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Jenna Johnson Blogs ‘Dancing With the Stars’: The Judges Were ‘Incredibly Harsh’ on Grocery Store Joe (Exclusive)

Dancing With the Stars pro Jenna Johnson is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the season 27 Mirrorball Trophy with partner Joe Amabile! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.

Jenna Johnson and Joe 'Grocery Store Joe' Amabile
Jenna Johnson and Joe ‘Grocery Store Joe’ Amabile ABC

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So Joe and I had been rehearsing really hard for the past two and a half weeks and he literally had no dance training. We were starting at zero and slowly getting more comfortable. I was shocked by the progression he has made. The quickstep is super hard and to have that as your first dance, I think is crazy. He worked so hard. That’s my favorite thing about him — his work ethic and his motivation to do really well. I think people are going to see that. I hope they do because literally, it’s like a dream to have partner like that. I couldn’t be more grateful to have somebody that wants to work hard.

Jenna Johnson and Joe 'Grocery Store Joe' Amabile
Jenna Johnson and Joe ‘Grocery Store Joe’ Amabile Courtesy of Jenna Johnson

I could tell he was so nervous on Monday night. He told me that when he was on The Bachelorette, that’s kind of what happened to him as well; his nerves got the best of him. I think it’s just really scary. People forget that he’s a normal guy that was found in a grocery store and asked to do The Bachelorette. He’s not used to any of this — the glitz, the glam, cameras, intense pressure like this. I think it just got to him a little bit.

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I think we started out really strong, we almost had it but in the middle to end section, I think he got in his head and it threw him for a loop for the rest of the time. I thought the judges were incredibly harsh, especially for somebody that has never danced before. I’m a little sad that they didn’t recognize that or mention that, because he really is one of the only people who has never either acted or has athletic ability or performed or danced. I thought they were really harsh but I think it gives us room to grow. It gets people talking. People are going to be talking about that number for a while. We’ll take it.

Jenna Johnson and Joe 'Grocery Store Joe' Amabile
Jenna Johnson and Joe ‘Grocery Store Joe’ Amabile ABC

I’m a little sad because our dress rehearsal was almost perfect. I think he’s down on himself as well but it’s OK because on Tuesday, we have a redemption dance. We’ve just gotta prove why we deserve to be here. I think he’s actually better at that dance and he’s going to feel way more confident and comfortable performing in front of a live audience.

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I hope people vote because he’s such a good guy and I know what he’s capable of. I think tonight wasn’t his best performance and he can really shock people once he really nails his dance moves. There’s so much more that Grocery Store Joe is capable of, they just haven’t seen it yet.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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