Tuesday was crazy… the thought that this experience could have been over, really got me thinking. I know that I put everything I have into this competition, so I definitely would have held my head high, but I would have been heartbroken!
I am beyond thankful that my fans, and everyone else who voted for Val and I, pulled us through to the finals. I am sorry that our quickstep didn’t meet up with perfection, but I promise you, I gave it my all.
Our hip-hop routine has to be one of the highlights of this season for me. Although it was a style that I know, our choreo was complicated and it took a lot of time to master, and I was very proud of our end result. I am thankful to my first dance teacher, who you all met through the TV, Kim Sims-Battiste for helping us.
As I look back on this experience, I will take away many great memories. I remember when I first met Val and thought, he’s kinda short! lol But I hold Val in the highest of regard and I have learned so much from him. First and foremost is his dedication to his craft. Tuesday night for example, when everyone was at a party celebrating the 300th episode, he was at the gym cooking up our next routine! He is a perfectionist down to every movement and how you feel it from your core to your fingertips.
I remember one of the first things he said to me that has stuck with me throughout this competition: “I don’t want you to be good…I want you to be incredible.” He said that with such resolve that I knew he would give me all the knowledge, support and technique I needed to reach “incredible!” I have gained a trusted friend, brother and mentor in Val and I thank ABC and DWTS for having the foresight to pair us together.
I also had a wonderful school experience last week that I want to share with you all. My teacher Monique (who is amazing, by the way) arranged for us to visit the Holocaust Museum across the street from the CBS studios where I do my schooling every day. We were able to meet Regina, a 90+-year-old Holocaust survivor. She told me all about how she survived and the atrocities she endured. It was a moment I will never forget and I am changed through meeting her. When I walked in, she actually knew who I was because she is a big DWTS fan. I was so honored to meet her, and she was so happy to meet me…imagine that!! I talked to the producers of the show and they were able to get her seats to Monday night, so Regina, Sally and Ruthie (all three Holocaust survivors — pictured above) came to the show. It was amazing to see them in the audience and hug them afterwards. I am deeply touched by Regina’s spirit and I will never forget meeting her.
I also want to thank Roshon and Kobe for speaking up for me on this last episode. I value and cherish their support!
You may be asking what’s next for me…well, I have lots of things in store! But for Carrie Ann and Bruno especially, I want to announce that my debut single is coming out this summer and my album is coming in the fall! Next week I delve back into the studio to finish up a few songs, then I shoot the video for my single, and begin performing around the US and Canada this summer. I’m SO excited to get back focused on my music again! And my book, “Between U and Me,” is going to be available on August 6. It is a tween advice book and I hope it will inspire and help many young people!