Staying true to himself. Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart were visibly upset at the end of the Monday, November 16, episode of Dancing With the Stars. After their semifinal performances, they were the first pair eliminated when it was revealed they had the lowest number of votes by America. (Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten were also sent home after the judges chose to save Justina Machado and Sasha Farber over them.)
“It hurts a lot because it definitely feels like a popularity contest more so than a dance contest but that’s part of it,” the Olympian, 36, told Us Weekly and other reporters on Monday night. “I knew what I was signing up for. I can say wholeheartedly that I would always prefer to be myself than be popular.”
He also shared that he hopes his fans understand the importance of that message — especially in 2020.
“I think so many people out there base their whole lives around how many followers they have or how many friends on Facebook they have or how popular they are at school or whatever the case may be. I just want to send the message out there to always be authentically yourself — people will like it, people will hate it, but be yourself and that’s the best you can do,” Weir continued. “I think that that’s a message that I’ve reinstalled in myself in this competition, and I’m so proud that we always did our thing. We always did what we felt was right and what we wanted to and I have no regrets from this competition.”
Following his interview, the judges also spoke with reporters, admitting that America is “the fourth judge” in the competition.
“I think Johnny and Britt absolutely could have been in the final, Skai and Alan could have been in the final. So, tonight was always going to be difficult no matter what, no matter which way you looked at it. Two people going home tonight, no matter which way you look at it, it was always going to be a tough one,” Derek Hough said. “Hopefully, Johnny will find solace in knowing that he left on a really high note. He left with grace and a really great performance.”
Bruno Tonioli added that he was proud of how true to himself Weir remained throughout the competition.
“Technically, he’s very, very good and he made some very strong individual choices — he stuck to his belief and it worked. It was beautiful, ” the choreographer, 64, told Us. “He really improved. And what he did, he remained himself and he performed the way he believed he should have and that is a very, very important stand. And if only two or three people believe in that and are touched by it, it’s a great achievement regardless if you got kicked out.”
For more from the judges and Weir, watch the video above.
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
Hear the Us Weekly editors break down the most surprising celebrity births during the pandemic in under 2 minutes!