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Dancing With the Stars’ Nelly and Johnny Weir Call Out ‘Harsh’ Judging

Not playing fair? That’s how some contestants feel about the judges on season 29 of Dancing With the Stars!

“They’re whack, whack, whack. They’re hating,” Nelly, who is partnered with Daniella Karagach, told Us Weekly on Tuesday, September 23, following the second episode. “I feel like the judgment should come with understanding! You’re judging me. I’m from the hood in St. Louis, Missouri. There are no ballrooms. I’ve never danced, choreographed in my life and you’re judging me like I should know these things and I just picked up this choreography in five days.”

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The musician, 45, and Karagach, 28, were given a 16 and an 18 (out of 30) for their first two dances, but he’s not sure that the scores take everything into consideration.

“I don’t think that I’m being judged on somebody who’s never choreographed,” the Reach Me star added. “I’m being judged, like, ‘Straighten your back up,’ get this, did that. I’m like, ‘My man, I was on time.’ That should count!”

Nelly and Daniella Karagach Dancing With the Stars Nelly and Johnny Weir Call Out Harsh Judging
Nelly and Daniella Karagach on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ on September 22, 2020. ABC/Eric McCandless

He also noted that he feels protective of his partner since she’s working so hard to help him get up to speed. “As far as my technique, that’s in this young lady’s lap, and when those judges don’t see that, I get offended because I’m taking up for her,” he told Us. “I don’t care about me, but she’s put in the work and they shouldn’t be doing that to her.”

During the September 14 premiere, the rapper was also criticized for wearing sneakers instead of dance shoes — something he took into consideration. He got custom-made dance shoes before Tuesday’s episode.

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“The judges kind of made it a point last week to point that out — which I thought [Derek Hough] was there to point out my dancing as opposed to my getup, but OK,” he told Us. “The dance that we did, the Cha-Cha that we did, it required a little bit more sliding across the floor, which, you know, gym shoes are the exact opposite. They’re made not to slide. So, I had to find a good medium and we came up with something that was really, really dope.”

Nelly wasn’t the only celebrity dancer who wasn’t thrilled with the judges’ scoring. Olympian Johnny Weir also shared his distaste after receiving a score of 18 for two weeks in a row.

Briit Stewart and Johnny Weir Dancing With the Stars Nelly and Johnny Weir Call Out Harsh Judging
Briit Stewart and Johnny Weir on ‘Dancing With The Stars’ on September 22, 2020. ABC/Eric McCandless

“I’ll tell you that I don’t like 6s, and I especially don’t like 6s when they tie me with people two weeks in a row,” the figure skater, 36, shared on Tuesday. “I’m a perfectionist and want 10s every week. That was the goal coming in here. Even if I didn’t get them, I worked really hard to be at the level to possibly get a 10. But if there’s anybody in this cast that has been judged face to face it’s me, and I’ve dealt with it for years.”

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The former Spinning Out star added that he feels the judges are “being harsh” with him because he is a figure skater.

“They hold me to a different level than most of the competition. I mean, I shared a 6 from one of the judges of Carole Baskin,” he added. His partner, first-time DWTS pro Britt Stewart, agreed that the judging may be a bit unfair.

“I do think that he is being held to a high standard and [they’re] having high expectations, but we absolutely take the judge’s critiques and we apply them always because they are absolutely valid,” she added.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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