Fans claim that the judges on Dancing with the Stars were too tough on recording artist Nelly, who was brought to tears after a Rumba performance that honored his late sister, Jackie. He and professional partner Daniella Karagach danced to Jackie’s favorite song, “Nobody Knows” by the Tony Rich Project. The rapper was visibly moved throughout the performance and while he stood in front of Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli for their critiques.
In a video package that aired prior to Nelly’s performance, he discussed his love for his sister, who died in 2005 after losing a battle with cancer. He explained that his family attempted to secure a bone marrow donor for Jackie but were unable to find a match.
He then admitted to fulfilling one of his sister’s greatest wishes — that her children would be taken care of. Nelly told Daniella that he has remained close with them and that Jackie would have loved being a grandmother. He also claimed that she would have laughed watching him dance.
He closed his remarks by revealing Jackie was always his biggest fan and supporter, and was the captain of what he called the “Nelly ship.”
The show posted a slideshow of three images of the performer that were liked over 29,000 times thus far.
During his performance, Nelly wore gold-rimmed glasses. These were paired with a tan, fitted dress shirt and brown pants.
His professional partner Daniella looked gorgeous in a low-cut patterned gown with a halter neckline. It had high slits that were cut to her hips on both sides to allow for freedom of movement. The back featured thin, crisscrossed straps and a bottom that fell to the smallest part of her waist.
Throughout the Rumba, Nelly sang the words to the song, which was released in 1996.
Fans took to the comments section of the show’s Instagram post to speak up in defense of the entertainer and claimed that the judges could have found a better way to critique Nelly as he stood in front of them and wiped tears from his eyes.
“This was not the dance to try and critique and underscore him on,” wrote one viewer.
“I could see his sadness all over his face. I know they have to critique but I guarantee that what they were saying was not what was going through his head while standing there,” added a second fan.
“I feel so bad for him he did a good job, kinda underscored on his birthday and with an emotional dance,” noted a third Instagram user.
“Really?? Three 7’s!?? Ugh and you could tell he was holding in his tears,” wrote a fourth fan.