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After Monday’s Dancing With the Stars, two Maksim Chmerkovskiys appeared backstage.
Having publicly called out the judges for what he deemed was unfair criticism, one Maks seemed to regret possibly offending his fellow pros. The other Maks was clearly reveling in the raucous his comments caused.
“I pride myself on the fact that I’ve never changed,” he says. “I think I got smarter… but the integrity is still there. I’m very clear in what I stand for.”
To briefly recap, Maks’ issue was with judge Len Goodman calling Hope Solo‘s week 6 performance her worst of the season. When Len brought up his 50 years in the business, Maks quickly snapped, “Maybe it’s time to go.”
STORY: Maksim Chmerkovskiy Goes off on Judges, Calls it ‘His Show’
The audience gasped, the judges quibbled and Maks suggested that their critique was “disrespectful.”
On this matter, he’s staying on point. “Len is the only one who comes from a ballroom background, and I really respect his opinion,” he says — though maybe not tonight’s. “I’ve danced for 27 years, and I’ve won more titles than Len ever even participated in.
After their critique, Maks and Hope adjourned to the contestants’ holding pen. It was there that the real fiery comments came out and where Maks thinks his intent may have been misconstrued.
“With all due respect, this is my show,” he said to co-host Brooke Burke Charvet. “I helped make it what it is.”
PHOTOS: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 13 Cast Official Photos
Maks says he never meant to imply sole ownership. “I feel like it’s my show, and together, with other pros, I dedicated six years of my life to this show,” he says. “I’ve helped make it what it is, but I’ve never taken it away from anybody else who participated.”
It’s this affection for the show that prompted Maks to laugh off questions of this possibly being his last season on DWTS.
“Like I said, it’s my show, and I didn’t mean it in a selfish way,” he says. “I love it. It’s what I love doing. Our fans are phenomenal.”
He also holds the “haters” in high regard, and realized almost immediately the field day they would have with his comments.
PHOTOS: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 13: Rehearsals
“If anything, I’ve been under the radar this entire [season],” he says. “All of a sudden the haters are like, ‘Now we have something to talk about.'”
Nobody’s opinion matters as much as his mothers, though, and Maks says she approved of his speaking his mind. “I got an amazing text from my mom,” he said, before leaving reporters, “and I couldn’t give a f— what anybody else says.”
So what did that text say? “I love you very much. You’re the best.”
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