Janel Parrish's 'DWTS' Blog: This Week's Dance is 'Sensual and Passionate'

"We're not trying to compete with our scores from last week," says Parrish, who previously received a perfect 40 from the judges

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.

When we found out we had to change our choreography last week at the last minute, we were terrified because we only had a couple of days to get the routine down for show day. Thankfully, Val stayed pretty calm and turned out an amazing routine.

We were both shocked by the perfect scores. It was an amazing, unexpected surprise. I felt great about our performance and I had a blast, but in no way were we expecting 10s. When Julianne Hough said that I had a future in Broadway I was very, very happy. I actually started out on Broadway when I was 6, and it’s always been a goal of mine to get back there one day. That was an amazing cherry on top of an already amazing night.

I don’t think getting perfect scores last week has added any pressure on us going into this week’s performance. Every week, we start over with a new routine and a whole new dance, so we’re just focusing on trying to make sure that this routine is amazing. If we get great scores again that would be amazing, but we’re not trying to compete with our scores from last week.

This week, we are doing the rumba. The rumba is completely different from jazz. I had to erase everything I learned last week and start over with a new set of rules. That’s always the challenging part when you start a new dance – trying to forget the muscle memory your body has created during the last dance that you did.

I’ve taken a few dance classes in my life but never anything that prepared me for ballroom. Ballroom is so different from anything I’ve ever done, so anything I’ve ever learned in any dance class gets kind of thrown out the window when you start doing the rumba.

Val’s just an amazing coach and he pushes me to give all that I can possibly give by the end of the day. Every day when I go home, I feel like I get a little bit better.

This week is “Most Memorable Year.” The most memorable year for me is the year I moved to L.A. – it was the most challenging, scary but amazing year of my life! For me, the theme of that year was love. The rumba is a dance of love, so we’re going to bring all of that to the routine.

We’ll be dancing to Sam Smith’s cover of the Whitney Houston hit "How Will I Know." It’s a really, really beautiful dance, so I think it’s going to look amazing. The dance is going to be slow, sensual, beautiful, romantic, passionate. It’s going to be completely different from anything we’ve brought to the dance floor so far.


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