Willow Shields and Mark Ballas seemed to have a promising future on Dancing With the Stars, but on Monday night’s episode, the high-scoring couple were unexpectedly eliminated from the competition. The shocking result happened just a few hours after Willow had written on her Access Hollywood blog about her progression through the program and how she was improving her dancing every week.
“No one tells you that this will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. For your time on the show dancing will become your life. You really have no time for anything else. Dance, eat, sleep (whenever you can), repeat.”
She credited her DWTS partner Mark Ballas, who has been on the program for eight years, since Willow was 6-years-old, for her improvements. In the couple’s first performance Monday night, they traded ninja jokes as they prepared a complex and interesting “futuristic jazz” piece.
“I am lucky to have Mark as a partner. When there is work to be done, he is right there, always willing to put in the hours I need to succeed. Sometimes he will ask me ‘So what do you think?’ Maybe a hint we have the dance in a pretty good place? Doesn’t matter, we try it again, always some little thing that could be even better. He won’t give up, and I certainly won’t.”
Willow may be a young person, just shy of her 15th birthday, but she already has some impressive acting credits. Shields got her first acting job in a 2008 voice over role. Her breakthrough came when she was cast as Jennifer Lawrence’s younger sister in the first Hunger Games movie in 2011. She took on the role twice more in the film’s sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.
Shields was the youngest-ever contestant on Dancing With the Stars. She appeared to be enjoying her time on the program, in earlier blogs for Access Hollywood even crediting the judges, Bruno Tonioli in particular, for their interesting and thoughtful feedback.
Reflecting in today’s blog on the work she’d put in to the show so far, Shields seemed hopeful she could continue to improve.
“I recently read somewhere that it takes about 10,000 hours to master something. Not really sure if that’s true, but it sounds about right to me. How much work does it take to do something well? How many hours? How much commitment? Sweat? Achy muscles?… But doing the math, I figured I have put in about 540 hours dancing so far. Far from mastering something, but getting better every week.”
Dancing With the Stars airs a 10th anniversary special tomorrow night and returns to the competition next Monday on ABC.
[Willow Shields image courtesy of Getty]