Jenna Johnson is back for her fifth season as a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars — and is partnered with Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown. Every week, Jenna will give readers an inside look at their journey thus far: the challenges, the laughs they share and what it’s going to take to win!
This past week Karamo and I had contemporary, and I was really looking forward to this week because so far Karamo and I haven’t done any emotional pieces. We’ve gotten a sense of his very energetic, bubbly side and a little bit of his sexy side, but we haven’t done anything super vulnerable or emotional, so I had been waiting for contemporary, and I was so excited that we got it. When I found out that Karamo had invited his father to California and that this whole scenario was about to go down, I knew that I needed to do something special for Karamo. I felt a lot of pressure this week because it’s such a personal story for him, and I just wanted to do it justice.
I interpreted the dance in a way that didn’t replicate an exact person like his father or his family, but instead I wanted to represent the art of healing. That’s why in a lot of the choreography I look as if I’m holding him, hugging him or cradling him. That was a motif that I wanted to keep throughout the dance. I was so thrilled with how Karamo executed it. I feel he really left his heart out on the dance floor and really gave it his all. I was just so proud of him for really opening up about his story. There’s so many people who could possibly be going through something similar, especially LGBTQ youth, and so I’m really glad that he was strong enough, and had the courage to share his story. Hopefully it will shed light on this situation and be a positive example for others.
To end that routine and this week by getting a 9 from Carrie Ann and two 8s was INCREDIBLE. We were over the moon about our highest scores yet. I couldn’t believe it and I was just so, so happy. I think it was a really emotional night for lots of people, but especially Karamo; it was very surreal. I knew that he was feeling a lot of emotions, especially just looking in the audience and seeing his father, who came from Jamaica — his father sitting in the audience next to his mom, next to his son, next to his fiancé. It was just filled with emotion and it was very surreal even for me. Seeing them in the audience was really spectacular, and I think that it added to the energy we were feeling. I think other people were able to feel that, it was just an overall awesome night.
I was SO heartbroken to see Val and Sailor in the bottom two this week. And then to see them go was even harder. I don’t think that they deserved to go whatsoever. I don’t think any of us were expecting that elimination; it was truly shocking, but that tends to happen around this midway mark in the season. I think people just assume that because contestants are getting high scores, that they’re safe. But you never know what’s going to happen on this show, so I hate that they were put in that unfortunate situation, and my heart is just still broken. Sailor absolutely is a dream. My husband would come home just raving about her every night, and what a sweetheart she is, how her heart and soul would go into every single rehearsal, every single piece. She lit up any room that she was in with the best attitude, she was thrown into this whole competition last minute, and I think she did a fabulous job. I think she made her mom proud, she made Val proud, and she should definitely be proud of herself for how she held herself in this competition and for how far she made it.
I’m biased: I thought Val and Sailor should be in the finals for sure, but I think I just really, really loved them. I was just such a fan of their great partnership, you could tell that they had a great time together and a great time performing. Seriously, this was one of the happiest I’ve seen Val during a season. He was so inspired to go to work every day, and Sailor was such a great student. She wanted to learn everything that he had to teach, and she was just a blast. I’m so disappointed for them, but that is the nature of this show, unfortunately. You have to remember to vote, or else someone could potentially end up going home, especially someone who deserved to go further in the competition.
I do not know what I deserved to have the husband that I do, but he is seriously a dream, and of all nights, I came home after staying late for rehearsal on Monday night, and there was a handwritten note left for me on our dining room table basically just saying how much he loved me, how proud he was of me and that he’ll be rooting me on. I am so honored to be his wife, and I think he is a class act. He is in a league of his own, I should be leaving him notes! And of course I come home, I’m the one safe and still in the competition, and he has a handwritten note. He is the best, I love him, I adore him, and I’m so excited to see the journey that he is going to be on and do next. I think that he is so talented and that he deserves the world, so shout-out to my husband.
This coming week is going to be Halloween night, and I am a big fan of Halloween, so I am really really excited. It’s actually where I sort of had my big break on DWTS in season 23 as Harlequin with James Hinchcliffe. I love doing something spooky, and that’s what Karamo and I have in store. He is SO excited about this week, and so I think that already is a great, positive note to start our week off with. I’ve never seen him so into a dance. I’m not going to tell you what we have, but it’s going to be fun. So happy Halloween, and get ready for next week!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.