Disney Night is a Dancing with the Stars fan favorite, and it’s one of my favorites as well. I want to give a huge shout out to the production crew and creative team at DWTS, the hair and makeup team and every single person who worked to create the magic of Disney right in our DWTS ballroom. All the Disney princesses were taken by the dancers, so I chose to make up my own princess. I decided to wear pink because it’s the color of the heart chakra, and everything I do right now comes from my heart. The makeup for this episode was beyond anything we’ve ever seen in the past— Carole Baskin and her partner Pasha brought The Lion King to life with a very special flair. Sadly, Carole is not moving on to the next round, but I want to say that I have a lot of respect for her coming on the show and doing something so outside of her realm while spreading the word about her mission of saving big cats. I’m thankful for the production numbers she brought to the show, which will live on in DWTS history for many years to come. My favorite will always be the Viennese Waltz she and Pasha performed last week to Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?”
In week three, all the couples seem to have found their stride. In past seasons, there have been a lot of elements that could help distract from any flaws in couples’ performances. We’d have fantastic production numbers with backing dancers that would frame the couple and sometimes this would help to mask the couple’s weaknesses. This year, with no backing dancers, we get to focus on the growth of the actual contestants themselves. For me that’s what DWTS is all about.
When I think about the growth I saw this episode, Johnny Weir is the first name that comes to my mind. Johnny is a two-time Olympic skater who’s trained his whole life to do something that is very similar to dance but is not quite dance. His challenge this season has been to learn to use his feet for dancing instead of skating. Johnny has brought so many strengths to this competition; we already know that he knows how to perform, we know he has lyricism. But now we’re watching him make the challenging transition from skating to dancing and I believe we saw his work pay off in this episode He’s traded in his skating feet and finally found his hardwood floor feet, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Another breakthrough I saw was in Jeannie and Brandon’s performance to ″Married Life″ from Up. When a celebrity truly learns to trust their pro partner, and the couple finds its energetic balance, that’s when the magic starts to happen. During their ballroom dance I saw this balance and connection manifest for the two of them. I spoke of balance a lot this episode because week three is when the couples start to really become partners. The first two weeks of Dancing with the Stars are always a process for the newcomers to find their bearings, but this year even the pros had to reorient themselves. Our dancers are used to performing to a live audience. Now that the only audience in the house is the three judges, there’s been a dynamic shift. In previous seasons, the audience might go crazy for a couple’s number, even if the technique was wrong. The dancers might have had a hard time listening to our notes while they were receiving such a positive reaction from the crowd. This year, our feedback is the only input the dancers receive, and it’s made for an interesting dynamic between the judges and the dancers.
While I’m talking about balance, I have to acknowledge the growth I saw in another one of our couples: Vernon and Peta. There’s a huge height difference between them which can be a major obstacle for some couples, but their quickstep to “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast showed that they’ve not only found a balance between their heights but found balance in their energies as well. That is the goal for every couple, to first find their balance with each other and create a connection so they can dance as one, and then to start building off of that structure. We should start to see even more “wow” moments as the couples deepen their trust for each other and keep building their partnerships.
I want to congratulate all of our couples; I respect them for all the hard work they’ve been putting in.
Disney Night is such a special night for us, and I feel so fortunate to be on a show that makes time to celebrate the wonder and magic that Disney represents. So many of us grew up with these fairy tales, these heartwarming stories, and all of us can benefit from taking a moment to believe in the magic and whimsy from our childhood. In bringing these stories to life, from Moana to Up to Disney’s upcoming film Soul, I really believe Dancing with the Stars is uplifting our audience and I’ll always feel that it’s important work. Throughout history, dance has always been a source of escapism and joy during difficult times, and that’s exactly what the world needs now. I want to thank my team for helping me be a part of the magic by putting together such a fun look, from the crown to the dress to all my glittering jewelry. I’d like to thank my designer, Steven Khalil, for the perfect fairytale dress, and Dena Kemp and Lafonn for the gorgeous jewelry. To find out more about this episode’s look you can read my Getting-Ready Diary on People.com. Now it’s time to get back to work on The Talk; you can join me there Monday through Friday at 1pm, or streaming online at CBS.com. Be sure to keep following our journey on Dancing With The Stars on ABC every Monday at 8pm, because it’s only getting better from here.