7:11pm PT by Lexy Perez
'Dancing With the Stars' Judge Says Sean Spicer Has "Courage" for Coming on Show
Sean Spicer, the former press secretary for President Donald Trump, made his debut on ABC's Dancing With the Stars on Monday night, during which he performed a salsa routine.
In his opening package, played prior to dancing, Spicer admitted that he was a "little nervous." "No backing down now," he said. Spicer also explained that facing the press everyday could be a "daunting" experience, but competing on DWTS is no comparison.
Partnered with dance pro Lindsay Arnold, Spicer took to the dance floor in a lime green shirt while performing a routine to Spice Girls.
Judge Bruno Tonioli called his routine "strangely entertaining," whereas Carrie Ann Inaba praised his ability to "have fun." Meanwhile, Len Goodman applauded Spicer for joining the cast. "I admire your courage coming on this show."
"The internet kind of broke," Arnold said of the reaction to Spicer's casting. "I'm looking forward to forming my own opinion," she added.
"I've had a blast doing this," Spicer told co-host Erin Andrews after dancing and scoring 12 points out of 30. He also joked about his vibrant outfit, which he described as "payback."
After performing, critics took to Twitter to poke fun at Spicer's debut appearance, with many retweeting GIFs of Spicer shimmying.
Though he received criticism from the public and DWTS host Tom Bergeron (who wrote on Twitter that he hoped the coming season would be "free of inevitably divisive bookings from ANY party affiliations, though he made no mention of it during Monday's episode), Spicer told The Hollywood Reporter that he hopes being on the show will be a "politics-free zone," with his participation serving as "a great example" 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."
Spicer also added that he and the other contestants met prior to the cast being announced on ABC's Good Morning America and had friendly conversations: "I was really impressed with the caliber of people, but on a personal level, they were just really nice, good people, to a person."
For DWTS' 28th season, Spicer joins a cast featuring singer Ally Brooke (formerly of Fifth Harmony), former Bachelorette Hannah Brown, actor-producer James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek), Queer Eye's Karamo Brown, The Office grad Kate Flannery, All That's Kel Mitchell, former Los Angeles Laker Lamar Odom, American Idol season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina, The Supremes' Mary Wilson and two-time Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis.
Christie Brinkley was originally part of the cast but had to drop out after suffering injuries during rehearsal that required her to have arm and wrist surgery. Brinkley's daughter Sailor is competing in her place.