Brooke Burke knows all about the tough atmosphere of Dancing With The Stars! Right before attending the Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure event in L.A. this weekend, the Dancing host (and former winner) talked exclusively to OK! about last week’s controversy and the front-runners.

“It was a very awkward live moment,” Brooke said about Maksim Chmerkovskiy's exchange of words with the judges, ”But not to defend him in any way, I do understand how stressful the process is, how emotional it is.”

“I would take passion over being indifferent any day. On the other hand I think the judges are there to constructively criticize everyone and you have to take that for what it is. But I fully understand the emotions that run through the show," she explained. “It’s hard to stand up there when you’ve poured your heart and soul into something and not get good feedback. It’s human.”

Does she think we’ll see any more drama like that? “I don’t know if we can get past it. It really just depends. Everybody wants a breakthrough, everybody wants to succeed, everybody wants positive criticism. The judges’ job is to share their opinion and to be really honest in their critiques. So you know its par for the course.”

The two front-runners for the past few weeks have been Ricki Lake and J.R. Martinez. “Yeah, Ricki technically is great and Derek [Hough] is amazing, he is such a great teacher, choreographer and partner. Karina [Smirnoff] has not yet won her first mirror ball trophy so I think her thirst for that is really powerful. JR is an amazing dancer and likable and he’s a hero. And he’s a really, really decent person. Ricki’s lovable. I just think they both have so many great qualities.”

Does she think a black horse like Rob Kardashian could pop on in? “We’ve seen that so many times, it’s possible. Sure. Stranger things have happened. We’ve seen favorites go home early. The best dancers get eliminated. I mean truly anything can happen week by week.”

Find out who gets eliminated tonight at 9 p.m. ET when Justin Bieber performs with Boys II Men!

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