Like the rest of his fellow contestants on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,” Mandla Morris paid tribute to his family on Giving Thanks Night. But unlike the other contestants, his immediate family includes a 25-time Grammy winner. Morris’s foxtrot on Sunday night was in honor of his father, Stevie Wonder, who gave the promising young celeb a boost by performing “Isn’t She Lovely” live during his routine. Watch the routine above.
Morris started the season as one of the most promising contestants, tying for first place on the judges’ leaderboard on night one. But he lost ground in subsequent weeks, finishing fourth in week two, sixth in week three, and fifth in week four. He finally got his mojo back on Juniors Choice Night, and maybe having his pick of songs that evening was enough to spur his confidence. His Giving Thanks foxtrot kept up that momentum — it was truly gratifying.
Indeed, judge Adam Rippon told him, “This was one of your best dances.” Val Chmerkovskiy added, “You owned that performance.” And Mandy Moore thought he and his pro partner Brightyn Brems made “a beautiful couple” on the dance floor. The judges’ praise of their partnering actually made Brems a little teary-eyed; she told the judges how proud she was of Morris in one of the night’s most touching moments.
Morris received straight 9s from the judges for a total of 27 out of 30. That was his highest score yet this season, and it tied him with Mackenzie Ziegler and Ariana Greenblatt for second place on the judges’ leaderboard. Is he peaking at the right time? Could he be a dark horse contender for the Mirror Ball Trophy? Vote in our poll below to let us know if you think he gave the best performance of the night.
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Sunday on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.