At 16 years old, Disney Channel star Zendaya is “Dancing with the Stars’” youngest contestant ever.
While her youth may give her an edge over her competitors when it comes to muscle recovery time/avoiding injuries, her pro partner, Val Chmerkovskiy, says the bubbly star’s stage presence and aura are what makes her Season 16’s dancer to beat.
“I think her biggest strength is her personality,” Val told Kit Hoover and Billy Bush on Friday’s Access Hollywood Live of Zendaya’s abilities. “Everybody that spoke to me about Monday’s performance was just blown away by her interpretation of the dance, interpretation of the music.
“A lot of people come on there and they’re thinking, and you can see that stress on their face,” he continued. “Just her energy and how she stands out on the dance floor is the best.”
Zendaya and Val scored 24 out of 30 with their contemporary dance on Monday’s ballroom debut, putting the dancing couple at the top of the leaderboard – a bonus Zendaya said she didn’t expect.
“I went in there just going my hardest and doing my best, and I feel like the fact that it actually happened that way is only icing on the cake,” the “Shake It Up” star told Kit and Billy. “Now, it’s about just living up to that and working harder because now I have actual ballroom to do. It’s not like contemporary.”
Zendaya and Val will perform the jive on next week’s “Dancing with the Stars” – Monday at 8/7c on ABC.