On last season’s Dancing With the Stars, fan favorite pairing composed of dancer Allison Holker with singer Riker Lynch from R5 won runner-up. Holker returns to DWTS Season 21 for her third time on the show, and this time she’s set on taking home the grand prize.
Though she couldn’t spill the details on who her partner is for this season, she said to tune into Good Morning America on September 2 for the announcement.
“I really enjoy my partner. I think he could do really well on the show,” she raved. “There’s a lot of fight in me this season. I really hope that this year’s ours. We’re definitely going to get up in the finale and we’re going to win the Mirror Ball Trophy this year!”
One of the biggest challenges as a professional dancer on the show is the uncertainty of who your partner is.
“You have to grow a connection with this person. That is your first and foremost job before any of the dance steps before any of the choreography. You have to really understand this person that you’re creating all that beautiful work for and make sure that they feel comfortable,” said Holker.
The 27-year-old explained that one of the hardest parts of the show is to open up and be vulnerable with your partner.
“They become your friends. It’s not faking a friendship—it’s really being genuine and figuring out how you can really grow together as a team,” she said. “For me, you’re kind of a psychologist, you’re a trainer, you’re a mother to someone sometimes and you really take these people into your life.”
Holker is grateful for the partners she’s had in the past and how easy it was to click with them, not only for the sake of friendship but also for the sake of the competition. It is immediately apparent to the judges if partners are emotionally distanced from each other.
“If you don’t have a connection with your partner, America sees it. And those are the people who unfortunately go home soon,” she said. “It’s no one’s fault as pros or as celebrities—everyone gives it their best but there are some people who maybe don’t click as well. Maybe they don’t have that understanding or patience with each other for whatever reason. Dance is all about a connection with your partner.”
Luckily for Holker, the mother of a 7-year-old, never had to experience that kind of friction, even though there are differences between her and her partner’s lives.
“I feel like I’ve always had really nice partners that work really hard and are also patient with the fact that I have a family. The people who I’ve had always have been single. So I’m always like, ‘Oh my gosh, are they going to understand, is it going to be weird because we’re in different places of our lives?’ but it’s always worked out. All of my partnerships have been really wonderful and honestly they’ve become my friends for life. Riker Lynch was my last partner and I was texting him just this morning, asking him about his life and how the tour’s going. We create these lifetime friends that ultimately are more important than winning the trophy because they are people who are going to be in my life forever and it’s been the biggest blessing.”
Holker makes a cameo appearance in R5’s music video “All Night.” She discussed some of Riker’s hilarious quirks.
“Riker was obsessed with his hair, I swear!” exclaimed Holker. “Even though it looks like it’s messy, he puts more time into his hair than any other girl I know. There’s never gel or product I don’t think, but it was just the way he maneuvered his fingers through his hair was crazy and he really cared about his hair!”
Dancing With the Stars Season 21 premieres September 14 on ABC. The entire cast will be announced September 2 on Good Morning America.