I am officially starting a blog from me directly today. I was going to wait until after the season was over. But in light of all of the fan mail and feedback, I figured today would be a good time to start.
This week’s results were pretty disappointing. I admit I’m upset about the outcome. Not even for myself but for Brandy, who is an AMAZING partner. I can’t tell you enough how hard she has worked to return each week and perform. So I am very disappointed. I don’t deny it. I am sure some of you saw that in my interviews.
But the last few days, I woke up each day to a ridiculous amount of messages and notes from fans to my website and facebook and twitter.
First, let me just tell you all how completely humbled I am from the responses, support, outrage on our behalf, and just love from all of you. So many people are true fans and appreciate Dancesport as much as I do. Some of you know how for me Dancing is a huge part of my life and my entire family. We take it seriously.
Many of you said what I felt, that Brandy was AMAZING and deserved to go onto next week. To see so many people following us and truly wanting us to be in the finals this season was amazing and just humbling at the same time. So all I can say is thank you, everyone, for taking the time to message me. There are not enough words to let you know how comforting it is to have that support at a time like this. I have told Brandy some of the same things you have messaged. She is a champion in my book regardless of those results. I was honored to have met her and danced with her. It was a great season. I have no regrets.
But as this is my blog, my choice of topic and my own opinions, so I do want to address some of the issues that have come up as relates to Brandy & I on various forums, discussions, and even some odd comments I received from a few gloating about last night’s results….
1. My Arrogance- I am pretty passionate and also pretty blunt. I think my passion and straight response gets sometimes mistaken for arrogance. I may be strong in my belief. Maybe that is tough for some people. But I have learned to live a life in black and white, with little shades of gray. Like in dancing, there is a right way and a wrong way. There is no middle ground. I generally am passionate about perfection and doing things the right way. I give my point of view as I see it. I do not say I am more right than anyone. But it is what I believe. I don’t mean to be rude or abrasive. But my passion drives me and I believe being passionate about your work is important. It is unfortunate if that my passion is mistaken for something negative. My partners, friends and families know where I come from. I feel strongly and I express myself that way but arrogance assumes I think I am better than the rest. I don’t. I am no different than anyone else. I just am strong in my opinion.
A. Brandy’s Past- I believe people make mistakes. Look at any of the magazines out there today, everyone from politicians to celebrities, to local people in your community have made mistakes. I am not sure what the right punishment is for people who make mistakes. I come from a very tough household. We try to be the best in all that we do. All of my life I have striven, trained, and worked my a$$ off to be where I am. But do you think I have never made a mistake in my life? I am sure this won’t shock anyone. I have made plenty. Some punishments I’ve suffered are worse than others. But ultimately, I have learned that the worst punishment comes from myself, from within. So one thing I learned to do is I live and I learn. And at some point, I have to move on from the past. It is unhealthy for anyone to live in the past. And it is unhealthy for others to punish you constantly for past mistakes.
So I am addressing this to tell everyone, leave the past in the past. I hope you all see what I see in Brandy today. She is a big hearted, gracious, amazing person. She has heart. She is a sweetheart. And I have nothing but love for her. She will remain a great friend to me. I am behind her 110% in all of her endeavors today and in future.
B. My attitude/Carrie Ann/Judges- If my attitude jeopardized Brandy, then I apologize for that and I feel just terrible for Brandy. The show shouldn’t be about what I think or feel or how I teach or choreograph. This show should be about the celebrity contestants that put a tremendous amount of effort into working to learn how to dance and perform in dancesport. My argument with Carrie Ann was about that. Don’t judge Brandy for my choreography or how I trained her. That is not Brandy’s fault. Ultimately, she should have been judged for her technique, effort, and her dancing in comparison to the others.
Did Brandy do a good job? She did absolutely incredible every week. I think she overcame her own issues and insecurities each time she came out onto the dance floor. She came with composure, no drama, no tears. She came to compete. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that from my partner. She did wonderful.
Sometimes the viewers didn’t see the other side. The struggle, the worry, the emotions she did go through just like the other celebrities on there. That is the magic of video editing and I can’t control what they choose to show you. I’ve mentioned that before as well.
But I apologize to Brandy, if my passion about putting the focus where it belonged caused more an issue than my real intent. Ultimately, I am a choreographer, an instructor, and her partner. I wholeheartedly wanted to make it to the finals because Brandy, in my opinion, truly deserved to be there. If this competition were about me, I would still be competing against dancers of equal skill. But I was not competing. Brandy was. And she was an amazing partner and dancer and in my opinion, the best this season.
What can I say but that I am beyond disappointed that her talent, her skill, her improvement, her technique seemed to be overlooked or undervalued in comparison to other competitors each week. Maybe some of you will disagree. Maybe some of you feel good about certain celebrities over others. That is not what I, as her partner and coach, am concerned with. I pushed her to bring the best she could each week. I was hard on her. I trained with her daily about her movement, her technique, her footwork, her body posture. It was tough, frustrating, hard, a work out. And I pushed for her to give me perfection. She did, btw. I just wish this is where the focus should have remained with the voters.
C. Brandy’s Response That Night- For the record, this is my job. I have been here a few seasons now. It does not affect me the same as my partners. But no one should begrudge anyone the right to their own personal reaction and processing as best as they can. Was Brandy in shock when the results were announced? Yes. Did she assume she would be there in the finals as some have suggested? No. We were both nervous. But she really wanted and hoped to get a shot in the finals. The reality of that not happening had to sink in. Losing a competition for any one is tough. But losing so publicly with the intense focus on you is extremely nerve racking. Brandy had a tough moment. But who wouldn’t have in her shoes. Give her a break.
Before this week, I have mentioned a few times that behind the stage many of the celebrities from this and past seasons have taken being voted off badly behind stage. That is the truth. And maybe I’m one of those guys that sees black and white and feels terrible to see them go through it, regardless if they are my partner or not. I hate to see someone hurt. And I would stick up for anyone who feels bad after a show and reading the posts about them. I will always also try to protect and defend my friends and those I care about from getting hurt, too. Wouldn’t you?
D. Voting Issues- This season more than others I heard rumblings of issue with voting and the phone lines. Unfortunately, that is not something I control or am knowledgeable about. If there were phone issues, let ABC.com know. I hope that no foul play existed. I assume it didn’t. All I can say is I hope the DWTS producers look at that for future shows. But at this point, the results are in. It is what it is. And I will look forward, not backwards.
E. Politics- I am a dancer. I leave politics to the politicians who are good with using media and propaganda to their advantage. It shouldn’t be on the dance floor. I am simply a dancer, an instructor, and an entertainer. I hope you enjoyed our dances each week. That ultimately was our goal.
F. Next season & Me- I can’t speak to next season. All I will say is that I have had an amazing 9 seasons. It has been an amazing experience, challenging, fun and rewarding. I have met and worked with amazing people. I appreciate the opportunity to have been on the show and have no regrets with regard to participating.
As my first blog post, this is the start of many. You can now get it straight from me via my twitter or my blog. Hopefully, more to come with less heated personal topics and more positive things to focus on….
Talk to you soon.