Dancing With the Stars alum Johnny Weir is getting candid about his thoughts on the ABC dance competition’s elimination process. Speaking to reporters just after he and pro partner Britt Stewart were sent home during the semifinals' double elimination, the Olympic figure skater likened the competition to a "popularity contest."
Weir, who was the first celebrity to be sent home Monday night, effectively putting an end to his journey just a week shy of reaching the finale, admitted to Us Weekly that his elimination "hurts a lot." He told the outlet that "it definitely feels like a popularity contest more so than a dance contest," though he acknowledged, "that's part of it." While the Olympian said that he "knew what I was signing up for" when he joined DWTS, he "can say wholeheartedly that I would always prefer to be myself than be popular." He said that he hopes others understand the importance of the message he was trying to send during his time on the competition.
"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 said. "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."
The ABC dancing competition has a complex voting system. While the judges – Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough – give each dancing duo a score following their weekly routines (each routine can score a possible total of 30 points), viewers also have their chance to weigh in. In fact, the viewers’ votes weigh just as heavily as the judge’s, with 50% of the judges' vote and 50% of the public's vote giving the final result. Following Weir’s elimination, the judges acknowledged that America is the "fourth judge" in the competition.
Speaking of the voting process, Hough said, "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." Tonioli added that "technically, he's very, very good and he made some very strong individual choices." Both judges praised Weir for having "remained himself and he performed the way he believed he should have and that is a very, very important stand."
Four celebrities remain as the series heads into the finale – Nelly, Nev Schulman, Justina Machado and Kaitlyn Bristowe. The Dancing with the Stars Season 29 finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates.