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Dancing with DiMarco: Nyle steps into first place on DWTS

March 22, 2016
By Phil Dignan

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Nyle DiMarco, ’13, simply crushed it on the dance floor.

DiMarco, the winner of Cycle 22 of America’s Next Top Model, finished the first night of Season 22 of Dancing with the Stars in a three-way tie for first place, ahead of among others, two current and one former NFL stars.

Unlike ANTM, with its season taped several months before it aired, DiMarco competed live to a national audience on what is considered one of television’s most popular shows. And unlike ANTM, DiMarco competes as a legitimate celebrity, against some of America’s most well-known actors, journalists, and athletes.

Prior to his dance performance with his professional dance partner, Peta Murgatroyd, a brief introduction of the pair along with clips of them rehearsing was shown, thus introducing DiMarco to millions of DWTS viewers. Of course, the focus was on the impending challenge facing both.

“She was shocked that she was going to be working with a deaf dancer, but I have a good feeling that we’re going to be a great team,” said DiMarco.”

Communication is key to an amazing partnership, so it is going to be super important for me to learn sign language,” said Murgatroyd.

Not even mentioned on the show was this: DiMarco was actually injured during the first week of rehearsals, receiving four stiches above an eyebrow after being struck in the face by Murgatroyd, as reported by People Magazine.

However, the performance of DiMarco and Murgatroyd was nearly flawless, and quite inspirational. It clearly drew the loudest response from the audience, deaf applause from some of the other contestants, and positive comments from all three judges: Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba.

“I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect that. It was terrific,” said Goodman, who gave a score of seven out of 10.

“Are you for real? I’m sorry, but I have to touch you, just in case you are a fantasy… you could be America’s next top dancer!” exclaimed Tonioli, who scored the dance an eight.

Inaba, who also gave a score of eight, gave probably the most insightful comment of the three, noticing the bond already established between DiMarco and Murgatroyd.

“Wow! You are actually in the pocket. You didn’t just have great rhythm, you were in the pocket of the rhythm,” said Inaba. “You brought the rhythm to life.

“Peta, I have so much respect for you because whatever is happening beyond the palpable chemistry that you guys have, there is an incredible partnership, and we know that this show is about teamwork. This is a beautiful team to watch.”  

In talking to DWTS host Tom Bergeron, DiMarco explained how he and Murgatroyd wowed the crowd without hearing the music as they danced the Cha Cha to the song “Cake by the Ocean” by DNCE.

“It’s actually Peta, she is dancing to the music, and I am just following her with my eyes.

“DiMarco and Murgatroyd’s performance seemed to make the anticipated performances of NFL stars Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Super Bowl MVP Von Miller of the Denver Broncos, the last two of the evening, a bit anti-climactic.

DiMarco is tied for first with ABC’s Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee, and Wayna Morris, original member of the Rhythm and Blues group Boys II Men. 

On hand to support DiMarco was his mother, Donna, his two brothers: Neal, ’13, and twin, Nico, ’12.

22 March 2016
By Phil Dignan

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Phil Dignan

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