After much controversy and calls for top brass at ABC to rethink their decision to hire Sean Spicer for this year’s season, the former White House press secretary debuted on Monday night’s offering of the hit show “Dancing With The Stars” with a salsa rendition of “Spice Up Your Life” by the Spice Girls, which did not exactly earn high accolades from the judges.
“Spicer’s energetic performance concluded with confetti and he got a standing ovation from the audience, but the show’s judges did not seem impressed, giving him a total score of 12 out of 30,” reports Fox News. “During the “Dancing With the Stars” 2019 premiere Monday, Spicer’s dance partner, Lindsay Arnold, said his skills were ‘pre-preschool level.'”
Though Spicer didn’t have the groove, he at least appeared to be having a good time, which is the most that anyone can hope for on “Dancing with the Stars.” The judges saw it, too.
“There was some element of salsa there, not always on time or on rhythm,” said Judge Bruno Tonioli before admitting that Spicer’s performance was “strangely entertaining.”
Judge Carrie Anne said, “You were offbeat most of the dance, but you had fun.”
“I did,” Spicer replied.
Judge Len Goodman said, “You brought fun to the ballroom. Well done.”
Sean Spicer’s appearance on the ABC show comes weeks after a cancel campaign was launched to force him off this season’s roster, which included celebrities like Billy Eichner, Zach Braff, and Kal Penn.
“The cynicism and carelessness it took to hire Sean Spicer … God, it’s all just so depressing honestly,” said comedian Billy Eichner.
“I’m not ready to laugh ‘with’ Sean Spicer. I think he is an evil, opportunistic liar that hurt our country,” said former “Scrubs” star Zach Braff.
“[Sean Spicer] can normalize himself in good fun, but he still passionately advocated against human rights, health care, & American values,” tweeted Kal Penn of “Harold & Kumar” fame.
“Sean Spicer’s celebrity is proof we are doing it wrong,” said Chris Cillizza of CNN.
The backlash became so intense that “Dancing with the Stars” host Tom Bergeron issued a statement in which he offered a veiled criticism of ABC for booking Spicer, asserting that he offered the suggestions to the network so that this season “would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate.”
“Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-long hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitable divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations,” said Bergeron. “It is the prerogative of the producers, in partnership with the network, to make whatever decisions they feel are in the best long term interests of the franchise. We can agree to disagree, as we do now, but ultimately it’s their call. I’ll leave it to them to answer any further questions about those decisions.”
Sean Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter at the time that he wanted this season to be a “politics-free zone” and hoped that people of diverse backgrounds could join together for some entertainment.
“I hope it will be a politics-free zone,” he said. “My hope is that at the end of the season, Tom looks back on this and realizes what a great example it was of being able to bring people of really diverse backgrounds together to have fun with each other, engage in a real civil and respectful way and maybe show millions of Americans how we can get back to that kind of interaction.”