Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She’s been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she’ll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.
Our video package last week showed a moment of tension between Val and me, and honestly, that’s real life. We’re showing ourselves to America and showing what we go through each day in rehearsals. It’s not always going to be happy and sunny. We’re working really, really hard, and sometimes, it’s very stressful and very frustrating. I’m actually glad that America got to see the real side of what happens with us in rehearsals.
Sometimes we don’t agree, but the thing that I love about Val and I is that we have really good communication, so when things like that happen, we’re able to talk through it and find a solution. We were really able to kind of cool off and talk about the things that bothered us in a calm way and compromise, and it’s been amazing since then.
As far as the rumors of romance between Val and me, I just want people to focus on the dancing that we do and the hard work that we do. I appreciate that people see that we have chemistry.
I really enjoyed having Leah Remini as a guest co-host last week. I think she is hysterical, and I love her dry sense of humor. I think she definitely knows how to lighten the mood and when to kind of crack the whip a little bit and be a little more serious. I thought she was a wonderful addition to the show.
Pitbull’s comment last week about the lack of passion in our dance really did bum me out a little bit and surprised me. I think Val and I are very proud of the chemistry that we show on the dance floor. It’s natural. We don’t work hard at it but we do have it, and it’s wonderful. I’m glad that people enjoy watching that.
So, when Pitbull said he didn’t think that we have any passion, I think that we were both a little bit like, “What?” We think that we do, and I have been receiving Tweets from people saying that they think that we do have a lot of passion – so that’s what matters. As long as we feel it, which we do, and as long as America feels like they see it, then we’re doing our job. And we’re also having a great time doing it.
Julianne Hough’s praise of our dance was amazing. It was a really, really tough routine, and I had a really hard time with it this week. It was definitely the hardest routine I had to work on, so I was very nervous going into it, especially finding out I was in jeopardy moments before. I didn’t feel like I was in the right mind space when the music started, so I’m glad that I got through it and I’m glad that it went well. I was really happy that Bruno Tonioli said that my turns had improved because that’s something that I’ve been working on. I still have a lot of work to do, so I’m hoping that I can stick around and keep improving.
This week we’re working on a Viennese waltz, and we’re actually going to do a Pretty Little Liars theme for Halloween. We are dancing to the show’s theme song, “Secret” by The Pierces, so that’s going to be amazing. I don’t want to give too much of it away, but it will be very much my character but more of a twist. It’s going to be fun.
I’m looking forward to showing my fans how much we love them. I know that the PLL army is very supportive of our team. They’ve been voting for us and watching the show, and I love that. I want to give back to them and show them how much I love Pretty Little Liars and how much I love their support. I’m looking forward to making my two worlds right now – Dancing with the Stars and Pretty Little Liars – collide. I’m really, really excited to show the fans what we’ve come up with. I think they’re going to love it!