Jordan Fisher is taking center stage in Season 25 of Dancing with the Stars with his celebrity partner Lindsay Arnold, and he's ready to win. (See who he wants to win the mirror ball trophy for in the interview below.)
The actor and singer has starred in Disney's Teen Beach franchise, Grease Live! on Fox, and Hamilton on Broadway, and is about to release new music. Yet despite his many successes and his status as an early DWTS frontrunner, the multi-talented performer is staying humble...and hungry.
TV Insider recently spoke with Jordan; here's our exclusive interview.
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Jordan, what made you decide that Season 25 was the right time to do Dancing With the Stars?
Jordan Fisher: Timing is huge. They initially approached me a few seasons ago, and I was about to go on a radio tour, and I knew, knowing myself—knowing that I like to put 110 percent into everything—I wouldn’t be able to commit that to the show. And Dancing With the Stars isn’t going anywhere, and they were like, “Once the time’s right we’d love to do it.”
And [now] the time was just right. Happy to be on the 25th season with such an incredible cast. Timing definitely plays into everything, but this is just perfect for me.
What was your reaction when you found out that Lindsay Arnold was your partner?
I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time. I’ve been a fan of hers since So You Think You Can Dance. I think that she’s just an incredibly intelligent choreographer, and from what I’ve seen, she is just incredible at creating a really great, fun, safe rehearsal environment.
For something like this—where I’m jumping into something that I’ve never done before, that I’m a complete noob with—it is comforting to have somebody that is so seasoned, so good, so respected, so well-loved and has experience taking multiple people with very little experience to the very end of the competition. And it’s all wrapped up in somebody that is as warm and kind and fun and authentic and goofy as she is. We have a blast together, and so I am just thrilled, thrilled, that she is my partner.
You said that you are a ballroom rookie, but with roles in the Teen Beach franchise and in Hamilton on Broadway, you’ve obviously danced before. How is Dancing With the Stars a whole new experience?
Oh, God. I wish, I so wish that past dance experience applied where [this] show is concerned. I know my body, which is nice. That definitely makes me feel better going into the competition. But ballroom is completely foreign. All movement, all the framework, weight, balancing, counterbalancing, footwork, the way you hold yourself.
And there are 10 different styles, so you never really have enough time to master one style before all of a sudden you perform it in front of all of America. And then you have to move on to the next thing. And you only have a few days to get that done and down as well as possible, and you continue to move. It’s a brand-new thing, and I’m just excited to grow and to get better and to learn and to become the best ballroom dancer I can be, should America keep us going.
You mentioned that there are 10 different ballroom styles. Is there one that you are most excited about? And, which one are you dreading?
It’s so funny. I’m only dreading the very first style because it’s the very first week. It doesn’t matter if it was the paso, if it was the cha-cha, if it was the jive—I feel like I would dread it most because of it being the very first one. Because I’ve never experienced this before. I’ve never performed ballroom in front of anybody—ever, let alone all of America. I am just excited to get the first routine done and down and out-of-the-way so I can know what it feels like and I can be a little bit more prepared going into the competition.
That being said, I’m probably most looking forward to the jive—I can’t wait to get the jive! I just feel like it’s a ton of fun. It’s a lot of fun to watch. There’s a lot of performance quality to it. I think that that’s what I’m most looking forward to.
Since the first week is the one that you’re most nervous about, set up your Week 1 performance: What style are you doing? What music are you using? And what are some steps that you are looking forward to America watching you do?
The only thing that I can tell you is that I am doing a tango to “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” by Shawn Mendes. It’s really all I can say. I’m just looking forward to America seeing what we’ve been working on.
So as you’re looking at the cast, who do you see as your biggest competition?
Honestly, honestly, I think this would be most people’s answer: Nobody really wants to see anybody go. I have a handful of friends that have all done this show: Carlos PenaVega, Alexa PenaVega, Laurie Hernandez, Zendaya and Normani. They’ve all said the same thing: You fall in love with everybody that’s there. You really grow close to the cast.
