In 2004, Jennie Finch helped the USA softball team win a gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games. Nowadays, she’s wowing fans on the wildly popular reality show “Dancing with the Stars.”
On May 7, 2018, the softball star and professional dancing partner Keo Motsepe were scheduled to perform to Janelle Monae’s new tune “Make Me Feel.” However, after contemplating the situation, Finch, who is an outspoken Christian, refused to dance to the song she deemed “a little too risqué.”
On “Dancing with the Stars,” the professional dance partners select the songs the amateur dancers perform to with the help of the show’s producers. According to reviewers of the show, Finch’s refusal to dance to a song was the first of its kind on the long-running show.
The softball star’s original plan was to simply alter the words of Monae’s song music critics have labeled a “bisexual anthem.” But, Finch told reporters that when she and her partner danced to the tune, she said, “And I was like, I just don’t feel good about it.” The contestant revealed Motsepe had created the entire choreography for Monae’s song before Finch made her decision.
“We had it done on Wednesday pretty much,” she said. “Completely, the whole thing. So really, it fell on Keo’s shoulders, and that’s why I am so thankful for him stepping up to the challenge, because it wasn’t easy. We changed it all.”
Instead of dancing to “Make Me Feel,” Finch and Motsepe performed to Daphne Willis’s song “Do It Like This” on the May 7 broadcast of “Dancing with the Stars.
When the improvised dance ended, “Dancing with the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, “I applaud you for choosing what felt right to you, and I think that’s setting a great example. However, I do think that is also what maybe held you back a little back.”
Len Goodman, another judge on the show, told Finch he deemed the dance a “competent performance.”
Not to be deterred, Finch told the judges “I had fun, and that’s all that matters. It was a fun, upbeat song.”
After the performance, the softball star acknowledged to journalists that she was indeed “a little off.”
“I knew I rehearsed better than I performed,” she said. “I try to power through things and muscle through them. I’m a pitcher. I explode and so now I have to figure out how to turn that power into grace and elegance.”
Further explaining her decision to reject Monae’s sexually suggestive song, Finch told reporters “Just as a mom, it’s not something we listen to in our house. And my fans, my audience, is young girls. I don’t know of anything more empowering than a man sticking by a woman, and following her gut and her heart, not feeling comfortable, and I wouldn’t be able to stand on that stage — I have a 5-year-old daughter — and be proud of what we’re doing in the song choice that we had. And there’s so many songs out there. Why even go that route even close?”
The Christian Olympian said she desires to “glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that.”
Monae hasn’t publicly responded to Finch’s refusal to perform to her song. She’s been busy recently promoting her new album “Dirty Computer.” During an interview with Rolling Stone last month, the singer revealed she considered herself as pansexual – which refers to having emotional, romantic, or sexual attractions towards others regardless of their gender identity or sex. Those who identify as pansexual might refer to themselves as gender-blind.
While interviewing with Rolling Stone, Monae said the album “Dirty Computer” came about in part due to things some people in her “massive, devoutly Baptist family” have said. The singer stated, “A lot of this album is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say, ‘All gay people are going to hell.’”
~ 1776 Christian