Dancing with the Stars Has Its Most Magical Disney Night Yet!

Once a year, ABC's hit series Dancing with the Stars has a night where the performers cosplay as Disney characters and dance to strategically chosen Disney songs. I've been following "Disney Night" ever since I started my blog, and I've been very impressed with the array of talent and artistry that goes into each performance. When I learned that Monday night was this year's big episode, I thought there was no way they could top the incredible dance numbers they already gave us in previous years. I was wrong. Nearly every performance involved a Disney princess costume or song, and each one was more spectacular than the last. I was blown away by the glamorous costumes and array of musical talent among this year's competitors.They covered songs from both old and new Disney classics with unique twists added to the timeless numbers by remixing them to different styles of dance.

The evening kicked off with the signature songs from two of my favorite Disney movies of all time, The Princess and the Frog and The Little Mermaid. Skai Jackson did an adorable jive to the underappreciated "Almost There," which I believe was the first time it was ever featured in this show. Her 1920s-inspired feather circlet and mini dress provided just the right touch for the era that the movie took place. Tiana's "I want" number was appropriately followed with Ariel's famous ballad, "Part of Your World." I loved seeing my favorite song performed as a couple waltz, a rare choice for the introspective ballad. Monica Aldama looked perfectly regal in her flowing gown formed from many layers of shimmering seaweed. Her Prince Eric, Val Chmerkovskiy, swept her across sea floor in a Viennese Waltz. The bubble and water effects on the projectors below and behind them made it feel like a true underwater wonderland.

Other princess performances throughout the night included AJ McLean's energetic rendition of "Prince Ali" with Cheryl Burke backing him up in a Princess Jasmine-inspired dress, Vernon Davis performing "Be Our Guest" as Lumiere with a fancy dinner table set up for his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, dressed as a 1940s-inspired Belle, and Kaitlyn Bristowe's impassioned performance of "How Far I'll Go" in full Moana cosplay. The sleeper hit of the night was Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart's rumba dance to "Reflections" from Mulan. The couple was bathed in red Chinese laser lights while subtle imagery of the newest version of the movie flowed on the screen behind them. Even though their performance featured promo clips from the soulless 2020 remake, both dancers swayed with all of the emotion and longing of the 1998 animated Mulan, who dreamed of finding a place where she could belong. I'm not sure if it was the fancy lights, nostalgia, or the dancing itself, but I found this performance incredibly deep and moving on a note that none of the other dancers quite reached.

Even the non-princess dances were spectacular. Justina Machado's "Supercalifragistic-expialidocious" featuring Sasha Farber as Bert and the Hercules and Megara cosplay team of Anne Heshe and Keo Motsepe for "Zero to Hero" were so much fun. They even included a brand new song from the upcoming Pixar movie, Soul. The two biggest non-princess highlights of the night were Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong's performance of "Married Life" from Up and Jesse Metcalfe and Sharna Burgess's "King of New York" from Newsies. These stood out for their imaginative props and sets. The Up dancers went through full aging transformations to look like the elderly Carl and Ellie Fredricksen and carried a mass of balloons that they let loose at the beginning of the song. It was refreshing to see an elderly couple portrayed in such a youthful and energetic medium. I loved the amount of creativity that went into Sharna Burgess's stylized newspaper dress for "King of New York." The number began in a room that looked like it was made entirely of old newspapers before the couple danced out to the stage that was surrounded by newspaper stands and projections of old-time New York City.

The show concluded with the most famous princess of all, Cinderella, who was played by Chrishell Stause in a glittering gown and tiara. She waltzed with her prince, Gleb Savchenko, to the classic "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" in front of a backdrop of the palace steps. The judges got a kick out of the ending, in which Chrishell was about to have a passionate embrace with her prince when she realized the time and ran away, leaving him heartbroken. It was the perfect way to end the perfect Disney Night. I was so impressed with the level of craftsmanship that the the show's producers put into each and everyone of these magical numbers, especially during a time of social distancing. So many of my favorite princesses were packed into this one episode, and every single one was done justice through the magic of dance and live theater. I can't imagine next year's Disney Night being any more spectacular than this one, but who knows? Dancing with the Stars just might exceed my expectations yet again.


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