‘DWTS: All-Stars’: Shawn and Derek Refused to ‘Dumb Down’ Their Dance

by | November 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM | Dancing With The Stars, Interviews

'DWTS: All-Stars': Shawn Johnson, Derek Hough and the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team (Photo: ABC)

Shawn Johnson’s freestyle routine on Monday night’s “Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” was an Olympic-sized celebration. Shawn’s former U.S. Women’s Gymnastics teammates, who won the gold medal without her in London this summer after she had to retire due to an injured knee, performed in her dance with Derek Hough.

And after the show, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney of “The Fierce Five” said they might want to follow in Shawn’s footsteps and compete on “DWTS”!

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When asked if she’d like to be a “Dancing” celebrity next year, McKayla, famed for pulling her “unimpressed” face when only winning an individual silver medal at the Olympics, told reporters, “I definitely would. I know all the girls here from the Fierce Five think it would be so much fun and just an amazing experience.”

Gabby concurred, “Definitely! I love the dynamic and being paired with a partner, having so much behind-the-scenes [action] backstage, and just going out there and performing for the fans and the crowds, why not?”

With a little help from her friends, Shawn got a perfect score of 30 for the freestyle dance, and McKayla said afterward, “It was so much different than what we’re used to because we’re used to competing for ourselves and we were under the pressure of doing well for Shawn and Derek. We were all nervous but it was so much fun!”

Gabby, who won the individual gold medal at the Olympics, said Shawn told them about their background role in the intricate dance: “to have fun and just enjoy it because not many teenagers get this opportunity.”

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Shawn herself gushed to the media about the girls: “It meant everything to have them here. I trained for three years with them to be on the biggest stage in the world with them and after they already went there and were successful and became the Fierce Five, they took the time to come out and support me. And being as I didn’t get the comeback I wanted, this is bigger than I could have imagined.”

According to Shawn, doing “DWTS: All-Stars” with Derek restored the confidence she’d lost after she had to retire from professional gymnastics.

“Coming into the show, I was kind of knocked down because I lost everything that I knew,” Shawn says. “I mean, I’d invested my whole life and career in gymnastics where I found that success and confidence on a stage and I knew I could go out there when I was having a hard day and stand on a balance beam and feel great about myself. Well, when I didn’t have that, I proved to myself that even in a comeback, I couldn’t be the best at what I thought I was anymore. It takes a toll on a person. Coming onto a stage where I knew I wasn’t the best was intimidating, and each week kind of taught me more and more to let myself go and it’s okay not to be perfect but to have fun and all of that it just slowly crept back and I just got back on a stage and had fun and let loose. It was the best feeling.”

Her pro partner said, “She puts on such a strong [front], like, I am gymnast, I am athlete, I just go out there and I’m a machine and I go out there and make it happen … but what you don’t see is this incredibly special, tender, soft[ness].”

The only downer in Shawn and Derek’s night was after their first dance, when judges said they broke the rules against lifts and were marked down to only 27 points out of 30. But Derek shrugged, “I feel like this season has been about the audience, the viewers, showing them things they haven’t seen, upping the game, and pushing the bar. For us to dumb down something in order to get an extra point or two, we’d be losing our integrity.”

Meanwhile, Shawn has encouraged her fellow gymnasts to give “DWTS” a shot in a future season. “They’d be amazing,” she said, but added, “I think they learned in the past two days it’s a lot more work than you think.”

And with all the girls eager to vault onto the show, could there be a casting war between them?

The “DWTS: All-Stars” winner will be revealed on Tuesday night’s two-hour season finale.