By Michael Maloney, TODAY contributor
Craig Sjodin / Craig Sjodin / ABC
For the first time ever, "Dancing With the Stars" presented Prom Night, and the only person who had a worse time at a high school dance than D.L. Hughley was Sissy Spacek?s Carrie.
After the funnyman performed a routine on a 10-foot-by-10-foot box with pro partner Cheryl Burke Monday night, Hughley faced stern and negative comments from judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli. The latter critic said that Hughley?s salsa, which required hip action, was more like a ?hip replacement.? (Ouch.)
?I don?t have any disappointment,? Hughley told reporters in the press line after the show. ?I?d have to have some level of expectation, and I don?t. I don?t see things the way they do.?
The news wasn?t all bad. Burke noted that judge Carrie Ann Inaba was a bit kinder and more constructive in her comments, pointing out that the dance competition is about the individual?s improvement -- ?and that Hughley has been improving.
"She?s so right,? Burke said. ?It?s about baby steps. They really need to judge D.L. against himself.?
Still, the comments from the male judges were stinging.
?I know how to deal with hecklers,? Hughley said. ?But I think they obviously have a way of doing things, and I don?t fit into that. That?s just how it is.?
Host Tom Bergeron allowed Hughley to speak to the judges on-air immediately after they gave their critiques, which allowed the comic the opportunity to fire off a few crowd-pleasing zingers.
?I don?t like being verbally assaulted without having the opportunity to retaliate,? he explained.
Hughley, who has lost seven pounds since joining the show, can?t believe that he wasn?t the lowest scoring celebrity of the night. That distinction belongs to singer Wynonna Judd, who earned only 15 points for her samba (compared to Hughley?s salsa, which got 16 points).
?I can?t believe anybody scored lower than me,? he marveled, hastening to add with scores so close to each other, celebrity fan bases are going to be crucial.
?If my fans want me to stay, then I?ll stay,? Hughley offered. ?If they don?t, then I?ll be off. But you know what?s cool? If I get kicked off before I do the waltz, then I?ll have to take my wife ballroom dancing so I can do the waltz there.?
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