And none of us are masters at this. We are all brand-new to this. We all just want to stay and keep going and grow and experience and hang out with each other and that kind of thing. So you tend to not look around and see competition, but rather see people that are in the same trenches and doing the same thing and working just as hard.
Tom Bergeron gives us a sneak peek at how the 2017 lineup might fare on the famed ballroom dance floor
And personally, I’m thrilled. I’m so excited to see what everybody’s been working on because we’re all separated and doing our own thing and rehearsing in different studios all over L.A., and some people all over the country. You only really get one opportunity each week to get together and be like, “What did you do this week? What have you been working on? I can’t wait to see your piece.” That’s really that.
Where the competition is concerned I really kind of just look to myself. How badly do I want it? How hard am I willing to work? I look at Lindsay, somebody that has gone the distance several times in the last three seasons: fourth place, third place, second place. She deserves the win more than anybody, in my opinion. So I’m just—I really want to win for her. I want to win for us.
I know that we’ve got a ton of time ahead of us. Ten weeks, and hopefully America keeps us going that long. They’ve got to vote. I just can’t wait to see what the outcome is.
Well, you’ve said the question that you have to ask yourself is, "How bad do I want it?" So tell us: How bad do you want it, and how deep are you going to dig?
I mean, I don’t think anybody would consider doing the show if they didn’t want to win. You know? So that being said, we’re all willing to put in the work and the time and the energy and the effort. And those that aren’t, I’d say, are the ones that go first. But based on my conversations with everybody in the cast and what we’re all doing, we’re all having so much fun, everybody’s working very hard, and we all just want to get on the show and have a great time and not see anybody go. But that’s not necessarily the name of the game.
Your friends who’ve done Dancing With the Stars have all done exceptionally well. What advice have they given to you?
The main thing is to just not take yourself too seriously. Again, you are an amateur on the show. Nobody is expecting you to go on the show and be a professional ballroom dancer. So as long as you try to alleviate some of the stress, as much of the stress as you possibly can in the way, you will have a great time.
And I’ve tried to apply that as of the very first rehearsal. And that’s what I’ve been doing since, and it’s been working and I’m having a ton of fun with it. Again, I just can’t wait to continue to grow and to experience more and to face some challenges and overcome them and just do all of the things that most contestants do on the show, except actually win it.
Take a first look at the 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 25 contestants.
One of the aspects of Dancing With the Stars that people tune in for—besides the dancing—is the music. Are we going to see you perform your own music? Your single ‘All About Us’ seems tailor-made for Dancing With the Stars.
Thank you very much. I would love for that to be the case. You know, I mean, the producers and the contestants, and the pros, you typically throw things back and forth, you know, in terms of ideas. And hopefully, land on something that you agree on and that the producers agree on.
But I do think that the idea of us performing to one of my songs is something that could happen. Performing something from Hamilton could happen, too. Performing, you know, in any way. I think everybody’s kind of open to everything. It’s just a matter of seeing how it plays out and really how long I stay on the show. Which is, hopefully, the long run.
What else are you working on, Jordan?
I’m dropping a new single October 6 called "Mess." It’s been about a year since I’ve released new music. And I’ve taken that time just to kind of restructure my foundation phonically, and I’m excited for people to hear what I’ve been working on. I’m just thrilled to start the journey towards releasing the album, and this is the first single that people will hear on that. And I’m excited for people to see what that is.
Is there anything else that you want to add about Season 25 of Dancing With the Stars?
Just vote for your favorite couple. Hopefully, it’s me and Lindsay Arnold, #TeamFishUponAStar. We have a lot of fun, and I think that everybody’s gonna see that. We just want to continue to have fun throughout the season and grow and get better. My girl deserves to win, so let’s make that happen!
Dancing With the Stars, Mondays at 8/7c, ABC