Carrie Ann Inaba Is ‘Intimidating’ Judge

While Val Chmerkovskiyand the rest of the Dancing With the Stars couples compete for judges’ scores weekly, the esteemed panel has become somewhat notorious when it comes to articulating what they’re looking for.

“We have such a different relationship with the judges than I think people think we do, you know?” Chmerkovskiy, 36, exclusively told Us Weekly Tuesday, September 27, 2007 “The most intimidating … obviously, the answer [for others]It is Len [Goodman] because Len is, you know, he’s kind of no-nonsense. With Len, I don’t find him intimidating because I navigate in his lane.”


Val Chmerkovskiy & Carrie Ann Inaba
ABC/Christopher Willard (2)

The Ukraine native admitted that he doesn’t necessarily find Goodman, 78, intimidating since they are both “ballroom dance purists.” He added: “If I could have four Lens behind that table, I would take four Lens.”

Goodman has presided at the DWTS judging panel since the show’s 2005 premiere alongside Carrie Ann Inaba Bruno Tonioli. Six-time champion in mirrorball Derek HoughParticipated in the roundtable in 2020.

“For me, I think that the most challenging judge out there would probably be Carrie Ann just because she kind of gravitates in the department and the lane that I’m not really [great at],” the Dance With Me cofounder told Use About the former Talk cohost, 54. “I mean, I’m good at [that]Also, I think [for her] as a female adjudicator, me being partnered with female celebs, you know, that that could be a more intimidating perspective to perform in front of.”

Chmerkovskiy — who previously won the dance competition twice with partners Rumer Willis Laurie Hernandez — is currently dancing with Bachelorette Gabby WindeyOn DWTS season 31, the series’ first on Disney+.

Val Chmerkovskiy Calls Carrie Ann Inaba the 'Most Challenging' Judge on 'DWTS': Find Out Why

Gabby Windey and Val Chmerkovskiy.
ABC/Eric McCandless

“She’s a great student. She knows how to take direction and she doesn’t take things personally. With me, I think that’s, like, the biggest thing,” the choreographer gushed about the 31-year-old ICU nurse’s work ethic. “There’s a very — and I wouldn’t say it’s a thin line — I think it’s a very clear difference between being hard and demanding accountability when it comes to the work that we do on the show. Regarding [to]At least, that’s me. I try to avoid being a dick as much and as often as I can. I do have dick moments, but she thankfully is patient enough to understand that.”

He added: “I’m the first to say that the patience that you want from me when it comes to teaching you how to dance [is]What I would like back. I have moments [that are] not my best moments, but once those moments pass I’ll be the first to make them right. [So] Gabby has been wonderful to work with and I’m only as good as my partner.”

Windey and Chmerkovskiy — who is currently expecting his first child with wife Jenna Johnson — impressed the judges with their Viennese Waltz during the Monday, September 26, live broadcast. They topped the leaderboard with a collective score of 32/40 for their Elvis Presley-inspired dance, which featured a sweet cameo from the Colorado native’s fiancé, Erich Schwer.

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

Christina Garibaldi reporting