The network’s president, Karey Burke, defended Spicer’s position on the show during ABC’s Television Critics Association winter press tour on Wednesday.
“It’s a ballroom dancing show, it’s not a political show, and I think the contestants came with the spirit of that,” she told reporters. “Ultimately, this is a show in which the audience votes and the audience voted [to keep Spicer].
“And ultimately the right person [ex-Bachelorette Hannah Brown] won,” Burke added.
Spicer made it all the way to the top five on “DWTS”, beating out more talented dancers like Kate Flannery and Karamo Brown. His casting ignited controversy from the beginning, with host Tom Bergeron publicly speaking out about giving a platform to President Donald Trump’s former press secretary.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Bergeron revealed that he told “DWTS”‘ new executive producer before the season that he looked forward to a “joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably divisive bookings from any party affiliation” – but that they went in a “different direction.”
In November, following Flannery’s elimination, judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli expressed their disappointment at Spicer remaining in the competition.
“It’s disappointing to see people go home like this week after week, and Sean is staying in, but it’s always been a partnership between the judges and the people. That is what “Dancing With the Stars” is. I can’t get too mad, but yeah, I’m a little frustrated,” Inaba said at the time.
“These people who are voting just to spite us or whatever reasons they’re having in their heart – listen, I respect you, but how about having a little respect for the people who are working their butts off dancing?” she continued. “This is a dancing competition. It’s nothing else. It’s supposed to be about the best dancer. Put it where it counts!”
Goodman added: “The biggest disappointment is there’s so many really good dancers gone. You know, from week three or something when Sailor [Brinkley-Cook] went, and on and on, yeah, I don’t like it. It’s a bad vibe, but it’s the show, that’s how it goes. We say what we think, the viewers give their opinions and que sera sera, what will be will be.”
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