Could Laurie Hernandez Be Mark Ballas’ ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Season 23 Partner?

Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Madison Kocian are likely at the top of the Dancing with Stars producers’ most wanted list after winning gold in Rio, and DWTS has a “Final Five” insider who can advocate on the show’s behalf; the oldest member of the American women’s gymnastics team, Aly Raisman, competed on Season 16 of DWTS.

Aly finished in fourth place with a little help from professional dancer Mark Ballas, and her former partner has already singled out one member of the Final Five he’d love to compete with on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. If Mark had his way, he and 16-year-old Laurie Hernandez would contend for the Mirrorball Trophy. Mark used a Twitter hashtag to drop a not-so-subtle hint that he wants to dance with Laurie.

Laurie Hernandez hasn’t tweeted Mark back yet, likely because she’s a bit busy celebrating the Final Five’s dominant win. Even though she didn’t earn Team USA’s highest score during the floor routine competition, her colorful choreography and infectious energy made her a fan favorite. Hernandez showed flickers of natural dance ability between those tough tumbling passes, and she was an excellent entertainer. The New Jersey native playfully winked at the judges at the beginning of her routine, and she kept her face animated during her playful dance passages. According to NJ.com, the born performer’s sassy personality has earned nicknames like the “Human Emoji” and “Baby Shakira.”

“She likes to perform and she does it with a smile and with passion,” said Laurie’s father, Anthony Hernandez, after the Final Five secured the gold. “I think people feed off it. It’s not just a chore for her. She enjoys it. She enjoys it. Her mom taught her well. She told her, ‘a smile costs nothing but can make somebody’s day.'”

As NBC New York reports, Laurie Hernandez took ballet lessons when she was younger, but dance definitely wasn’t her passion; her parents had to use cookies to bribe her into going to ballet class. Laurie hung up her pointe shoes for good shortly after discovering gymnastics on television when she was five years old. However, Mark Ballas will be relieved to learn that Laurie still has a special place in her heart for dance. In a Q&A on the NBC Olympics website, Laurie lists Dancing with the Stars as one of her favorite TV shows, and she says that she likes to to “learn dances off YouTube” during her free time.

Laurie Hernandez Took Ballet Before Becoming A Gymnast

If Laurie Hernandez does decide to sign on for Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, there’s a good chance that the youngest member of the Final Five would be partnered up with Mark Ballas. Producers often pair the 30-year-old pro with the underage competitors on the show, including Season 8 winner Shawn Johnson. According to ABC News, the then-17-year-old Olympic gymnast was the show’s youngest-ever celebrity contender when she took home the Mirrorball Trophy in 2009. Mark would later be paired with 17-year-old Duck Dynasty star Sadie Robertson and 14-year-old The Hunger Games actress Willow Shields.

Mark Ballas and UFC fighter Paige VanZant came tantalizing close to taking home the Mirroball Trophy during last season of Dancing with the Stars, finishing second behind America’s Next Top model winner Nyle DiMarco and pro dancer Peta Murgatroyd. Mark hasn’t won DWTS since he and Shawn Johnson competed together in 2009, so perhaps what he needs is another gymnast partner to help him get that elusive third win.

However, Laurie Hernandez can’t start thinking about the possibility of hanging her gold medal on a Mirrorball Trophy just yet. As the Huffington Post reports, she’s currently prepping to compete for another medal in the balance beam final on Monday, August 15.

Would you like to see Laurie Hernandez performing Mark Ballas’ unique choreography on Season 23 of Dancing with the Stars, or are you rooting for another member of the Final Five to join the show? Sound off below!

[Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images]