Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez has seriously impressed Dancing With The Stars fans every week this season. She started out strong, consistently leading the pack with her crazy high scores. And if this week is evidence of anything, it’s that Hernandez isn’t slowing down any time soon. The gymnast became the first contestant to get a perfect score on this season of DWTS after wowing the crowd with an incredible jazz routine last night. And boy, are we impressed.
Hernandez and her partner Val Chmerkovskiy took on some ambitious, Michael Jackson-inspired choreography for this week’s Cirque du Soleil theme. Because of Hernandez’s hectic schedule, the pair only had three days to rehearse. Still, Hernandez found time to fit practicing into her plans—even if it meant spending the day with the president and the evening studying up on her choreography.
Clearly, Hernandez’s hard work paid off. She and Chmerkovskiy nailed their “The Way You Make Me Feel” routine—with the help of some Cirque du Soleil backup dancers. Hernandez landed every jump, hit every beat, and turned every flip with perfection. And of course, she did the whole thing with a smile on her face. The performance was charming, fun, and technically sound—and the judges noticed.
The panel rewarded the pair with high praise. Judge Carrie Ann Inaba told Hernandez, “A star is born,” and fellow judge Bruno Tonioli said the performance was like “watching Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, and Paula Abdul all combined.” Judge and actress Julianne Hough was left speechless by the whole thing. She gaped for a few moments before calling Hernandez “the queen of the ballroom!” Naturally, they gave Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy a perfect score—putting Hernandez well on her way toward claiming the DWTS disco ball trophy.
Thankfully, we still have a couple months to go before a winner is crowned—meaning we have a lot more time to watch Hernandez do her thing. We can’t wait to see what tricks she has up her sleeve next week.
SELF – Culture