Kaitlyn Bristowe Says Carrie Ann Inaba's Performance Comments on DWTS Were 'Soul-Crushing'
The Dancing with the Stars judge told Kaitlyn Bristowe that she felt the former Bachelorette "gave up" during her performance
During week seven (Villains Night) of Dancing with the Stars' 29th season on Monday night, the former Bachelorette and her dance partner, Artem Chigvintsev, performed the paso doble to Rihanna's "Disturbia" as the iconic 101 Dalmatians villain, Cruella de Vil.
They received the second-lowest score of the night (24/30), as well as some rather harsh criticism from Inaba, who told Bristowe that she felt the star "gave up" during her performance.
"I felt like your spirit dropped," the judge, 52, added, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Speaking to PEOPLE after the show, Bristowe, 35, said that Inaba's comments were "soul-crushing," and that she truly gave the dance her all.
"I’m starting to believe that it wasn’t just me. I came off and so many people were like, 'What? I don’t remember that,' " she said, referring to the others' shock over Inaba's comments. "So people aren’t just sugarcoating it for me, because I want the feedback. I want to know if that’s what people saw. But to hear her say that, my soul was crushed, because I feel like this was one of the dances where I went out there and was like, 'I’m going to hit this so hard and I’m not giving up.' "
She continued, "To hear that, I felt so defeated after. That was my all. I know I could have done better in some places but I don’t feel like I ever gave up."
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The Off the Vine podcast host added that she doesn't mind if the judges are hard on her as long as it's "constructive."
"If they want to be hard on me because they think, ‘Oh Kaitlyn has a dance background.’ I mean everybody has an advantage in this competition. At the end of the day, voting counts. So people have more of an advantage if they have more Instagram followers or if they have an acting background. We all have something to bring to the table and I think that’s why this competition has been so tough," she added. "For me, it’s one thing for Carrie Ann and the judges to be constructive. To hear a certain kind of feedback like ‘It wasn’t my favorite’ or ‘I thought you gave up’ or ‘Your spirit was down' ... that’s tough to hear."
Chigvintsev, 38, also stood up for his partner, telling PEOPLE that he felt the criticism from Inaba was "bizarre," and that Bristowe puts just as much work into rehearsals as other contestants without dance backgrounds.
"It’s made to seem that she comes into rehearsals for one hour a day and go home and she knows the dance. That’s not true. She works four hours a day like everyone else and putting just as much work into it," he said. "When your criticism is like, 'I just didn’t feel it. I thought you gave up.' That is not criticism you want to hear when you put your best effort into this week. … it feels bizarre."
He then added that wants feedback that he and Bristowe can actually "work on."
"If you didn’t like the choreography, I’d be like, 'Great that’s something I can work on.' I’m the one responsible for what I’m creating in the ballroom. I’m a big boy enough where I can take that criticism. I’m not going to go cry in the corner about that," he added.
Unfortunately, Bristowe did get emotional after Inaba's comments on Monday, but said that's not going to hold her back from giving her all again next week.
"I’m not a big girl and I cried in the corner after that. I cried a little bit but that’s okay. I want to get better. I want to learn. I want to learn the step," she said.
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