Skai Jackson Tearfully Remembers Cameron Boyce as She Dedicates DWTS Dance to Late Disney Costar
On Monday's Dancing with the Stars, Jackson dedicated her foxtrot to Boyce, who was "a really close friend" of the actress and her castmate on Disney Channel's Jessie. Jackson, who played Zuri Ross, starred opposite Boyce (Luke Ross) from 2011-15.
Reflecting on her friendship with Boyce, 18-year-old Jackson told pro partner Alan Jackson: "He was in my life for half of my life, which is crazy."
"I met Cameron, obviously, on Jessie, and we just really built this bond for years and years and years. And he was kind of like a big brother figure to me," said Jackson.
"He always looked out for me through everything. He really molded me into the person that I am now."
"Of course I miss him every day," said Jackson, who began to cry. "But I have him on my phone case, so I get to see him."
Also Jackson was admittedly "a little bit sad, of course" that Boyce is no longer here, she knows "that he would be really proud of me. I know that he loved Dancing with the Stars and he loved dancing. So that's why I'm really excited, just to do this dance, because it is for him."
While Boyce wasn't able to see her perform in person, Jackson said she was "really glad that he's here to watch over us."
"I just want to show him that this dance is for him," said Jackson.
And she did just that.
Performing a foxtrot to the tune of John Legend's "Ordinary People," Jackson blew the judges away with her beautiful number, which earned the first 10 of season 29.
"Skai Jackson, last week I said it wasn't my favorite. This was my absolute favorite dance of the night," said Derek Hough. "I mean, it was just exquisite."
"I was blown away by that just now," said Carrie Ann Inaba, who later added: "First of all, for me, dance is always about the emotion, and I'm sure that Cameron is watching you right now and he is so proud of you. What you did, you were like an angel dancing the most beautiful dance. ... It was just sheer perfection."
Bruno Tonioli made similar comments, calling the dance "stunning. It was the embodiment of grace and elegance."
The actress was awarded a 28/30: a 10 from Inaba and two nines from Hough and Tonioli.
While the scores brought a smile to Jackson's face, what she wanted host was to make Boyce proud.
"I hope I did," she told host Tyra Banks. "He was someone that was really important to me and he's part of why I did the show," a tearful Jackson said. "I just want to encourage people to donate to the Cameron Boyce Foundation, which was really close to him."
Following news of his death last year, Jackson dedicated a heartbreaking tribute to Boyce on Instagram, in which she shared multiple photos of the pair together throughout the years.
"I don’t even know where to start... I am at a loss for words. I never thought in a million years I would be writing this. Cam, you were one of a kind. My heart will be forever broken. I am so happy that I got to spend almost everyday with you on set, you gave the best hugs. I wish I would have hugged you tighter when I saw you a couple of months ago," Jackson wrote.
She concluded: "Thank you so much for being the big brother I never had... I am so distraught and I cannot stop crying! I love you so much... fly high 👼🏼 💔😢 Gods best Angel. #CameronBoyce."
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.