‘DWTS’ Winner Kaitlyn Bristowe Addresses Carrie Ann Inaba Drama

Kaitlyn Bristowe on Dancing With the Stars

ABC Kaitlyn Bristowe on Dancing With the Stars

On Dancing With the Stars season 29, fans were upset for several weeks over over what they thought were unfairly low scores that judge Carrie Ann Inaba gave to former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe. In a recent episode of the “Chicks in the Office” podcast, Bristowe addressed the situation, saying she could totally see where the fans were coming from — but she’s also glad Inaba was hard on her.

Bristowe Was ‘Thrown Off’ By Inaba’s Comments

Bristowe said that “so many things” went through her mind on the weeks Inaba gave her low scores. Sometimes, she’d chalk it up to Inaba being the “Simon Cowell” of Dancing With the Stars, but other times, she’d really get in her own head and start questioning things.

“In my mind, I go, ‘OK, this is a TV show, she’s a judge, I’m the quote-unquote celeb, [partner Artem Chigvintsev] the pro, we all have a role here.’ Think about American Idol, there’s the Simon Cowells — there’s always gotta be a judge that’s hard on somebody, so I tried to think of it that way,” said Bristowe. But then she started second-guessing herself.

“Then I was like, ‘Wait, she dated Artem, is this personal?’ She had a hard time with Hannah last year and you just start getting in your head about what it could be and forgetting this is a TV show,” said Bristowe, adding, “I was so thrown off when she said certain things to me, like ‘you know, I felt like this was another not-great dance,’ or ‘I felt like you gave up.'”

Bristowe said that the “gave up” comment was particularly hard to swallow because she was standing there “trying to catch [her] breath,” not able to breathe because she “tried so hard,” so “how can [someone] say [she] gave up?”

But Bristowe Watched Her Dances Back and Started to See What Inaba Meant

But she did admit that her Cruella de Vil paso doble, which was the one that received the “gave up” comment, was not her best when she watched it back.

“I will say — that was the one dance I watched back and go ‘ugh,’ because I was supposed to be a villain, a spicy little Cruella de Vil. I look like a 90-year-old grandma, like — everything was just not working with me,” said Bristowe.

“To do a paso doble to a Rihanna song is hard … I’m not a masculine dancer, where that’s a very masculine style of dance,” Bristowe continued. “It was just all around a really tough one for me and I know exactly where she’s talking about it when she said she felt like I gave up because I watched it back … there was this one move that Artem worked on with me for a full week and I finally got it towards the end and I went out there and screwed it up and you saw it on my face. I should’ve stayed in character. I think that’s what she was talking about.”

In the End, She Appreciated the Tough Love

While it was hard at the time, Bristowe said that looking back, she’s grateful for Inaba’s tough love because this is a prize she worked really hard to win.

“Looking back, I kind of love that that all happened because if you have a dream and something that you’re passionate about and something that you love to do and it finally happens to you, you don’t want it to be just this smooth sailing, easy road,” said Bristowe. “You want to look back and say I worked my t*** off for that trophy and I wouldn’t have wanted it to be a smooth sailing ride.”

Bristowe added, “[Inaba] knows how to work me. That’s how I get fire lit under my butt is someone not believing in me … ‘I’ll show you,’ so thanks, Carrie Ann, for the Mirrorball.”

For Inaba’s part, she thought the story the Bachelor fans were cooking up about her being jealous of Bristowe and Chigvintsev was “hysterical,” and while she loved the “passion,” she would not stand “for bullying of me or anyone.” She added, “I gotta do my job! I’m a judge!”

Dancing With the Stars will return for its 30th season in spring 2021.

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