Springer decided to appear on the ABC reality show to learn the waltz for his daughter's upcoming wedding. He and partner Kym Johnson have so charmed viewers that they've avoided elimination for the last two weeks.
"This is the first time I've done TV being myself," Springer told The Cincinnati Enquirer for a story published Tuesday. "My TV show isn't really me or about me. I just introduce the guests and let them go at it."
Springer said he put a lot of effort into learning the waltz so he could dance it with his daughter, Katie, during her wedding in December. The waltz was featured on Tuesday's episode.
"I try to do all of the dances well, but this one is more important to me," he said.
Springer acknowledged he's not a very good dancer. The judges ranked his tango second-worst last week, but viewers liked him far better. Half of the vote total comes from the public.
"Obviously, everyone is a better dancer than I am," Springer said.
His personality seems to be winning over the audience, though. Viewers have seen the self-deprecating humor that helped Springer, 62, get elected to the Cincinnati City Council in the 1970s and serve one term as mayor.
He later anchored a local TV newscast, then went on to host the "The Jerry Springer Show," infamous for its trashy topics and brawling guests.
"Most of America only knows Jerry as the guy reacting to the insanity of his TV show guests," said Jay Gilbert, a disc jockey for WEBN-FM in Cincinnati and longtime friend. "Now they're seeing the Jerry we know — the self-effacing and witty guy who's worlds away from what he's most famous for."