The hostess with the mostest! After the news broke in July 2020 that Tyra Banks would step in as the new Dancing With the Stars host, many fans were skeptical if she had what it takes to lead the show. Despite fan criticism once season 29 debuted, pro dancers Sasha Farber and Emma Slater believed the 47-year-old model did a great job.
Slater, 32, exclusively told Us Weekly that while the couple couldn’t hang out with the former supermodel on set due to COVID-19 protocols, they still admired her from afar.
“I think she did an amazing job,” Slater told Us. “I really did. I think her personality. … She’s larger than life. She’s absolutely gorgeous. I would have loved to have gotten to know her more on a personal level. Because of COVID we couldn’t, but I think she did a phenomenal job.”
The British dancer also praised Banks’ professionalism after she accidentally revealed the wrong couple was safe during the second week.
“The way that she handled that situation when there was sort of misinformation between her cue cards and the prompter, I actually thought she did a really great job with that,” she added. “That was a difficult situation and not many people could have really handled that, and I think that she did it kind of seamlessly. So … kudos to her. She did a great job.”
Slater is hoping for more face time with the America’s Next Top Model creator if she is asked back to the ballroom this fall for season 30.
“I feel like now, hopefully with this [new] season, I don’t know how the COVID restrictions are going to go,” the former Mirrorball champ adds. “Like, we really don’t know anything. If I’m back, I definitely will [reach out to Banks]. We’ll be, like, knocking on Tyra’s door and be like, ‘Hey, let’s hang.’”
Farber, 37, echoed his wife’s sentiments and praised how the dancing show handled everything in light of the pandemic.
“I think the show did such a great job,” he said. “Like, that’s when COVID was in the midst of it and we were the only show that did a live show in the studio and we managed to do it so safely. The crew were incredible.”
When asked if they have been in touch with the former show hosts, Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, the couple revealed more about their special connection thanks to their shared experience on the competition series, claiming they will “always be family.”
“I’ve texted Tom,” Slater added. “We texted Erin a little bit beforehand, but I’ve texted Tom [for] a birthday of his [and] wished him a happy birthday. [He] says, well, ‘We’ve got to meet up.’”
Bergeron, 66, and Andrews, 43, were let go of the show shortly before Banks was hired.
“I think the challenge is stepping into shoes,” the former AGT host exclusively told Us ahead of her debut on the ABC reality series. “I mean, you know, Tom Bergeron and Erin. They lead the show, this is one of the top-rated shows in the world. So [I’m] respecting the stage that they have set and then adding my icing to that. I feel confident about that, but of course, it’s a challenge, but I don’t back away from challenges.”