"He really left his mark and entire heart on the dance floor, and I think America saw that," Jenna Johnson writes


Jenna Johnson was back for her fifth season as a pro dancer on Dancing with the Stars — and was partnered with Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown. Every week, Jenna gave readers an inside look at their journey, including the challenges and laughs they shared. Now, she reflects on their elimination and how Brown “left his mark” on the show.

We were really excited this week because we had Paso Doble and Karamo had been looking forward to this dance since the beginning of the season. We were also really excited because Karamo got to dance to not only one Beyoncé song, but two – our individual dance to “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, and our group dance to “Sweet Dreams” by Beyoncé. Rehearsal week was really intense because this was the first week we had to learn two dances. It was also the first time that we had to dance with other couples in a group setting that we weren’t accustomed to, which was a fun challenge but was a lot to focus on in one week. Not to mention it was Halloween night, so there was a lot of character, makeup, costumes, props, and spooky intensity.

Jenna Johnson
Jenna Johnson and Karamo Brown
| Credit: Jenna Johnson

Halloween is one of Karamo’s favorite holidays, so he was up for the challenge and ready to be a scary skeleton for our Paso Doble. It didn’t hurt that our makeup, hair and wardrobe department absolutely killed (pun intended) our looks. The judges mentioned that Karamo brought his intensity and Carrie Ann said that he was a “sonic boom” on the dance floor, and I couldn’t agree more. Karamo fully embraced the character, the styling and the essence of Paso.

For our team dance we were on Team Treat, which was made up of Karamo, Kel, Kate and Sean. We definitely were the underdog team going into it and we knew it, but that gave our celebrities even more drive to really work hard this week and nail the routine. They all stepped up to the plate, and worked as a team to create the best performance they could, and I think they all rose to the occasion – especially Kate being the only girl, and having to match three professional girls (Lindsay, Witney and myself). That made us all really proud of her. It was really sweet because the three men on our team became this little bromance, and every second we would turn around on set and the three of them would be practicing together. It was really sweet to see the comradery between Karamo, Kell and Sean on the dance floor.

Karamo Brown
| Credit: Jenna Johnson

Karamo and I got great scores and were feeling really confident, but sadly we did end up in the bottom two with Kate and Pasha. I think one of the reasons I’m not as devastated as I thought I would be is because Karamo absolutely nailed his piece and we went out with a bang. He really left his mark and entire heart on the dance floor, and I think America saw that. I would say that this is one of the strongest, most talented casts we’ve had in years, so it was a really tough competition and I think anyone could have gone home – that’s how tight it is. Obviously I did not want it to be us, but it was and I am so proud of every single one of these performances, and the two and a half months I’ve got to spend with Karamo. From secretly practicing in Philadelphia on the set of Queer Eye, to going on an undercover Maui rehearsal trip with Karamo and his fiancé before the premiere, to getting to know Karamo to his core and really growing to love him, this journey has been one that I wouldn’t replace for the world.

I want to thank the fans, especially those who stood by our sides and voted for us each week – you all are why we do what we do. I especially want to thank Dancing with the Stars and ABC for giving me the platform to create and pursue my dancing dreams on live TV.

Now that the season has wrapped for me, I hope to see you all on tour in the new year. And if I’m lucky, I won’t be leaving your TV anytime soon. Love you all so much; let’s not stop our conversation, and let’s never stop dancing. XOXO.