Jenna Johnson Says 'DWTS' Judges Were Too Harsh on Grocery Store Joe

Dancing With the Stars' season premiere on Monday night saw its fair share of both high and low points, but pro dancer Jenna Johnson doesn't think her partner, Bachelor in Paradise cast member Joe Amabile, deserved the criticism he received from the judges.

Johnson and Amabile performed a quickstep to "Fish Out of Water" by Leo Soul during the broadcast, suffering a few missteps during the routine and ending up with a score of 14 out of 30 from the judges that left them in last place.

In her blog for Us Weekly, Johnson explained that Amabile had no dance training prior to being cast on DWTS, and opined that the judges shouldn't have been so harsh on him because of that fact.

"I thought the judges were incredibly harsh, especially for somebody that has never danced before," she wrote. "I'm a little sad that they didn't recognize that or mention that, because he really is one of the only people who has never either acted or has athletic ability or performed or danced. I thought they were really harsh but I think it gives us room to grow."

Johnson added that the pair's dress rehearsal was "almost perfect" and that she thinks Amabile's nerves may have played a part in their live performance.

"People forget that he's a normal guy that was found in a grocery store and asked to do The Bachelorette," she explained. "He's not used to any of this — the glitz, the glam, cameras, intense pressure like this. I think it just got to him a little bit."

The pro dancer also praised her partner's work ethic, writing that she "couldn't be more grateful" to have a partner who is willing to train hard.

"We were starting at zero and slowly getting more comfortable," she wrote. "I was shocked by the progression he has made. The quickstep is super hard and to have that as your first dance, I think is crazy. He worked so hard. That's my favorite thing about him — his work ethic and his motivation to do really well."

The 24-year-old added that she hopes viewers call in to vote for the pair on Tuesday night.

"I hope people vote because he's such a good guy and I know what he's capable of," she shared. "I think tonight wasn't his best performance and he can really shock people once he really nails his dance moves. There's so much more that Grocery Store Joe is capable of, they just haven't seen it yet."


Johnson and Amabile will dance for a second time during Tuesday's episode of DWTS, airing at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo Credit: Twitter / @DancingABC