Dancing with the Stars has several incredible contestants this season, including Nyle DiMarco, who rose to prominence on America’s Top Model as both a deaf contestant and a male contestant before joining the DWTS cast. This week, however, DiMarco got a little cocky during his practices with professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd. In fact, he was so confident that he even quipped his real competition was other professional dancer Val Chmerkovskiy. Here’s what he had to say:
I think my competition right now is Val. It's not the celebrities—I'm looking at Val because I don't really necessarily see them being better than me. I'm just feeling confident.
The comments were made prior to Nyle DiMarco’s dance during Monday’s Game of Thrones episode in the taped footage from that week’s rehearsal that ABC airs to help us get to know the competitor’s better. DiMarco spoke through an interpreter when he made those comments, but his attitude was pretty clear. He’s been an incredible dancer, scoring the first 10 of the season last week… and it seems he knows it.
Honestly, Nyle DiMarco has been an incredible competitor in this competition, but he isn’t so far and away better than the likes of Wanya Morris or Paige VanZant that we are ready to call this a runaway. In fact, Von Miller, Antonio Brown, Kim Fields and plenty of the other competitors this season have been bringing their a-games and have been striking, too. Following DiMarco’s epic performance last week, this week, he got a lot more criticism from the judges, who noted he and Peta were out of step on numerous occasions. (We had the video, but ABC pulled it, for whatever reason.)
The pre-dance moment was so emboldened—and possibly so outrageous—that Len Goodman even decided to remark on it during his critique of the dancers Mask-oriented performance. Here’s how he knocked the competitor down a peg or two:
The performance was terrific and you never cease to amaze me. However, I cut a lot of slack on this show and as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten kinder. But let’s analyze this… You're a good dancer, but don't start saying “I’m as good as Val” because you'll just annoy people.
DiMarco only ended up landing a 24 for his performance.
The thing is, Dancing with the Stars is only half about being an incredible dancer. There are usually several awesome dancers every season and what sometimes separates the loser from the winners is likability and stage presence. After all, the competitors should hope the audience invests in them so that they vote each week. If the audience doesn't vote for their favorites, sometimes a better competitor will go home before a worse one.
I'm obviously not saying that's what is going to happen to Nyle DiMarco, but hopefully he'll check the blunt comments in the weeks moving forward. You can catch new episodes of Dancing with the Stars on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET.