Simone Biles may be a four-time Olympic medal winner, but she’s finding out that performing on Dancing with the Stars requires a different skill set than competing as an Olympic gymnast. It’s not Biles’ dedication that comes into question or even the flawless execution of her dance routines, but her emotional engagement that was criticized on this week’s episode. While one of the Dancing with the Stars judges may have been more vocal than the rest, there was a general consensus that Simone should smile more while dancing with partner Sasha Farber.
Dancing with the Stars Judges Agree Simone Biles’ Performances Lack Emotion
Smile more. It’s been said many times to many women, but, as The Washington Post shares, Dancing with the Stars judges were imparting this bit of advice upon Simone Biles for good reason. As an athletic performer, Biles gives everything she has, pouring every ounce of strength, agility, and endurance into her dance routines with Farber. However, even a perfectly performed number can fall flat when the dancer is unable to connect with audiences on an emotional level.
This was the observation made by Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba on evaluating Simone’s most recent performance.
“Your skills are unquestionable,” Carrie Ann Inaba told her.
“You hit every line with precision and perfection. But once again, I’m going to come back to performance and authenticity about who you are when you perform. … You have this beautiful smile and you are a megastar with your energy, but once in a while, there’s beauty without a smile. There’s beauty in pain and all of the other emotions, and I’d like to see more of that.”
Judge Julianne Hough backed up Inaba’s assessment, adding that, even when Biles does smile, it appears rehearsed and not quite authentic. The Dancing with the Stars judge suggested that Simone open herself up in a more vulnerable way, suggesting her dancing could be enhanced through a more personal connection.
Simone Biles Fires Back Over DWTS Criticism
For some, life isn’t frivolous or as carefree as it is for others. This was the sentiment Simone Biles conveyed, when, as People reports, she tried to explain to judges that her life has been dedicated to competing from the age of 14. Having spent nearly every free moment in a gym has kept Biles from experiencing the full range of human emotions so readily displayed by others.
“I’ve lived in a gym 14 years of my life, so it’s hard to show something I’ve never felt before,” explained Biles.
Later, Simone would tell Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron something that was destined to go viral and become the war cry for women everywhere.
“Smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.”
Ms. Biles further explained the comments she made on Dancing with the Stars, when she suggested that people are possibly misinterpreting her in both her dancing performances and her spoken words. Biles added that she gives her best and presenting herself as authentically as she can, which is all anyone could ask.
Simone also expressed feeling frustrated by her entire Dancing with the Stars experience, especially in trying to understand what the judges want from her each week. That feeling ironically came to head this week, when she was accused of lacking emotion in her dance routines.
“I had tears in my eyes,” admitted Simone Biles. “I almost ran to the bathroom at one point, but I pulled it together.”
While Biles might have felt overly criticized by Dancing with the Stars judges, that moment has inspired a number of women, sharing their thoughts on social media.
“And just like that, every girl in America will start telling men who say to smile ‘smiling doesn’t win you gold medals.’ YAS, GIRL,” tweeted Elise Williams.
“My response to @Simone_Biles amazing clapback ‘Smiling doesn’t win you Gold medals’ #blackgirlmagic at it finest,” added Melanie321 in another supportive tweet.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays on ABC.
[Featured Image by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images]