Dancing With the Stars judges are falling under criticism this week for bias after former competitors Lance Bass and Vivica A. Fox claimed their runs on the show were cut short because the judges preferred other pro dancers over their partners. Bass and Fox were special dinner guests on Lisa Vanderpump's new E! show, Overserved With Lisa Vanderpump, where they opened up about their experiences on the show.
Bass, Fox and Vanderpump have all three appeared on the celebrity dance competition at some point, agreeing that it was "the hardest thing" they have ever done. But Fox, who was eliminated from Season 3 of the competition with partner Nick Kosovich, spilled some tea. "I made it to week four, and I was a sore loser," she said. Vanderpump asked Fox who her partner was, and she replied, "Nick Kosovich. And one of the main reasons why we got kicked off." She explained that "you got to play the game" while on the show and that her partner "made too many requests."
Bass, who appeared on Season 7 of Dancing With the Stars, agreed with Fox. "Same. We were in the same boat," the former NSYNC member said, adding that his partner, Lacey Schwimmer, was "the bad girl of the ballroom" and that "the judges just hated her." Bass said that despite the fact he and Schwimmer made it to the finale, he "felt" that the judges disliked his partner. He said that was confirmed one night at one of the judges' houses when they had "a little too much to drink," and one of the judges told Bass, "We can't stand your partner." Bass joked, "I'm like, well, why am I working my ass off this weekend?"
The concept of bias from the judges' panel is nothing new for longtime DWTS fans. Judges Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, have been the show's constant experts since the show's inception in 2005, so there has certainly been the opportunity to get to know the pro dancers over the years. Last year, Inaba fell under potentially unfair criticism from Bachelor Nation after delivering harsh criticism to former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and her pro partner Artem Chigvintsev — who dated Inaba for two years more than 10 years ago.
Chigvintsev himself said that Inaba's criticisms of Bristol felt "a little personal," adding that he felt "it's definitely, maybe not a different standard, but I feel like it's different expectations" for him and Bristowe over other competitors. Inaba maintained that her comments were nothing short of professional and pushed the couple to their full potential. The critiques may have paid off, as Bristowe and Chigvintsev took home the mirrorball trophy as Season 29 champions.