Jenna spoke with JJJ ahead of the premiere and answered a ton of questions about her partnership with Jake T. Austin, practices, performances, the competition and more.
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“It was so nerve-wracking. I was so stressed out because they [the producers] were asking me all these weird questions before I actually met him and I had no idea which celeb I actually had,” Jenna told us about her first meeting with Jake.
She continued, “So, when I walked into his room, and he turned around, I immediately had a flash flood of memories of when I was a kid and watching Wizards of Waverly Place. I was just in shock that I had Max Russo, who was Selena Gomez‘ little brother. It was such a shock to me but I was so excited that I had someone young. He’s super cute, super sweet and I was really excited.”
Click inside to read more of our first interview with Jenna Johnson…
JJJ: What surprised you most about him after your first meeting?
I think what surprised me most was…I think everyone really expects Disney stars to have a background in either dancing, singing or both, and Jake does not have that. I was shocked because when we started rehearsing, he was picking up patterns extremely fast. That’s usually the hardest part for a beginner and he was telling me it was like memorizing lines for scripts and it turned out it was really easy for him to learn and pick up. That was the most shocking part to me.
As a person though, I really just scrolled through his Instagram and got a feel of who he was before I’d actually spent time with him. I thought that he was, not this bad boy, but just a really cool kid. He’s actually one of the sweetest people I have ever met. He’s so caring and always wants to know if there’s anything he can do for me. He’s a polite gentleman and I don’t think I was expecting him to be that amazing.
JJJ: How has practice been with Jake so far?
It’s good. It’s always hard the first week, I feel, where we’re trying to get the celebrities to understand that they have to try and become a dancer. I think they sign up for the show just being excited about it, but once you actually get into the studio, it becomes real that you have to perform a dance on national television in front of millions of people.
The first week of practice was a little rough. He was super stiff and nervous, but slowly and surely, Jake has been molding into a dancer. I watch the videos back of the routine that we’re prepping for and I’m shocked from day one, until now. I think the hardest part is getting him to accept that this is real and we have to make him into a dancer. He’s loosened up a ton and starting to get a rhythm and starting to look like a dancer. It’s weird (laughs).
JJJ: Which of the dance styles are you most looking forward to with Jake?
I’m really excited to perform a Foxtrot with him. Before we found out which style we would be performing for the premiere, I had put him through some other styles to get him acquainted with some basic steps and he looks amazing doing a Foxtrot. Just his frame, he’s got great posture and hold.
I always love doing beautiful and emotional pieces and I’m really hoping a heartfelt Foxtrot this season and showing his more elegant side.
JJJ: Are you hoping for his Wizards’ family comes to the show?
Yes! His fake big sister Selena Gomez is the number one followed person on Instagram. We’re really hoping to get a shoutout or, I would just really love for her to come and sing live for us and be able to do a dance while she was singing. We’ll see.
I know that his Fosters family and others have shown so much support and we’re hoping to get as many people as we can in the audience this season.
JJJ: What was your reaction when you found out you were going to be a pro this season?
I have been waiting for this moment for five seasons and when I got the phone call, I screamed for about 10 minutes straight, in my apartment, by myself and stomping on the ground and I’m sure I worried my neighbors about it.
I was so excited. I’ve dreamed of this moment for so long and the fact that it’s finally here is such a blessing and I couldn’t be happier to have Jake as my first partner. He’s a great way to break me into the system and I’ve been waiting for this for so long and just could not be more excited and more determined, too, that I finally have my chance.
JJJ: You’ve been great friends with both Witney Carson and Lindsay Arnold your entire life. How. Is it experiencing this all with them?
It’s so crazy. I feel like we’ve been experiencing this the entire time we’ve all been on the show, but now that I am a pro with them, I get to experience that aspect with them. It’s so surreal.
I think back when we were younger — eight, nine, ten-years-old — and growing up and watching the show together and now that we’re on the other side and we’re three pros on national television…it blows my mind. I feel so incredibly lucky and they’ve been so supportive with me becoming a pro this season. They were the first ones to call me and congratulate me. I’m really lucky to have their support.
JJJ: Which other celebrity and pro do you think could be your biggest competition?
This is such a hard question. Obviously there are Olympians on the show, there’s some music legends, but honestly, I think Jana [Kramer] is going to be a big competitor. I think she’s going to be one of the dark horses of the season.
She’s so sweet and kind and really cute, but I think are going to underestimate what a beast she’s going to be on the dance floor. I think she’s going to shock some people and we’ll definitely have to look out for her and Gleb Savchenko this season.
JJJ: Why should fans vote for Team JSquared?
So many reasons! Combined, we are the youngest couple on the show this season and so, we’re that young fresh blood. We have that energy and that spark about us and we also have an amazing connection and I feel like being the same age [we were born in the same year] and we just speak the same language and we’re into the same things.
I think the fans, they’re going to get a treat this season with us. We have the younger generation on our side a little bit with Jake’s fan base. I think we’re going to be a powerhouse, we just have to wait until Monday and really see what happens. We’re hopefully going to make a lot of people happy with our performances. That’s our goal.