Val Chmerkovskiy of ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Comments on the Casting of Sean Spicer
Season 28 of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars is gearing up for its premiere on September 16. With another full celebrity lineup, fans are sure to tune in to see who dances their way to the legendary mirrorball trophy.
This season is more controversial than most due to the casting of Sean Spicer, former press secretary to President Donald Trump. The selection of the political figure for season 28 is causing somewhat of an uproar, with recent comments from one of the show’s top performers.
In addition to Spicer, this season’s cast includes The Bachelorette’s Hannah Brown supermodel Christie Brinkley, country singer Lauren Alaina, actor James Van Der Beek, NFL legend Ray Lewis, The Office co-star Kate Flannery, pop singer Ally Brooke, former NBA player Lamar Odom, actor Kel Mitchell, Queer Eye’s Karamo Brown, and The Supremes’ Mary Wilson.
The professional dancers returning to the show are Alan Bersten, Brandon Armstrong, Cheryl Burke, Daniella Karagach, Emma Slater, Gleb Savchenko, Jenna Johnson, Keo Motsepe, Lindsay Arnold, Pasha Pashkov, Peta Murgatroyd, Sasha Farber, Val Chmerkovskiy and Witney Carson.
Television personality Tom Bergeron has been hosting the reality competition since it began in 2005. The host recently shared his reservations about Spicer’s casting on a lengthy Twitter post, describing a lunch meeting with one of the show’s executive producers.
“I offered a few suggestions for Season 28. Chief among them was my hope that DWTS, in its return following an unprecedented year-hiatus, would be a joyful respite from our exhausting political climate and free of inevitably decisive booking from ANY political affiliations,” Bergeron wrote. “I left that lunch convinced we were in agreement.”
The host goes on to write that a decision was made by the higher ups that came as a surprise to him. While he never mentioned Spicer by name, his followers could easily assume Bergeron was referring to the former press secretary. “Subsequently (and rather obviously), a decision was made to, as we often say in Hollywood, ‘go in a different direction.’ 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,” he wrote on Twitter.
Though he apparently didn’t agree with the producer’s choice of casting Spicer, Bergeron kept a positive attitude with his main focus on providing the viewers with some solid entertainment. “For me, as host, I always gaze into the camera’s lens and imagine you on the other side, looking for a two hour escape from whatever life hassles you’ve been wrestling with,” he wrote. “Hopefully, when [co-host] Erin Andrews and I look into those lenses again on September 16, you’ll be on the other side looking back, able to enjoy the charismatic pro dancers, the unpredictable judges and the kitschy charm that has denied DWTS since 2005.”
According to Yahoo! Entertainment, dancer Val Chmerkovskiy is a bit more neutral on the topic of Spicer joining the cast. “My reaction was like, ‘Yo, Sean Spicer’s on the cast!’ That was my reaction calling my brother,” said Chmerkovskiy, referring to his older brother and DWTS alum Maks Chmerkovskiy.
The DWTS star commented that the beauty of the show and of dance itself is its inclusivity. “The thing that makes our show unique and wild and crazy and entertaining is the fact that it’s a collective of all these different people. And you don’t have to agree or follow all these people. They’re all very different,” Chmerkovskiy said. “And the beauty, me being a dance ambassador, is — what I find a lot of pride in is how inclusive dance is and that it doesn’t judge based on any of the past. It kind of just wholeheartedly welcomes people in. Then, that person has a chance to either be dismissed or show his true colors.”
While his position is relatively unbiased, Chmerkovskiy does realize why some may not be on board with Spicer as a contestant, yet sees the opportunity to put the issue in perspective. “I’m here to say that I understand the backlash; I definitely understand the outrage,” Chmerkovskiy said. “But at the same time, you know, there are bigger problems in the world besides Sean Spicer being humiliated doing the cha-cha.”
Season 28 of ABC’s Dancing With The Stars premiers on September 16!