My family loyalties usually lie with the Bravo-NBC-Universal conglomerate, maybe because I still look to Jack Donaghy as my professional mentor even with all the, you know… But while watching only Jojo Siwa’s parts of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars over the past four weeks for my investigative series “Dancing With the Stars Review: Only Jojo Siwa’s Parts: A Series,” I’m learning that at ABC-Disney, everyone owes each other big time, and family means cross-promotion.
It’s Queen Week on Dancing with the Stars because on Thursday, ABC is airing a star-studded event called The Queen Family Singalong — a tribute to the band Queen and not any allegedly alive members of the British monarchy. Jojo, along with the men of Fall Out Boy and some of the more famous Muppets, will be singing along as a family with our families. In the promotional clip, one can just make out the iconic staccato stomps of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” over Jojo’s signature, smoky timbre. That’s the sound of cash.
But enough with the Succession talk; we came to dance.
In the introduction to Jenna and Jojo’s tango, Jojo enters the rehearsal studio with a Kubrickian announcement: “It’s Queen Night!”
Jenna, in an architecturally complicated and structurally unsound sports bra, woo-hoos Jojo’s enthusiasm. Nobody knows how much Jojo loves Queen, except for her millions of fans who have attended her concerts and have witnessed the Queen tribute she does at every single show. Jojo’s all in on Freddy Mercury; he inspired her to sing live on tour.
“Course I have a white cape. I’m obsessed,” she says.
For their tango to “Body Language,” Jenna warns Jojo “We’re gonna, like, tune into our sexy side this week.” Jojo replies, “I don’t think I have one of those.” Jenna assures her that we all do, but we “gotta dig down and find her.” Jojo has come so far in her confidence under the tutelage of “big sis” Jenna. The show is always reinforcing their big sis/little sis relationship so viewers don’t read anything sexual into their same-gender partnership. It feels a little bit homophobic, much like that part of Bohemian Rhapsody where Freddie Mercury descends into a gay dungeon to symbolize that he’s at his lowest and most depraved.
It is in this moment, in which Jojo proclaims she doesn’t have a sexy side, that I think of my inner child that the mental health professionals in my life are always yammering on about, and I realize that I myself might want to mentor and nurture Jojo even though she is a famous YouTuber/fashion mogul and I am a blogger in a garden level apartment recapping her performance on a reality competition show.
Not to be a sick fuck here like the pervs at ABC, but the “Body Language” tango is quite sexy. Week after week, for the purposes of “DWTSR:OJSP:AS,” it’s been remarkable to see Jojo acting like a total goof out of costume only to turn something on inside herself when it’s time to dance. I credit Jenna, obviously, for creating a safe environment for her to practice, but we all must admit Jojo’s got something ineffable within her that compels us to pay attention. I knew it from her first Ted Talk.
The girls tango in glam rock belted bodysuits and thigh-high leather boots, but I’m mostly interested in a ponytail move I’ve already tried replicating on my green-circle Instagram story to mixed reviews.
It’s a sensual ponytail grab, and I read it as a knowing subversion of Jojo’s famous bow-laden side pony, the hairstyle that caused a million cases of premature traction alopecia. This is Jojo winking at us adult Siwanators, daring us to underestimate her.
The dance comes to a crescendo and a denouement, where the dipping and the twirling subsides for a moment and Jenna and Jojo face off in a way that feels different but just as intense as their horrifying Pennywise-inspired perfect 10 routine last week. Wait, do I want them to kiss?
Now THIS is body language! Is the Walt Disney Company gaybaiting me? Because this is even more exciting than when Josh Gad advised me to “expect the unexpected” with regards to his gay character LeFou’s journey in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast sequel.
The rest of their routine consists mostly of Jojo and Jenna looking like the dancing twins emoji, which, as someone who recently paid $3.99 to stream 2017’s The Emoji Movie, is right up my alley.
Judge Derek Hough, who I’ve recently decided is my enemy even though as recently as last month I was advocating for him and his sister Julianne to play Camilla and Charles in a film adaptation of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, loses his shit.
“Jojo,” he says, “That was a tempting, tantalizing tango. Yo, that was so like, avant garde experimental, I absolutely loved it. Y’all said strut...I don’t know what the ponytail thing is, but I loved it.”
It’s “ponyography,” idiot.
The other judges say much of the same, and host Tyra Banks calls Jojo her “sweet baby baby” who became a woman tonight. Everyone seems really happy about Jojo embracing her sexuality, and I’m right there with them. They almost get a perfect score, like they have the last two weeks, but Len saddles the duo with a 9 because he didn’t see enough “slow deliberate walks” across the stage.
I give Jenna and Jojo my own nearly perfect score of 8/9, which symbolizes 8:00 CDT/9:00 pm EDT, which is when the once-in-a-lifetime synergistic Queen singalong event inviting a fractured nation to “gather in their living rooms, crank up the volume and rock out for an hour of killer Queen hits,” will air on ABC. See you there.