I became fascinated with Jojo Siwa many years ago because, despite our 12-year age gap, I saw what I perceived to be the worst parts of her in myself. She was blonde in a way that read more “annoying” than it did “bombshell,” and like me, she could not stop talking ever. But something’s shifted since she turned 18 and came out earlier this year, and even since I started writing this column a few weeks ago. She’s Jojo 2.0. Jojojojo. She’s thoughtful, she’s charismatic, and she’s never been more graceful. I have no doubt she could helm a real film, or do any job she wants. Give her Ellen’s job! Give her Colin Jost’s! Give her Bill Skarsgård’s! Give her Leah Finnegan’s! [Ed note: Please do not.]
Last week, as detailed in DWTS:OJSP, Jojo credited her partner Jenna Johnson with much of her recent growth (ABC keeps highlighting how she views her as a “big sister” in a way that feels perverted to me). But this week on Dancing with the Stars, it was Jenna who embodied “kid bro” a la Georgie from Stephen King’s It, the boy in the rain with the yellow balloon. Jojo was Pennywise and they jazz danced to “Anything Goes” by District 78 ft. Patrice Covington.
“How the hell are a guy from the sewer and a dumb baby going to pull this one off?,” you might have been asking yourself. Well, you obviously don’t know Jenna and Jojo, the Pink Ladies who pulled off a perfect 10 last week.
Bathed in red light and an encompassing smog, the show begins with a close crop on Jenna, dressed a little like Paddington Bear. She, as Georgie, lets go of the balloon. “Times have changed,” warn the vocals. Then, we get a horrifying glimpse of Jojo, who is nothing if not someone who commits.
She’s got the balloon now. I never finished It because I was too busy rereading The Corrections, but this can’t be good.
Our two heroes face off with some mechanical miming at one another. Jojo lets go of the balloon and takes Jenna by the hand. Wait, was the balloon a metaphor this whole time (21 seconds)? Hands now free, Jojo captures Jenna.
The tenor of the movement changes. They begin jazz dancing. “In olden days a glimpse of stocking was the dawn of something shocking, now heaven knows, anything goes.”
I’m dropping the bit here about reverence for this ABC program for just a second: this was one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen on television, and I was, you know.... alive and cogent on 9/11. It’s the funniest thing that’s probably ever happened on ABC: the mash-up of horror with jazz dancing. Does Jojo know this is funny? I’m sure she does.
By the time Jenna makes it onto Jojo’s back, the sound mixer has added a foreboding Pennywise-style chuckle to the jazz soundtrack.
The two face off like jungle creatures, or maybe sewer rats.
Then Jojo rips Jenna’s hand off. She Wilhelm screams.
DWTS host Tyra Banks says something; I wasn’t paying attention. I was too stunned. I also have no idea what the judges had to say. I was too busy dry-heaving through tears. They got another perfect 10 score.
I give them 1,138 pages out of 1,138 pages, which is how long It is.