Rumer Willis is a frontrunner for the mirrorball trophy on this season of Dancing with the Stars, but her routine on Monday night's show got critiqued for a controversial reason. USA Today (opens in new tab) notes that the judges called her out for a "raunchy" routine—but was it really all that different from the norm?
This week, she and her partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, were assigned a jazz dance to Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious." Their routine featured Val as a mild-mannered spring breaker who sees Rumer on a billboard with two other women. They come to life and they all shake it on the dance floor.
Rumer got high scores across the board for her technical finesse. But the male judges on the panel couldn't help but point out how...well...unladylike it was. "I don't like all that raunchy stuff," judge Len Goodman said. "What you did, you did great, but I don't want to see all that. It's a ballroom, not a bedroom." Fellow judge Bruno Tonlioni had a little more fun with it, calling it "raunchylicious" and "hot, honey!"
As Rumer and Val note, they were assigned this song, this genre, and this theme. What else were they going to do?
But there's something more annoying at the root of the whole ordeal: This is a show where dudes constantly show up shirtless and writhe on stage—and they're greeted with cheers. But when a woman gets down, suddenly it's unbecoming?
Plus, there's this creepy note: Multiple times, Val worried about what Rumer's dad, Bruce Willis, would think. Mom Demi Moore was in the audience that night, but nobody worried about her reaction. (Which, by the way, seemed enthusiastic and supportive.)
Val posted a photo on Instagram praising Rumer and noting he "won't let that happen again." For what it's worth, Destiny's Child would be proud.
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Megan Friedman is the former managing editor of the Newsroom at Hearst. She's worked at NBC and Time, and is a graduate of Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism.
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