Olympic athlete and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Jennie Finch last week refused to perform to a popular new Janelle Monae track, ‘Make Me Feel,’ citing her Christian faith and desire to honor God. The song, “Make Me Feel,” is sexually suggestive and was deemed to be a “little too risqué” by the athlete. Finch was struggling with the song all through rehearsals until she finally made a phone call to producers saying she was not prepared to dance to such a sexually charged track.
The sexy song is from Monae’s new album, “Dirty Computer.” Music critics have called it a “bisexual anthem.”
“It’s not what I’m about. I need to follow who I am and stand up for what I believe in,” Finch explained. She added: “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that.”
The athlete later elaborated on her bold refusal, telling reporters that “just as a mom, it’s not something we listen to in our house. And my fans – my audience – is young girls,” as reported by Us Weekly.
The All-American softball pitcher hopes that this courageous stand for her faith will inspire others, but mostly, her aim is to bring glory and honor to God in heaven. “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that,” she explained.
This is apparently the first time a contestant has refused a dance song in the show’s history. Despite it being a bit of a hassle for her dance partner and choreographer, Keo Motsepe, Finch is convinced that she made the right choice.
“We had it done on Wednesday pretty much. Completely, the whole thing,” the former Olympian said of the dance routine. “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.”
“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,” Finch said.
Despite her dance partner having “had the whole choreography done” prior to the last minute switch, she and Motsepe performed a cha-cha to the Daphne Willis song “Do It Like This” Monday night.
The judges seemed to appreciate Finch for being true to her convictions.
“I applaud you for choosing what felt right to you, and I think that’s setting a great example,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said following the performance.
“I had fun, and that’s all that matters,” Finch told the judges. “It was a fun, upbeat song.”
Finch received a lot of online support for her decision:
“She did fantastic for having changed the song that late in the week! She followed her instincts, and that’s great!” one person commented on a YouTube video of her dance.
“Kudos to Jennie for sticking to her guns regarding the provocative song. “Make Me Feel” is pretty sexual so I can see why she was uncomfortable,” another added.
“I think the season especially with Jennie, working with an athlete is the best thing ever because she’s a perfectionist. So everything she does she wants it to be perfect…It’s a blessing and also pressure,” said Motsepe. “A lot of pressure and a lot of hard work.”
Finch, a softball pitcher who helped lead Team USA to a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, is a Christian and speaks often in public about her faith.
One of the couples to go home as part of week three’s triple elimination Monday night during “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” wass Jennie Finch and partner Keo Motsepe. Mirai Nagasu and Alan Bersten and Chris Mazdzer and Witney Carson were also eliminated.
The couple danced a romantic Viennese waltz to “The Rest of Our Life” and scored a 29 out of 40. She also went head to head with Tonya Harding in the dance-off round, but fell to the former Olympic figure skater. Last week, the couple danced a vibrant cha cha to “Do It Like This” and earned 26 points. During the premiere, Finch received 21 out of 30 points for her graceful foxtrot to “All-American Girl” by Carrie Underwood. Ultimately, however, she fell just short of next week’s finale.
The finalists are Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, NFL star Josh Norman and former figure skater Tonya Harding. The finale of this season’s all-athlete edition of “Dancing with the Stars” airs next Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC.