Dancing with the Stars

ABC/Adam Taylor

"I don't want to be a verbal punching bag!"

This is what an irked D.L. Hughley just told us after tonight's live "prom night" edition of Dancing with the Stars, and we gotta admit, even though his dancing was fully terrible, the guy's got a point!

In case you missed it, after D.L. and partner Cheryl Burke danced a salsa to James Brown's "Sex Machine," the judges held nothing back, cracking zingers such as, "It was about as tidy as a teenager's bedroom" (Len) and "What you looked like was almost a hip replacement" (Bruno). The pair scored a dismal 16 out of 30, the lowest score of the night.

D.L.'s gripe wasn't so much with the criticism, but with what he sees as a fatal production flaw: The microphones of the contestants are turned off during the judges' critiques.

"I would like the opportunity to retort back!" Hughley exclusively told E! News' Will Marfuggi backstage. "I think that if they're going to play rough, I should be able to play rough too. If you're going to say some stuff, I should be able to say some stuff back. Talking about each other and verbally assaulting, that's my thing so that would have been fun. So, next show, I am going to tell them, I would like to have a microphone too. That is on. Again, I don't want to be a verbal punching bag."

Taking her own harsh criticism far more in stride, Wynona Judd told us tonight, "We have a saying in our family…Identify and let it fly. I'm not defined by a number. I know that I can sing and I love Tony and we had the best day ever."

And frontrunners Derek Hough and country singer Kellie Pickler are determined to keep upping their game. Though, of course, that might be tricky after their show-stopping open in tonight's Footloose jive. "It was a lot harder than it looked!" Derek revealed to us. "I almost shattered my ankle. I picked up a lot of speed. But each week the dances are so different there's no way you can compare them… One week at a time."

 Do you agree the DWTS "stars" should be able to talk back to the judges?

Make sure you check out Tuesday''s edition of E! News (7 pm on E!) for much more exclusive interview footage courtesy of our DWTS insider Will Marfuggi.

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