"Producers shouldn't sign up people who can't commit the time when they are told up front that the person is going to be on a book tour. We gave them the entire book-tour schedule in advance!" Smiley toldPeople following Tuesday night's Dancing with the Stars results show during which he got eliminated from the competition with his professional partner Sharna Burgess.
Smiley has been promoting his new book Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Final Year, which inevitably took time away from learning the steps. According to People, Smiley and Burgess practiced only 10 hours for Monday night's cha cha routine. The couple had received the night's second lowest score of 28 points from the Dancing with the Stars judges.
"This is not about sour grapes. It's about saying I think the fans deserve to have stars on this show who have the time to commit to learning the dances so Sharna and other professionals don't waste their time trying to do something that's just humanly impossible," Smiley explained.
"I asked for the spring. With all due respect to the producers, when they came after me, I said to them specifically I'm going to be on a book tour in September. Everybody on this show will tell you it's harder than it looks. You have to spend time perfecting. I've been a talk show host for 20-something years and I'm still getting better at it. But you can't perfect this in eight or 10 weeks."
The whole ordeal wasn't easy on Burgess either, as the pro dancer admitted it was stressful to travel to five different cities just to rehearse with the late-night talk show host for Monday's performance show.
"At that point, you have to steal five minutes wherever you can -- elevators, hallways, waiting backstage before he does his lectures," Burgess told the magazine. "It was a very intense process. I definitely had anxiety the whole week. But we made it work the best we can. At the same time, I'm incredibly proud of what we were able to do in 10 hours."
Smiley was prepared to focus all his attention on Dancing with the Stars in just two short weeks if he lasted that long in the competition.
"I told Shar if we miraculously got through two more weeks of this, we could really drill down," Smiley said. "But the clock ran out on us. It's like a football game. Sometimes you are making a comeback, and the clock just runs out. I did the best I could with the time we had. No regrets!"
Smiley also noted he understands why home viewers probably didn't vote for him given the circumstances.
"I think part of what fans may have been saying tonight was, 'Why keep Tavis around if he doesn't have the time to really dedicate to this?'" Smiley told People.
"Some people thought that Michael didn't have his best night last night. And he wasn't the best. His scores were lower than ours, that's the fact. But I think the fans can see that Michael is here, and he has time to actually commit to this. He's not on a book tour." About The Author:Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.