Credit: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Before the premiere of Dancing With the Stars, Joe Amabile — a.k.a. the affable “Grocery Store Joe” from The Bachelorette — had the reputation of getting kicked off the very first episode of Becca’s season last spring. On Monday, the former produce buyer probably garnered even more sympathy by becoming the celebrity with the lowest score on opening night.

Amabile, who is partnered with pro Jenna Johnson, earned a mere 15 — including a 4 from Len Goodman — for his middling quickstep. After the show, Amabile was still flashing his charming smile but admitted he didn’t have much of an excuse for his poor performance. Asked what he was thinking during his inaugural performance in the ballroom, Amabile tells EW, “You know, nothing. Probably nothing. I was just really nervous. In the middle of the dance, I got into my head and forgot my steps.”

He and Johnson had two and a half weeks to prepare for the premiere. “Rehearsals don’t compare to what it’s like to go live,” Johnson adds. “Its just stressful.”

She admits that she tried to prep Amabile by saying the judges are “always harsh” on the first night. “They score low,” she says. “I told him I was proud of him. He went out there and did it.”

“You still want to do well,” Amabile replies, frowning.

During his rehearsal package earlier in the night, Amabile told Johnson — who described herself as a huge Bachelor fan — that he had no experience.

“Oh, you’re excited, huh? Don’t be that excited,” he told her while they hugged. “I don’t know how to dance.”

He also said he’d like to shed the Grocery Store Joe name. “I want to be Dancing Joe now! That’s it. We gotta change it up!”

For more on tonight’s DWTS premiere, check out our full recap. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Dancing With the Stars
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