To call Jordan Fisher a triple threat would be a disservice to the young man’s myriad talents. Fisher can act, sing, dance, co-host (as he did recently on Freeform’s Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary special and as seen weekly on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors), and yes, he captures hearts in everything he does (people are still talking about his swoon-worthy performance as Doody in Grease Live!). I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the awe-inspiring Jordan Fisher on the phone recently and the following is an edited and condensed version of that delightful conversation.
Brief Take: Congratulations on your fantastic week! I’m still in awe of the opening number that you did for Dancing with the Stars: Juniors‘ Disney week! And to do that right after you hosted the Hocus Pocus 25th anniversary show and blew everyone away with your ‘Witchcraft’ number?! I’m so impressed by you!
Jordan Fisher: Oh I love that! I had actually just landed from New York and went straight to rehearsal on Saturday and got to be home. You know, L.A. is home, Dancing with the Stars is home and all the kids and the pros are family to me. Just to be able to be home and to be welcomed by that showering of love and surrounded by people that I adore, and to be able to create something really special and, in my opinion, one of the best openings Dancing with the Stars has ever done. Unbiased. [laughs] It was a ton of fun. It’s just a party when everyone is together and we had such a great time.
BT: And with a bit of a shocking ending to the show too.
BT: But you did have a very special guest in the audience that night – Kim Kardashian West. Did you get to meet her?
JF: I did not. It’s tough, especially from the host’s perspective. We kind of just get thrown around and tossed around all over the place, and all of a sudden the show is over and you gotta go.
BT: Judging by all the reactions online, it seems the audience is really rooting for Mackenzie Ziegler or Miles Brown to win the mirrorball. Do you have a favourite amongst the competitors?
JF: Well naturally you do end up finding yourself having favourites and becoming more attached to certain people. I think that’s just a natural human nature thing. I think that the things people don’t know, especially if you’ve never done Dancing with the Stars before, there’s no way to really describe how difficult it is. It is the most challenging thing you will ever do. It’s so hard! There’s really no easy way to describe it. You are tasked with something you’ve never done before, you’re challenged by something new every week, you have four days to learn it, you have to go to camera blocking and you have to go to shoot it wide, and then all of a sudden you’re on live tv. You’re on national television in front of millions of people doing something you’ve never done before. I mean how scary is that?! And these junior competitors all do it better than the adults; they really do it better than any of us! They learn twice the amount in half the time and they kill it! They’re just unbelievable and it’s such a beautiful experience watching all of them. I say this loudly and proudly – it was truly the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. But I love all the kids; I’m attached to all of them. I’m seriously emotionally involved and invested and the idea of their journeys ending on the show is very difficult. But ABC is really awesome at making sure that they’re all taken care of and stay involved. They let them all stay in L.A. for the remainder of the show so that they can be a part of things and don’t feel left out. It’s really beautiful but it’s still really difficult to see all of the hard work and then have to leave the competition. It’s really tough. But it wouldn’t be a competition without elimination.
BT: Do you have any advice for the Juniors competitors?
JF: Absolutely. We pre-taped over the summer, so a lot of the advice was given during the summer, but for anyone moving forward, for season two of the show, hopefully we get picked up!, be open and be transparent and be an open book. The cameras are on, the mics are on, everything is going to be picked up so don’t put on a mask and just be you entirely. Put as much time and energy into your partner and do the work. Monday night is going to roll around and you’re going to be on live tv. If you put in the work and put in the time, connect with your partner so that you trust each other and lean on each other, you’re going to have a great experience.
BT: Speaking of partners, do you still get to chat with Lindsay (Arnold)?
JF: [laughs] Understatement! She’s family. We see each other every other day, we talk to each other every other day, her family stays with me when they’re in town or they’re going to the show. She’s family.
BT: Is she rooting for anyone in particular in this competition?
JF: Probably DeMarcus (Ware).
BT: And you must have learned a lot about yourself on your Dancing with the Stars journey.
JF: Oh definitely! How nervous I get. [laughs] I learned how much I hate elimination. I thought I was always going to puke before elimination. True story! Every episode, every week people would just get out of my way because they knew that those last ten minutes were really difficult for me personally.
BT: Going back to the Hocus Pocus anniversary show, what was that experience like for you?
JF: It was a blast! That’s my generation’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is a cultural phenomenon. If you were born in the ’80s or ’90s, you know that film from beginning to end, and you can quote it. So to share that day with a friend, Vanessa Hudgens is a dear friend, especially knowing how much we both love the film and love the actors involved, to be able to do that and just celebrate this film in that way was such a good time. It was genuinely one of the most fun nights of my life. I had such a great time.
BT: What was it like reuniting with Vanessa from Grease Live? Had you seen each other since then?
JF: Oh yeah. We try to hang out on a semi-regular basis, whether it be in L.A. or New York, we’ve stayed very good friends. We’re super close, which is great. She lives pretty close to me so we try to get together as much as possible.
BT: Do you have a favourite Disney movie? You were such an integral part of the Moana soundtrack.
JF: Probably The Incredibles, it’s such a classic. Also Peter Pan, I love that one as well.
BT: Halloween is coming up. Do you have a favourite scary movie?
JF: Oh, any of the classics – Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, the Friday the 13th movies. I love classic horror films!
BT: Everyone wants to know what the secret to your success is, because you really do it all.
JF: I do! [laughs] The secret to my success? Wow. Funnily I’ve never been asked that question. I don’t know that there is a secret but there are some things that drive me though. One is passion – I love doing what I do! I get to wake up every day and get to do what I love. And I don’t limit myself for wearing all the hats that I wear. I put them on every day regardless of what I’m doing. If it’s on the creative side, the tv side, the singing side, the Broadway side, the writing side, the producing side, the eSports side, the branding side…I love all of it so much! I think that’s probably the secret – that I practice the word ‘no’. I say no to things when I know that I don’t have 100 per cent of my time to give to that thing or I can’t delegate it. That keeps the joy, because I only have so many hours in the day and a certain amount of days in the week and weeks in the year, and the sun will eventually set and we’ve got to start over the next day. But when I wake up, I know that I’m going to do what I love, and because I’m going to do what I love, I give it my all. I’m prepared and I work my butt off and I know that I’m doing something special, whatever that thing may be.
BT: You tweeted recently that “2018 will go down in history as one of the golden years for gaming and esports”. Can you elaborate on that?
JF: Absolutely. Being a part of the esports world in terms of marketing and branding and streaming and whatnot has been really fun to see the growth over the past year, mainly with Fortnite. Fortnite is really the game that put esports on the map and my buddy Tyler Blevins, who’s known as ‘Ninja’, he’s been paving the path here, and I think the world is really starting to see that. I think people are investing in esports. Yesterday Drake and Scooter Braun announced a co-ownership over an esports brand called ‘100 Thieves’ that’s been around and kicking butt for awhile now. They’re not the first – Steph Curry just invested over the summer, Mark Cuban is investing. Esports is growing so rapidly, more and more every day, and most of that work has been done just this year, in 2018. It’s incredible.
BT: What’s been that something special that you’ve done recently?
JF: Oh geez! Wow. Probably Juniors, honestly. I mean this that it’s been the most fulfilling thing that I’ve ever done. Emotionally, it’s been such a beautiful experience and the Dancing with the Stars family is a real family to me. And I’ve been working on another project that’s going to be announced pretty soon. Keep your eyes peeled in the next couple of weeks!
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors airs tonight at 8/7c on ABC with a special ‘Halloween Night’ episode!