Janel Parrish's DWTS Blog: Val Was Tough on Me, But Those 9s and 8s Made It Worthwhile
"We didn't really have any time to process it when our names were called," says Parrish of being asked to perform an encore
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.
The first week, I had the worst performance jitters right before the show started. But once I got the hang of how the show is run, I was really excited for Week 2. I just wanted to go out there and have a great time. And I did!
It was an amazing dance that Val choreographed. The hardest part of Week 2 was that we only had four days to learn the dance. With the Tuesday shows, you don’t get to rehearse that day, so you lose a day.
I was really happy with my performance. It was a tough week as far as we really drilled things. Val was really tough on me, but it was tough love and that’s the only way I was going to improve. I really needed to work on my technique. But hearing those nines and those eights definitely made it all worthwhile!
One thing that made this week’s performance tricky? The mask was a little bit of a nuisance at times because I couldn’t figure out how to take it off and throw it while keeping up with Val. If you watch it back, you can see me fumble with the mask and then just kind of throw it.
The encore was awesome, though! We didn’t really have any time to process it when our names were called. We didn’t know it was going to happen. We did it sans mask to avoid any issues. It was an honor to be asked to perform again.
Betsey was especially amazing during Week 2. She was so beautiful and elegant. Her lines were perfect. Val looked at me as she was dancing and said, “Take note.” I didn’t think that Tavis Smiley was going to go home. It was sad to see him go, not only because I love him, but because I also really love Sharna Burgess, his partner. It’s always sad to see someone go because we’ve become a little family.
I feel like it’s going to be different every single week, depending on what dance we’re doing. Some dances are harder than others. The hardest part is learning choreography while trying to learn what the dance is. So I don’t really know how this week is going to go. The foxtrot was a little harder to learn than the jive. Each week has its own challenges.
We’re doing jazz this week for Movie Night and we’re performing to West Side Story. I’m having so much fun picking out costumes. We have an amazing costume designer. They create everything from scratch and it’s just been a dream. I’m the biggest girly-girl. Any time I see something with sparkles on it, I’m so excited.
I’m really looking forward to this week’s performance. Jazz is really the only dance I have a tiny bit of experience in and I remember really loving it. It’s such a fun dance. And I love Broadway; it’s where I got my start. So this week is going to be a blast for me!