On Monday night’s episode of “Dancing With the Stars,” judge Len Goodman looked like he finally was out of patience with Sean Spicer.
“We keep throwing you out of the boat and the viewers keep throwing a life preserver,” he told President Donald Trump’s former press secretary after Spicer’s less than stellar jazz routine to Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” The studio audience didn’t know how to react to that comment — there was a mix of applause and boos. Host Tom Bergeron burst out laughing.
“That’s the truth!” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, as Goodman added that the mermaid (one of the characters onstage during his nautical-themed performance with professional partner Jenna Johnson) had better footwork than Spicer.
Indeed, over the past eight weeks of ABC’s competition series, Spicer has earned some of the worst scores; he has been ranked last for the past four consecutive weeks. Yet he shows no sign of being voted off the show. At the end of each episode, the two couples with the lowest scores (a combination of judge scores and viewer votes) face the three judges, who choose which pair to eliminate. So far, Spicer has never been in the bottom two.
That means, as Goodman said, viewers have carried him through — a frankly predictable outcome for this season. The announcement of Spicer’s casting several months ago drew immense backlash, as many felt that the falsehood-prone former White House official did not deserve the chance to repair his reputation on national television. Of course, all that attention has likely been beneficial to Spicer’s cause. While Goodman suggested that fans were voting for him because they like rooting for an underdog, social media is also filled with people boasting that they are voting for him to anger liberals and critics, and urging others to do the same.
Spicer got a boost (again) from Trump himself about an hour into Monday’s episode — fans can only vote during the show’s live East Coast broadcast between 8 and 10 p.m.
“You don’t have many jazz bones in your body, do you? And your ship, at times, looked like it would get lost in the Bermuda Triangle. I think Dory in ‘Finding Nemo’ has a better sense of direction,” judge Bruno Tonioli said.
“Oh, my goodness!” Spicer laughed, understandably shocked to be on the receiving end of such a harsh burn involving the forgetful blue tang fish from a Pixar classic.
“But somehow, you always manage to get to shore,” Tonioli said, and praised Spicer’s resilience. Inaba tried to add some positivity, saying that even though Spicer looks like he’s doing the same dance every week (“That’s why your scores haven’t really improved”) she was impressed that he adapted so quickly to a new partner. (Johnson subbed in for Lindsay Arnold, who was absent due to the death of her mother-in-law.)
And viewers noted Johnson’s expression when she and Spicer were declared safe:
“The look on Jenna’s face says it all,” one tweeted. “When your partner knows you’re the worst dancer and should be going home but doesn’t, it’s a problem. And ABC wonders why ‘DWTS’ is going downhill fast.”
“You shouldn’t be here,” Tonioli said mournfully.
Yet, he survived — again. Spicer advanced to the Top 6. Given that there was a similar phenomenon in 2010 with contestant Bristol Palin, as a strong conservative fan base helped get her to the final three in the season finale, it wouldn’t be too shocking if this pattern continues.