Comedian Bill Engvall continued to be Season 17’s biggest surprise as he once again avoided elimination on “Dancing with the Stars” this week.
But he told reporters after Monday night’s show that he actually thought about withdrawing when he heard that Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was being sent packing instead of him!
“I was going to bow out,” Bill revealed.
On Monday, he and partner Emma Slater only received 23 points out of 30 for their quickstep and their group dance team finished second. Then, host Tom Bergeron announced on the show that a member of team Spooky Bom Bom was going home.
“We were ready to go,” Bill said. “When they said one of our team is going to go, I grabbed [Emma’s] hand and said ‘We’re going to New York. We’re leaving. I’ll buy you a drink on the plane.’ And I said, ‘I’ve had a great time.’ [Then] when they said Nicole and Sasha [were going], I literally took two steps, three steps toward them—I was going to say, ‘No, no, no, this can’t happen. This should be me.’
“I was going to tell them that I should be the one going, not Nicole, because she’s a much better dancer than me.”
However, Bill and Emma explained that Elizabeth Berkley’s dance partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, held him back and prevented Bill from making the generous offer.
Bill said Emma, Val, and the producers reminded him that “DWTS” wasn’t just about the dancing but a competitor’s fan base and popularity.
“I’m very proud of what we do and our dances and we have more fun than anybody. We do have a lot of heart in our shows and we bring it out there, but at some point, the dance [skill] has got to come into play,” he laughed.
“I’m going to keep doing the best I can, and when it’s our turn, it’s our turn.”
Bill told reporters he thought fans were connecting with him because “I’m just a regular guy.”
He said he talked to Nicole after the show. “I gave her a hug and started crying and said, ‘That should have been me’ and she goes, ‘Shut up.’ I said, ‘Listen, I didn’t want to like you and now I really do like you a lot.’ I was not a fan of the show ‘Jersey Shore,’ I’ll be honest. It was not my demographic but I’ve just fallen in love with that little girl.”
Later, Bill’s new best friend, Val, elaborated to xfinityTV about him almost quitting: “He said, ‘I can’t let this happen.’ I told him, ‘Listen, it has nothing to do with you. It’s a sad situation.’ [I told him] it has nothing to do with his journey and his performance and for him to sacrifice that is unfair. It’s more unfair than [Nicole] being eliminated.”
The dance pro who has received high scores all season with “Showgirls” star Berkley is now in a surprising “bromance” with Bill.
“He’s awesome,” Val smiled to xfinityTV. “I see an opportunity to help somebody. I’m very interested in how much further he can go [on "DWTS"] and how much more he can do and no matter how funny or awkward it may look — [he] might never look like a great dancer but his efforts and trying leaves a great memory with him. I just want to be able to provide those kind of memories. That makes me feel accomplished. I need Bill more than Bill needs me.”
“Dancing with the Stars” airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.