I haven’t really watched Dancing With The Stars since The Voice began airing. Despite my love and devotion to TV, there are only so many hours on Monday and Tuesday nights. Even the promise of Tristan and Maks was not enough to lure me away from Blake and Adam.
The only reason I even tuned into the first episode of this season was to see HotSean! Lowe strut his stuff. The Dose of Reality is a The Bachelor friendly environment, and I had to see if HotSean! would be a show stopper or a dud in the dancing department. I didn’t even know who else would be on the show this season.
I have to admit, as I watched Tom Bergeron introduce all of the new cast, I groaned when your name was announced and you walked down the steps with your partner Sharna. I’m not proud of that now, but it’s true.
You see, I remember seeing you on News Radio. You were funny. That whole show was great. But I also remember many, many accounts of you doing horrible things in real life. Things that made me disgusted.
You seemed to have a penchant for eccentric and bizarre behavior. You’ve exposed yourself in public several times. It’s been reported you’ve groped numerous women against their wishes. I remember reading you were forcibly removed from the set of Jimmy Kimmel Live! for being inappropriate with one of his other guests.
I’m sure your behavior was fueled by addiction issues, because I also know that you have had a very serious problem with drugs and alcohol for a number of years. You’ve been arrested for driving under the influence and for disorderly behavior, among other things. I don’t know how many times you’ve been in and out of rehab, but I know it’s more than once or twice.
The thought of you on the show made me uncomfortable. I wondered what the producers were thinking.
Well, I found out. Something happened that I didn’t expect as I watched that first night. I was re-introduced to you–the real you.
Before they showed your rehearsal footage you came right out and admitted that you’d had a terrible couple of decades, lost everything, and hit rock bottom. You were sober now and working really hard on that. You just put it all out there.
And then, things didn’t go well in practice that first week. The foxtrot was proving to be difficult and discouraging. You hit a breaking point. You kind of slid down the wall and began sobbing. You said you just didn’t want to let Sharna down.
Andy, that vulnerability really touched me. You see, I know you have kids. I know you’ve probably let your family down in ways that are hard for me to fathom. You’ve undoubtedly hurt many people over the years. You seem to be sincerely sorry for the pain you’ve caused. You don’t want to let *anyone* down any more. This left you sobbing in the practice room.
It left me sobbing in my den as I watched, too. Because Andy, we’ve all been there in one way or another. Sure we don’t all have a problem with drugs and alcohol, but we all have our things…our issues…that shame and humiliate us. Whether it’s our weight, financial irresponsibility, broken relationships, or unsuccessful careers, we are all grappling with something. We all struggle, and sometimes we all fall short.
But watching you, Andy, has been inspiring. Despite the very public failures of your past, you are out there trying. You’re still working on your sobriety and doing all you can do to heal the damage you’ve caused over the years. You haven’t given up.
It takes real courage to get back up and try again when you’ve been knocked down. It can feel futile. It’s scary to think you might fail other people (or yourself) again. It’s difficult, sometimes, to stop berating yourself for past mistakes. But you have to in order to move forward, make amends, and have a future.
And if you can do that, Andy, maybe I can, too. If you haven’t given up in spite of all of the obstacles in front of you, maybe it’s not too late for me to keep trying. Maybe it’s never too late for any of us to keep trying.
So I’ve been tuning in to Dancing With The Stars every week. It’s not for the shirtless muscular chests or the awesome dancing, although both are on display. It’s not due to a devotion to HotSean! or the hope of catching a glimpse of Tristan. It’s for you, Andy. I want to see you shine. I want to see you succeed.
I felt a real sense of triumph as you danced the Viennese waltz you dedicated to your daughter a few weeks ago. You wanted to put all of yourself into this dance to show your love. You’re not a fantastic dancer, but that doesn’t matter. The dance was absolutely beautiful. *You* are absolutely beautiful.
I hope you don’t ever give up. I pray this time it’s different for you. But, if you get knocked down again, I hope you find the strength somewhere to get back up and keep trying.
I’m rooting for you, Andy. I’m rooting for all of us.