Shawn Johnson’s “Titanic”-themed dance was no disaster. She and partner Derek Hough made their rumba as memorable as the blockbuster movie by having the longtime “Dancing with the Stars” pro “drown” in the ballroom.
The former Olympic gymnast danced to her favorite guilty pleasure tune, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from the famous 1997 film. And at the end of their performance, Derek channeled Leonardo DiCaprio by taking a big dip into their fake ocean (replicated by the ballroom’s fog machine).
Backstage, Shawn revealed to reporters that the shocking moment “was kind of a last-minute add. It was actually production’s idea. We were just going to finish the dance [normally] but [they wanted us] to kind of wrap it up into the ‘Titanic’ theme.”
Still, the creative routine reflected the vision of Derek, who is known for such exciting “DWTS” moments as the futuristic Paso Doble with Joanna Krupa from Season 9 and last year’s “Psycho”-themed tango with Ricki Lake.
“He can transform a simple idea into a masterpiece,” Shawn raved about her partner. “I think [Titanic] was my favorite dance yet. I know I made him proud. He was shedding a tear.”
Watch Derek “Drown” in “Titanic” Dance:
Shawn and Derek received a score of 27 but were criticized by Judge Carrie Ann Inaba for a lift during their rumba. Still, Shawn loved the way the dance changed her: “It was so much fun, so out of my comfort zone. I thought we were going to kill each other this week just trying to break down the barriers. It’s not me to let that [vulnerable] side show. It was liberating. It was the farthest thing from what people would say is Shawn Johnson. That’s what was so hard for me — people are going to judge what’s not me.”
The athlete got literally close to the edge, too, dancing on a platform anchored on top of the ballroom floor. In rehearsal, she said, “We did stumble a couple times and I was like, ‘that’s a three foot drop there,’ but I loved it.”
Watch the Highlights of Tuesday Night’s Performances: