‘Dancing with the Stars’: Pro Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy Reveals Thoughts Going Into the Semi-Finals With JoJo Siwa [Exclusive]

Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy and JoJo Siwa continue making Dancing with the Stars history as the first all-female couple. Now, they’re heading into the season 30 semi-finals. Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with Johnson Chmerkovskiy over the phone to get her thoughts going into the Dancing with the Stars semi-finals.

Here’s what she has to say about working with Siwa this season. Plus, why Johnson Chmerkovskiy thinks semi-finals are harder than the finale.

Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy and JoJo Siwa pose for a photo at Vulture Fest
Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy & JoJo Siwa | David Livingston/Getty Images

Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy says working with JoJo Siwa requires a ‘very different approach’ 

In the past, Johnson Chmerkovskiy was paired with male partners on Dancing with the Stars. But in season 30, she has worked with Siwa.

“It’s been a little different from what I’m used to, to be quite honest,” Johnson Chmerkovskiy tells us. “I always made fun of the guy pros on the show because they would say, ‘Working with females … they’re a little bit more emotional. You have to be careful of what you say.'” 

After working with Siwa this season, Johnson Chmerkovskiy wouldn’t say her male cohorts are correct — necessarily. “But is it a very different approach and a very different feeling,” the ballroom dance professional and season 26 winner admits. 

‘Dancing with the Stars’ pro says performing with another female works in their favor

Johnson Chmerkovskiy’s approach to coaching Siwa may be a bit different, but she believes there’s an advantage to being two females practicing and performing together. As Johnson Chmerkovskiy explains, she has “a bit more empathy and understanding” of how Siwa “feels as a woman … in a stressful environment.” Overall, Johnson Chmerkovskiy says her experience with Siwa has been “really amazing.”

“I feel like one of the pluses of dancing with JoJo has been that we can connect on such a different level than I’ve been able to do with any of my male celebrities,” Johnson Chmerkovskiy adds. The connection she and Siwa share is part of what landed the duo in the semi-finals.

Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy says ‘Dancing with the Stars’ semi-finals are harder than the finale 

During our call, Johnson Chmerkovskiy revealed how she thinks the semi-finals are more difficult than the finale. “I think there’s more pressure [during semi-finals] to get into the finale — to get into that final week,” she explained. “It’s like you feel it coming to an end. I feel like in the finale, you’re like, ‘We’re here, this is the last night,’ but semi-finals … it really hits you how badly you want it.” 

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Johnson Chmerkovskiy admits preparing for the semi-finals isn’t easy. “It’s been really stressful [and] really tiring,” she told us. “There’s a lot of pressure. There just is.” 

At this point, Johnson Chmerkovskiy says she’s trying to stay as present as possible going into her semi-finals performance with Siwa. While it’s challenging to ignore the pressures of the semi-finals, Johnson Chmerkovskiy is fighting for that final chance to perform with Siwa in the finale next week. 

See Siwa and Johnson perform two dances during the Nov. 15 semi-finals episode. Watch Dancing with the Stars on ABC at 8 PM ET.