Monday night's Dancing with the Stars saw Danica McKellar and partner Val Chmerkovskiy eliminated from the competition, but on the press line a lot of focus was placed on controversial guest judge Abby Lee Miller of Dance Moms fame. Known for her harsh, critical teaching style, the vibe from the pros backstage seemed that of relief once the whole debacle was over.
"I don’t want to dwell on it too much because I want it to be about Amy (Purdy) and what she achieved tonight, which was amazing," said Derek Hough when asked what he thought of Abby's teaching style. "But I will just say that for me, when I danced I was surrounded by amazing teachers, people who reinforced me constantly, like life coaches. It made me love dancing. I have longevity in my love for dance. I’m afraid for kids who are exposed to pressure, anxiety, whatever you want to call it. My fear is that they can burn out and they won’t want to dance anymore. I want them to have the same passion and love for something and not burn out."
Sharna Burgess worries about the long-term affects on Abby's students, nothing the tough-as-nails teacher is doing nothing to promote their creativity.
"I cannot endorse what she does," says Sharna. "The thing is, what she’s doing to those kids now is going to affect them for the rest of their lives. As a child you need your creativity harnessed. You need to learn about it and discover it yourself. You need someone who is going to help you do that, not try to put you down every time you try something new."
Maks Chmerkovskiy said everything he needed to about Abby on camera during the show, when Erin Andrews asked him what he thought of Abby's comments on his performance with celeb partner Meryl Davis. His response? "I don't care what she thinks."
Mark Ballas backs up Maks' sentiment.
"I’m 100 percent with Maks tonight," he said. "I grew up learning from my mom, the best coach in the world. She trained me, she trained Derek, Julianne (Hough), Karina (Smirnoff), the list goes on. She’s the coach. The thing my parents taught me is to always be encouraging, always nurturing, always hold our heads high whether we win or lose. Always shake hands whether you’re the loser or the winner. It encouraged me to not only be the best I can be but I loved it my whole life. The problem with her teaching methods with these kids by the time they’re 17 or 18 they’re not going to want to do it anymore."
What did you think of Abby Lee Miller as a guest judge on Dancing with the Stars? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.