The show kicked off with the pros performing a fairy-tale-inspired dance to “Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” choreographed by Mandy Moore — who also worked with Swift, 33, to choreograph her Eras Tour. Prior to the contestants stepping on the ballroom floor, Swift herself shared some words of encouragement for the contestants.
“Hey guys it’s Taylor. I just want to say thank you so much for having this me-themed night on Dancing With the Stars,” the pop star relayed in a video message. “I can’t wait to see what your amazing choreographers and my friend Mandy Moore have in store. I so wish I could be there.”
Alyson Hannigan — who declared herself the competition’s biggest Swiftie — could not contain her excitement to dance in the special episode.
“I heard there’s going to be a Taylor Swift night. I was like, oh, that’s my dream. I have to make that. And here we are,” the actress, 49, said in a confessional while repping her Eras Tour concert T-shirt. “My kids and I all love her music. That night when we got to see her in concert was so special for all three of us. That’s the one artist we can play and not be like, oh, change this song.”
While Hannigan didn’t execute her “You Belong With Me” themed cha cha perfectly, the judges saw how much she channeled Swift’s Fearless era.
“Oh my darling, you were obviously inspired by Taylor,” judge Bruno Tonioli told Hannigan. “Watching your promo for the romantic comedy when Alyson met Sasha in the cha-cha. And that was right. You were so into it. You were racing through it, my darling.”
“Bringing that whole arena is what we need to do with this Argentine tango,” the singer, 46, said to partner Daniella Karagach. “This is our redemption dance. We need to make the greatest comeback in Dancing With the Stars history.”
Which Mraz ultimately delivered as he received his first perfect score of the season.
“That had everything. It had all the moves,” Derek Hough gushed before the pair’s scores were revealed. “The confidence that you had on that very first moment when you spun her around, I was in the whole time. My man Jason Mraz is back!”
In addition to their first round of dances, the contestants also performed in a dance relay for extra points on their total score. Ariana Madix and Xochitl Gomez faced off with a Viennese waltz to “Lover” while Hannigan and Harry Jowsey danced a jive to “Shake It Off” and Mraz and Charity Lawson performed a cha-cha to “Lavender Haze.” Gomez, 17, Hannigan, and Mraz won their respective dances and added three points to their total score.
At the end of the evening, Jowsey, 26, and Rylee Arnold had the lowest score and were eliminated, just missing out on making it to the semi-finals.
“It’s been so special. I can’t believe we’ve made it this far,” Jowsey reflected on his experience. “For Rylee’s first season, it’s so incredible to see her live out her dreams.”
Keep scrolling to see all the stars’ scores from Taylor Swift Night: