Kim Fields and Sasha Farber have been entrusted with a very important task: They’re the couple that has been chosen to promote The Jungle Book on Dancing with the Stars.
Next Monday is Disney Night on DWTS, so the celebrity competitors and their pro partners will be working hard to turn the ballroom into the most magical place on Earth. There will be plenty of princesses and princes dancing to romantic tunes, but not all of the couples will be trying to tell love stories as old as time, set to songs as old as rhyme. As Broadway World reports, Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Fields and DWTS pro Sasha Farber will be performing a quickstep to “I Wan’na Be Like You” from Disney’s The Jungle Book. It’s a an upbeat, jazzy tune that “jungle VIP” King Louie sings in the animated movie. During his performance, the orangutan tells man-cub Mowgli that he wants to be human, too, and he’s hoping that the wild child can quench his desire for learning how to make fire.
The Dancing with the Stars powers-that-be likely chose this tune for Kim Fields and Sasha Farber because Disney’s live-action/CGI version of The Jungle Book is set to hit theaters next week. It won’t be a musical like the original, but it will feature a few revamped songs from the 1967 animated movie. Director Jon Favreau told USA Today that the soundtrack includes a version of “I Wan’na Be Like You” performed by Christopher Walken, the actor who voices King Louie in the new movie. The character has been re-imagined as a massive gigantopithecus, “the greatest ape there ever was,” and he no longer describes himself as the “King of the Swingers” (likely because he’s too large to do much swinging).
— The Jungle Book (@TheJungleBook) March 21, 2016
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber aren’t the first couple that has performed to “I Wan’na Be Like You” on DWTS. According to HitFix, fan faves Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis danced a samba to the song during Season 18, and they earned straight nines for their effort. Even though Maks and Meryl nailed their playful routine set to the jazzy jungle beat, writer Liane Bonin Starr opined that the beloved Jungle Book tune is likely very difficult to dance to.
“I’m really not sure anyone who is not a bear or an ape could dance a choreographed routine to this song,” Starr wrote. “I swear this was the show’s attempt to knock Meryl out of the top slot. Yikes.”
For their performance, Maks and Meryl didn’t dress up like King Louie and Baloo the bear, but they were joined by animated versions of the characters.
In addition to trying to meet the very high standard set by Meryl Davis, Kim Fields can also attempt to top the Disney Night performance of RHOA costar NeNe Leakes. NeNe competed against Meryl during Season 18, and she tied the ice dancer’s high score by dancing a foxtrot to “Cruella de Vil.”
Speaking of NeNe Leakes, she recently said that she doesn’t think that Kim Fields is a good fit for RHOA. However, this doesn’t mean that she dislikes Kim — in fact, NeNe is such a big fan of The Facts of Life star that she attended Kim’s Tootie-inspired performance last Monday night. According to Reality Tea, Kim and NeNe even posed together for a few photos.
Last week, Kim Fields rocked a bedazzled Eastland Academy uniform to perform a foxtrot to The Facts of Life theme song. She and Sasha Farber finished in fifth place with a score of 22, which is their highest of the season. Kim also got a boost from Mrs. Garrett actress Charlotte Rae, who tried to help Tootie avoid being “in trou-ble” next week by talking her costar up in a pre-dance video package. As Romper reports, Rae hilariously said that Kim Fields is full of “piss and vinegar,” and she also shared a fun fact about The Facts of Life: Kim had to wear roller skates to fit in frame with her taller costars during filming. The 89-year-old actress pointed out that she’s now the shortest member of the cast, but she’s okay with her small stature — she’s just happy that she’s still above ground.
You can see if Kim Fields and Sasha Farber can continue improving their scores next Monday when Dancing with the Stars airs at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Are you excited that the Disney movie they’ll be paying homage to is The Jungle Book?
[Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for BMI]