Johnny and his pro partner, Britt Stewart, took the stage in coordinating Winehouse-inspired looks. Their dance to “Valerie” had the judges seriously impressed, with Bruno Tonioli calling it “groundbreaking.”
As Johnny told ET’s Lauren Zima after the show, the dance (and his ensemble) were meant to represent the “outsiders.”
“It’s incredible, any bit of representation that any outsider can see on television and feel that there’s hope, or feel that there’s a future,” he shared. “I mean, I don’t do drag very often, and there are so many people out there that struggle with their sexuality, their identities and who they are inside, and to be able to show that to the world freely and proudly — for me, to step into a lot of hair and a little eyeliner, was easy in comparison to the struggles that people have.”
“And also to celebrate women,” Johnny added. “I am so pro-woman and I wouldn’t be much of a man if I couldn’t step, at least for one night, into their world. So, I am so proud of representing my people, and I am so proud of representing little kids that grew up in little towns just like me, that want to see themselves on TV in some way. It’s a huge honor to be able to do that in so many households in America.”
The 36-year-old earned a perfect score of 30/30 for his performance, but still landed in the bottom two. He and Britt survived elimination — over AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke — but Johnny told ET that he was still thinking about the message he wanted to convey to fans with that routine.
“Life is hard and it’s not going to be easy for anyone,” he shared. “And no matter what your story is, you can do it.”
On Monday night’s episode, judge Carrie Ann Inaba remarked that she and her fellow judges had “never seen a Quickstep like that.” “You pulled it off,” Carrie Ann raved, calling Johnny a “great performer.”
“You’re a perfect representation of being enough,” Derek Hough said, referencing Johnny’s pre-dance package, which revealed moments of insecurity as an Olympian. “We often rely on winning… just you being you equals love. You’ll always be enough.”
The skater previewed his beehive and winged eyeliner on Twitter ahead of the show, which fans called “flawless.”
“Oh you look lovely! Best of luck tonight, I know you’ll do Amy proud,” one user shared.
Johnny and Britt’s perfect score on Monday was the second of the night, following Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. See more in the video below, and tune into Tuesday’s ET for more backstage interviews.
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