The dance judge is best known for standing out from the judges’ table for both his playful and outrageous comments
Jonathan Kanter, the judge who has quickly become renowned for occasionally causing a sensation while taking the role of a tough but fair dance professional on Dancing with the Stars, was in the spotlight yet again last week after he was asked by a contestant if she was “looking at someone, you’re his, looking like your girlfriend”.
“You don’t say that to anybody,” responded Kanter, provoking groans and titters from viewers on social media.
Kanter, who is known for his cheeky, sometimes outrageous comments, plays down his reputation as a showman in a phone call with the Guardian. He says he still has a lot to learn about live television.
“It’s more about the interview process where they can see you react to what you’re seeing,” Kanter said. “My entire show is in real time. So you’re reacting to the celebrities, you’re reacting to your interview, you’re reacting to the judges’ feedback. But obviously you’re in front of the camera every five seconds.”
Jonathan Kanter (@JonathanKanter) It was a surprise to me that I was asked about our competition politics. I hope @victoriabeckham was NOT my question. pic.twitter.com/gQQJd9IOXs
Despite having been called out for his bit-part on a minor comedy about Netflix, True Memoirs of an International Assassin, Kanter said he is ready to expand his repertoire as well as his brand.
“Live television is really hard,” Kanter said. “To do it a second time you go through the interviews and then you have to go over the rehearsals and then you have to go over the choreography. You have to be there for a rehearsal three days in a row. You learn the steps so you can dance as much as you can without it coming off as uncomfortable or silly.”
After almost three decades in the industry, Kanter said he was ready to devote himself to a role on Dancing with the Stars.
“Part of me wanted to try a new experience,” Kanter said. “It’s been an incredible three-year journey. I’ve learned so much. My career has gone from very small show that everyone started noticing about eight years ago to something that has definitely gone from unknown to really cool.”
Kanter acknowledged that he had raised eyebrows on Saturday night, but he doesn’t regret his comments.
“In the rehearsal you would never know what a cat is going to say in the moment,” Kanter said. “It can be a hard thing because you have to be very aware of those verbal cues so when you’re putting on your ‘interpretation’ of everything, you make the decision on the fly and we really see what works, what doesn’t work.”
His co-judge Julianne Hough also tweeted a picture of Kanter after the performance, saying: “Proud to be a part of the ‘team’.”