updated 10/01/2010 AT 4:35 PM ET
•originally published 10/01/2010 AT 5:00 PM ET
Michael Bolton is still a fan of Dancing with the Stars. But after judge Bruno Tonioli’s “mean-spirited” critique of the singer’s dance number Monday, Bolton has a message for the judge: “Bruno should search his soul for what he is doing on that show.”
The Grammy award-winning singer – who was voted off the show after Tonioli described his routine as “the worst jive in 11 seasons” and said he did it “very, very, very badly” – says he has nothing but praise for the show itself. “The producers and the people who work for them are phenomenal at making you feel as comfortable as possible.”
Though Bolton had said he feels the judge owes him an apology, he isn’t going to ask twice.
“I don’t wish to pressure the show I don’t blame them. Nor do I wish ABC to put any pressure on him. I think it’s a personal epiphany [Bruno] may have to have,” says Bolton. “I asked for it in one interview and I felt he should express a public apology to me. I think asking once is enough, and I don’t want my friends, fans and supporters to ask for it. It is what it is.”
The show’s producers defended Tonioli, saying he was only doing his job to give an honest opinion about Bolton’s dance.
Bolton Takes Responsibility for His Hound Dog
Bolton, who has returned to his One World One Love tour, says he takes responsibility for his dancing. His version of “Hound Dog” earned a total of 12 points out of 30. (Tonioli gave him just three points, while Carrie Ann Inaba gave him four and Len Goodman gave him five.)
“I own responsibility for not getting the scores that we needed the second week and I don’t want people to think I’m saying we would have won the show or something if it weren’t for Bruno,” says the singer who was partnered with professional dancer Chelsie Hightower.
“I just think Bruno needs to remember what the spirit of the show he’s on is,” adds Bolton. “The spirit of that show is lighthearted and inviting people to face something very, very scary and challenging and do something that enriches your life and the lives of the huge audience that is watching.”
Bolton fears that other celebrities who are uncomfortable dancing may think twice now about joining the show. “It’s not realistic to expect people to expose themselves to that kind of negativity that doesn’t have a positive encouragement message connected to it,” he says.
The hardest part of Tonioli’s stinging criticism, Bolton says, was that his 90-year-old mom Helen was in the audience. “It broke my heart for her,” says the singer noting that she flew in from Connecticut for the show. “She was very angry. It’s a good thing that there was an entire dance floor between her and Bruno.”