Introducing ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Review: Only Jojo Siwa's Parts: A Series
Part 1: Queering the narrative
What up, adult Siwanators! Last night was Disney Legends Night and Heroes Night on Dancing with the Stars. And so America’s fourth Olsen twin and total ringer Jojo Siwa and her partner Jenna Johnson, who is apparently NOT Jenna Dewan Tatum, performed a Viennese Waltz to “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella.
As Jojo says in the intro, “We gonna switch it and do it masculine,” to which Jenna replies “Oh yeah, you’re going to be dressed like a prince and everything. Why not? It’s Disney Night!” She must be referencing the grand tradition of Butlerian gender play on Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., the Doogie Howser reboot on Disney Plus.
Thus commences the Mickey Dance Challenge, in which Jenna and Jojo have to perform a traditional waltz with Jojo taking the lead as a dashing prince and Jenna following in her gown. To make things a little crazier, especially because Jojo is a Nickelodeon girl, the duo has to shoehorn a few moves into their routine as demonstrated to them by an animated Mickey Mouse on an iPhone:
I’m a really good dancer, so I feel qualified to judge Jojo and Jenna’s performance. But I’m best known as a nuanced fashion critic, and so I’ve got to mention the clothes. Jojo looks like a hot little nutcracker in her white-on-black Prince Charming outfit. Her elegant honey blonde bun only further highlights the dazzling gold epaulettes on her military jacket, and middle school Show Choir character shoes are always going to provoke envy in me (I didn’t make Show Choir nor the less prestigious Chamber Singers at my middle school, even though I do an amazing Daddy Warbucks impression).
Jenna looks good too, obviously, but isn’t really queering the narrative enough with her blue Cinderella dress for me to comment on.
The dancing was remarkable, and what I like best about it is how it was one minute long. They twirl and they whirl. Jojo puts her hand up on Jenna’s hip, and when she dip, you dip, and at home, I dip. In the audience, Jojo’s father and mother, a Verna Maroney type if I’m being honest, are proud as punch served with Omaha Steaks.
Tyra Banks, wearing brown feathers and pulling it off, introduces the judges so they can speak their minds. Some British guy billed as a Professional Ballroom Judge says something that I don’t understand but makes Jojo’s face fall slightly, which I hated to see. Derek Hough, scion of the Hough family of activists, calls the duo “clean and elegant.” A man in a shiny suit made of baby seals says the girlies are full of “charm, grace, and elegance, and Mickey? The Mickey Challenge added some extra magic!” Way to assign credit to a man doing the least in a group project.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba remedies this quickly by saying, “Jojo, I am so proud of you. You just showed the world girls can do anything guys can do, and sometimes maybe even better.”
Tyra asks the question she claims everyone at home is wondering: “How was it playing a prince?”
“Honestly, I think everyone could assume Jenna was excited to be a princess,” says Jojo. However, I was more excited to be the prince. I’ve always just thought that girls can do anything. Guys can do anything. Anyone can do anything.”
The judges gave them a combined score of 35 out of a possible 36. But ultimately, my word is final, and I score them 100 copies of Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior.