He’s hardly the judges’ favorite, but former Texas Gov. Rick Perry was supported by enough of the viewing audience Tuesday night to survive to perform for another week on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
The longest-serving governor in Texas history and the two-time failed Republican presidential candidate jumped for joy when it was announced that he survived the first cut on the popular television competition. It was a surprise to many because Perry had the lowest scores of any of the contestants after two dance numbers — a cha cha that scored 20 out of 40 possible points from the judges and a quickstep to the theme of Green Acres that got a 22.
The first “celebrity” to get the boot was Disney actor Jake T. Austin, who played Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez’s little brother on Wizards of Waverly Place.
Thousands of Dancing with the Stars fans took to social media to express shock that Perry survived. But participants raise money for charity, and Perry’s chosen cause is veterans, so a lot of big-name politicians, including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, were urging support for America’s military heroes.
“The judges are biased. They are shocked that @GovernorPerry is safe but after 3 decades he has a loyal following used to voting 4 him,” longtime Perry adviser Deidre Delisi tweeted after her former boss was declared “safe” for the week.
Among the top-performing contestants to also advance are Olympians Laurie Hernandez and Ryan Lochte, actress Marilu Henner, singer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, former NFL star Calvin Johnson and Indy race car driver James Hinchcliffe.