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'Dancing With the Stars' pro Derek Hough: A low score from Len is good for us


Shawn Johnson, Derek Hough and Mark Ballas react to Len Goodman's tough talk on "Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars."

"Dancing With the Stars" judge Len Goodman has often scored Shawn Johnson and her pro partner Derek Hough lower than judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli have, but even he reached a new low Monday night. The often-cranky Brit gave Hough and Johnson (and Mark Ballas, who joined them for a trio samba) a 7.

Goodman took on a grandfatherly scolding tone as he informed Johnson that if her dancing days were over this week, then she should blame her partners for dancing too far outside the box with their tribal-themed samba -- and not him. (Ouch!)

Hough’s not panicking, however. In fact, he pointed out that earning low scores from Goodman has worked well for them so far.

“The lower score we get from Len, the better we’re doing,” Hough told The Clicker. “I’d say we’re doing something right.”

The couple goes into Tuesday night’s double-elimination show in second place. They have a combined score 93.5 (out of 100), which includes two weeks’ worth of dances.  

The three-time mirror-ball trophy winner said that he’s courting fans -- not the show’s trio of judges. 

“This season has been a dedication to all of the loyal fans of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ who have seen 100,000 sambas and cha chas," Hough explained. "It’s my responsibility as a choreographer to keep the audience entertained. To be honest, I just wanted to see (Shawn) get tribal!”

There’s a 20 point gap between frontrunner Melissa Rycroft and bottom-scoring Kirstie Alley, but Hough suggested even a margin that large may not ultimately mean that much in the grand scheme of things (especially if you factor in that Alley likely has a much larger fan base than Rycroft does.)

“I have the utmost respect for the judges,” Hough hastened to add. “It’s why I don’t talk back. But this season is the audience’s season. When the season finishes, it’s the scores that disappear. The dances live on.”

And if Johnson makes it to the finals, it’ll definitely be Hough who takes her there. Despite reports that he might have to sit out the rest of the season due to an injury, Hough said, “I feel amazing -- knock on wood. I’ve really been taking care of myself.”

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