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 quickstep we performed last week was honestly one of my favorite dances we’ve done. I thought it was amazing. It was America’s choice dance, so they chose everything down to our costumes and the song and the style, and at the end they wanted us to kiss, so we threw that in for America!
Even though Val had a little bit of a stumble during the dance, it didn t throw us off at all. The poor thing, his patent leather shoes got stuck together, but we both just kept going and we were able to get back on track. I know Val felt really bad because of the slip, but I was like, “You’re human! Sometimes humans slip. It’s all good!”
During rehearsals for last week’s trio dance I was terrified, as you could see in the package. Every time they threw me I felt like they threw me higher and higher. Keo Motsepe’s very tall and they’re both very powerful men, so when they would throw me I would fly. I actually wasn’t terrified of being upside down and having the men grab my legs and pull my body apart, but being thrown up in the air was the scariest part.
I actually didn’t stop screaming while doing that throw until show time. Once it was show time, Val was like, “Please, please don’t scream during the show!” And so when show time came I kind of just got into performance mode and I didn’t notice. It didn’t faze me that they threw me, which I’m glad about because when I watched it back it looked good and I didn’t scream, so I was really proud of myself.
Getting positive feedback from the judges was very rewarding. You work really, really hard each week, hoping you’re going to impress the judges and impress America with your dances, and you pour your heart out when you go out on that dance floor. There were a few weeks in the middle of the run of the show where I felt like I wasn’t getting good feedback from the judges, and it really bummed me out because I wanted them to like the dances that we were doing. To finally get good feedback at this point in the competition, it makes me feel like I’ve been doing my job and improving and working hard, and that’s a very rewarding feeling.
This week we have a paso doble and an Argentine tango. The paso doble is going to be very powerful and passionate, and the Argentine tango is going to be softer and more romantic. It’s going to be fun and I’m really excited.
It’s been a crazy week because I’m back to work on Pretty Little Liars filming my Mona flashbacks for the finale. It’s been a little bit hectic, but Val’s been great about being flexible about my schedule, and we fit in rehearsal times whenever we could.
This week’s theme is “plugged/unplugged,” so we’re all doing one song – a regular version and then we’re doing the same song but an acoustic version. My song is Calvin Harris’s “Blame,” so I’m looking forward to showing two completely different sides of the same song.