiy's performance.

Professional dancer Cheryl Burke defended Chmerkovskiy and his dance.

"I felt like it was a little bit inappropriate," Burke said. "I felt like [Maksim] was trying his best and some people have the chemistry from the beginning and some people don't."

Chmerkovskiy rejected Hough's comments in an interview after his dance.

"It was an invalid comment that had nothing to do with Danica’s performance, which was brilliant, because our dance was a disaster from a production standpoint," he said.

Many viewers reacted on Twitter.

Hough found herself in hot water last year when she harshly criticized professional dancer Mark Ballas and singer Christina Milian, according to People magazine. 

"I didn't mean for it to come out harsh. I could have probably said it a little differently," Hough said of her comments at the time.

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