For her latest exclusive column with HELLO!, the former DWTS pro shares her week nine takeaways, from what she wanted to see more of to why this season is extra special.
Read on as she tells us who she thinks is "the best technical dancer" who might make for an upset against her finalist of choice, Ariana Madix, advice for the "special" cast, and what she thinks judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough, and Bruno Tonioli, plus the show's producers, should have done more of.
Xochitl Gomez's first perfect score
What sealed the deal for me was the execution of such hard choreography. It was a great contrast to see her do the samba; I loved how she showcased not just the intricate steps, but the execution of them. I wanted to see more.
She is so expressive, and not just because of her facial expression. Her expression comes through her body, it comes through the fluidity, the way that she hears the music, and her trust in Val [Chmerkovskiy]. It's beautiful.
Ariana Madix should win, but who has made it a toss-up?
I always said I think Ariana and Pasha [Pashkov] deserve to win… But now I believe Xochitl and Val deserve to win. [Xochitl is] the best technical dancer, but it just depends on people at home voting. I believe that all five finalists in a way deserve to win.
But at the end of the day, who has been the most vulnerable, who has shown their true selves without hiding behind the glitter and the glam? For me, that's Ariana. I think maybe she has that leg up because she's so used to reality television that all she knows is how to be her authentic self and that comes across on a show like this. She's not hiding behind anything. I believe Ariana will win.
What makes Alyson Hannigan the perfect underdog
We know she's happy to be there, she is the underdog, so I think there's no pressure, and sometimes people with no pressure end up doing really well on this show. It's not about how you start, it's how you finish.
I don't think Alyson's trying to win at this point. She already won. She made the finale, she didn't think she was going to make it to Taylor Swift night. I'm sure it's not easy, and I'm sure she rehearsed harder than anybody because it doesn't come [naturally.] But man has she definitely inspired millions of women around the United States for sure.
Judges need to give more constructive criticism
As the judges, [they] should be doing their job. It would be best if the judges gave more constructive criticism because they didn't do it with [Alyson and Sasha Farber] the previous week, either. Maybe it would have helped this week, to just give one or two pieces of feedback; I'm not asking for a lot, but they need feedback.
[And] as a viewer, we need it too, like we need to hear [the judges'] expertise in this whole show. That's the job of the judge with the finale just one week away.
What season 32 needed more of
They need to show the struggle, the ups and downs. I need to see why Jason [Mraz] was about to throw in the towel, I would love to be on that journey with him.
It helps for people, everyday people, who feel like giving up to just know that, 'Don't give up, there's light at the end of the tunnel,' and that is so inspiring. That is more powerful than just pretending that Ariana didn't get injured. We need to see it all, that's part of what you sign up for.
Final advice for the cast
You can tell that this cast has a great bond and connection and camaraderie, and I have to say, some seasons are not like that, it's superficial sometimes, but when it's special – like I'm feeling with this cast is special – enjoy this moment.
You guys are going to be long, long lasting friends. You've developed such a beautiful bond with one another, not just the partnerships but the cast in itself. Really take it all in and stay as present as possible.
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