“Dancing with the Stars” pro Derek Hough is performing his most touching dance yet on the show Tuesday night – with a girl who is legally blind.
The three-time mirror ball winner told xfinityTV that he’ll be performing an exhibition dance for Tuesday night’s “DWTS” results show with Brilynn Rakes, 17. Brilynn was chosen to dance on “DWTS” when producers saw incredible videos of the blind girl’s skills.
“I’ve been crying all week [because] I’ve been emotional [about] her dance,” revealed Derek, whose “DWTS” celebrity partner is singer Kellie Pickler this season.
“She was born with serious vision problems. She’s legally blind. She’ll never drive. She has to wear these special contacts which protect her eyes because she’s incredibly light sensitive. But through all that, where her sight is seriously impaired, she’s become this amazing dancer. For your vision being an important thing, you’d think, for dancing, she’s managed to find ways to make it work. She’s an inspiration.”
“DWTS” viewers will see that Derek choreographed a contemporary ballet piece for Brilynn to the Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ song “Stars.” “The chorus of the song is, ‘I Can’t Look at the Stars,’” Derek noted. “[But] I can’t believe she’s legally blind.”
The longtime hoofer said Brilynn, who took private lessons for years with Orange County, Calif., dance teacher Jayne Persch, can only see shapes a few feet in front of her and can’t detect color. “When she watches TV, she has to get two inches from it and look at it sideways because her peripheral vision is better than her direct vision.”
Brilynn melted Derek’s heart when he learned she had used what little vision she has to watch him on “DWTS.” “She thought she was going to be doing a solo on the show and I kind of came in and surprised her; [producers] said she really likes you on the show; she thinks she’s doing a solo and we want you to surprise her and do a duet.”
Derek said he’s learned a lot from Brilynn as they’ve rehearsed for their big number. “She emulates what I try to live my life by, which is, just following your bliss, your passion, what you love. She did that, even with the restriction in her eyesight. She just loves dancing and followed it, even with her vision. She’s just found a way and we can all take a page out of her book,” Derek told xfinityTV.
“When I watch her dance, I’m surprised how she knows where I am and she can sense me. There are moments we spread apart and I have to make a noise so she can find me and we run into each other. I live for moments like that on the show.”
Derek expects Tuesday to mean a great deal to him: “I can’t help but tear up when I’m dancing with her. It’s pretty special.”
The “DWTS” results show airs Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.
Catch-up on Monday Night’s “DWTS” Performance Episode Below: