"It was just a human moment," the former Bachelorette said of her tearful interaction with the DWTS judge in rehearsals

By Benjamin VanHoose and Christina Dugan
November 19, 2019 11:56 AM
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A buildup of stress mounted into an emotional moment for Hannah Brown in dance rehearsals this week.

On Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, a behind-the-scenes segment highlighted rigorous practice routines with pro Alan Bersten that showed the former Bachelorette star, 25, moved to tears over judge Carrie Ann Inaba‘s critiques.

“I’m with Alan every day,” Brown explained to reporters after Monday’s show. “He knows what things will upset me what things won’t. I was already at that point. It was just a human moment and somebody else was there and I couldn’t explain it.”

“I was able to just make sure that it was not any disrespect or dismissive of anything that she said to me, because she’s an expert and anything that she says is going to help improve me,” Brown continued.

Hannah Brown and Alan Bersten
| Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

When Inaba, 51, sat in on rehearsals to help Brown with her rumba do-over, she critiqued the star’s hip movements throughout the routine. As Brown became visibly distressed going through the motions, the mentor stepped in to console her, but Brown shrank away.

“I don’t want to be touched,” she told Inaba, explaining that she felt frustrated by feedback she’d gotten on the show thus far.

Inaba began to get emotional herself, apologizing and admitting it made her “sad” to see Brown upset: “I’m sorry because that’s not what we’re here for,” she said. “My job is to help you.”

Hannah Brown and Carrie Ann Inaba
| Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC (2)

After regrouping, Brown was able to master the dance with Bernsten, earning 27 out of 30 from the judges. She also took a moment to apologize to Inaba.

“I just want to say I am so sorry if it seemed like I was dismissive of you trying to help me,” she said. “I had a really hard day that day and it was really emotional trying to learn my contemporary, and I didn’t handle my emotions very well and I know you’re trying to help me.”

Brown told reporters that leading up to her outburst, she had opened up to Bersten in their training sessions, becoming vulnerable with each other so they could fuel that energy into their performance. Brown said the moment of raw honesty was “emotionally draining,” and that the interaction with Inaba simply came when she was “already at that point.”

“Really, somebody could have given me puppies and I probably still would have cried,” Brown joked.

“Vulnerability is hard in that way,” Brown said. “I’ve been very vulnerable on these shows that I’ve been on, but to have [Bersten] ask some of the questions that he did and to explain and go into the dance about it — it was emotionally draining. It really was.”

“There are some times where being on the shows are great,” she continued. “Sometimes it’s hard, when it’s just like, ‘the show must go on,’ and there’s a TV show that’s being done.”

Reflecting on the interaction, Brown said she learned more about Inaba and understands that the judge only means well.

“I mean, they are judges and they’re the ones that get to critique,” she said. “But that she wanted to know where I was coming from, and I think, like, resonated with that even though, you know, it was probably a very different situation that she was used to when she comes in.”

“A lot of this for me is just, some of the things that she’s pointed out, I’ve even agreed that I felt were more personal and that kind of hurt a little bit more,” Brown added. “But she’s right, and … sometimes it’s hard to have somebody do that when you’re not ready. I feel like this dance allowed me to just put that all out there. I am just glad that she received that. We were able to just have that moment.”

Next week, the four remaining celebrities — Brown, Ally Brooke, Lauren Alaina and Kel Mitchell — will compete with their pro partners during the live finale.

The Dancing with the Stars season 28 finale airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.