brightcove.createExperiences(); “As a journalist, Geraldo Rivera has covered stories in war-torn countries. As a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice, he was fired by Donald Trump. And now, as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, he had a few critical grenades lobbed at him by returning head judge Len Goodman.
But which of these gigs has been the most difficult?
“Apprentice is much closer to what I do for a living. It’s cerebral and doing video packages,” Rivera, 72, told PEOPLE after Monday night’s premiere episode of DWTS. “When [my partner Edyta Sliwinska and I] are out on the dance floor, there is nowhere to hide. There is no way to fake it.”
Rivera made it to the finals of his season of Apprentice, but received the lowest scores of the evening on Monday’s DWTS.
So, how does being judged by Trump compare to Goodman?
“I thought Len was a huge sourpuss tonight – brutally honest,” said Rivera. “But Trump is also very daunting, obviously. He could be the next president of the United States. Len reminded me a lot of Bill O’Reilly tonight, actually.”
But even though Rivera knows he “sucked” on Monday (his words), he says none of the pressure he’s felt in the ballroom compares to his most intense days on the job as a journalist.
“I have to put it into perspective,” Rivera said of his tough critique. “This was much better than covering a story in a war zone.”
Rivera will dance a salsa on next week’s episode of DWTS, which airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.