Is it time for someone to tell Bruno Tonioli that he was hired to be a judge on Dancing with the Stars and not an Italian provocateur? A sexy salsa that was performed Monday by Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff –who wore a tight-fitting, leopard-skin catsuit for the routine – inspired Tonioli to say “you were too rough with your pussy, darling.” The comment not only generated boos from the audience but prompted ABC to bleep out the p-word for the west coast feed.
Smirnoff responded by briefly turning her back to Tonioli, who seemed genuinely stunned by the audience reaction. He ended up giving the duo an 8 for their salsa (which earned 23 out of 30 points).
“We’ve never expected the judges to be on our side,” Smirnoff told reporters after the show. “They’ve haven’t been on our side for most of the season, but it was just inappropriate and rude and uncalled for.”
“That was just an unprofessional thing to do,” continued Macchio. “I thought the performances were great. We had a couple of days and I nursed my injury at the start of the week. We made a choice. I’ve seen this show do it a thousand times. We were shaking it and having fun and letting it out there and we went a little bigger than life because I’ve seen bigger than life work so well. We always choose elegance, reserve, classy. This was a chance to just break out and be funny. They bought it with lots of others but they didn’t buy it with us for whatever the reason.”
Smirnoff thought Tonioli’s comments were personal. “We followed what they told us,” she said. “We actually delivered a salsa that the judges had been asking us the whole time. I honestly, truly think it’s personal because there’s no reason it had happened the way it did. We worked our butts off and we truly rely on our fans. We love dancing together. We love going to the studio and this is like the anti-climatic moment of the whole thing which kind of sucks but at the end of the day, we have the most beautiful memories, the most fun memories to share and that’s what we thrive on.”
This certainly isn’t the first time that Tonioli has put his foot in his mouth — nor will it be his last. Earlier this season, for example, he compared Chris Jericho to a “lump of granite.” He also accused Kendra Wilkinson of having “killer boobs.”
And who could forget last season when he said Michael Bolton’s jive was probably the worst in history? At the time, the producers defended Tonioli by saying “while we respect the feelings of our celebrities and our dancers, we don’t feel Bruno should be expected to apologize for doing his job.”
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