Andy entered this season as a potential “controversial” contestant (drug and alcohol abuse has led him to trouble many, many times) and his pre-season rehearsals breakdown just made us worry more. We didn’t expect him to be a hit. Instead, Andy came off as sincere in his interview, seemed to have a warm relationship with his uber-supportive partner (great new pro Sharna Burgess), and was surprisingly decent-to-good in his classy Week 1 Foxtrot. He may not be Fred Astaire reborn, but he was charming! And fun! It's hard to imagine anyone saw that coming, and the effect was to make us cheer for this strangely endearing guy.
Andy talked to On the Red Carpet after the show and the reporter said everyone on the press line was cheering for him. Will this last? It's hard to say. One dance does not a season make.
The judges only gave Andy a score of 17 out of 30 — two 6s and a 5 from Grumpy Old Len. It’s not exactly the 24 leaderboard-toppers Zendaya Coleman & Val Chmerkovskiy got, but they were expected to do well; the pleasant surprise of Andy made him seem like the success of the night. The judges were backhanded with their compliments, which may have actually helped Andy with viewers, since it just makes him more of an underdog. When the judges repeatedly called him "deranged" and "crazy" and an "ugly duckling" it made us sympathize with him and want to protect him as much as Sharna. Did you feel that too, or are we going crazy as well?
Do you think Andy & Sharna could work their underdog story all the way to the finale? D.L. Hughley is another comedian competing this season, and you could argue he's even more of an underdog with that premiere score of (wince) 12, but he didn't seem to put in the same amount of work. Andy showed effort and personality. He wants to do well. He wants to be liked. He wants to change his future. It's an inspiring sports movie in the making, if he can ride it to the end. Do you think it's possible?