Star of Teen Mom OG Bristol Palin is helping her son Tripp Palin Johnston prepare for his Dancing with the Stars: Juniors debut by doing what any mom would do when their child was trying something new – giving thoughtful advice.
Johnston, who made his formal debut as a contestant on the Dancing with the Stars spinoff show on the series September 25 episode, will be paired with Hailey Bills and mentored by current DWTS pro Jenna Johnson.
Palin, who competed on Dancing with the Stars Season 11 in 2010 and re-appeared for the all-star Season 15 in 2012, both times alongside former pro Mark Ballas, is working with her 9-year-old son, giving him some tips and tricks for scoring a perfect 10.
Johnston revealed to Us Weekly that his mother helped with some pointers for working a crowd. Johnston’s mentor Jenna Johnson said to Us the dynamic between her young dancer and his mom was wonderful.
“Bristol was telling him a lot to small and do ‘oohs and aahs’ with his performance and he did it!” she quipped.
Us Weekly reported that Johnston was more “nervous” than excited about performing on the ABC dance competition series, but was relying on his pro-partner Bills and mentor Johnson to help him work through his apprehension.
“I think for being a non-dancer, he was able to retain [the steps] really well,” Johnson said to Us.
“It’s very hard for someone who has never danced before. This is a very daunting place. It’s covered in lights and cameras and costumes, so he did really well.”
Palin had some reservations at first to her son joining the cast. She noted to Entertainment Tonight, “I was like, ‘No way!’ My son, of course at first, was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this sounds so fun. I am going to do it!’ And then I showed him some clips of young dancers, [and he said,] ‘I am not doing it!'”
Johnson herself is working through a new dynamic in her relationship with fiancé Val Chmerkovskiy, who will be one of three judges on the panel critiquing the junior contestants.
Alongside Chmerkovskiy will be Johnson’s Season 26 partner and mirrorball winner Olympian Adam Rippon and choreographer Mandy Moore.
“I think yes, [it was weird] because I’m so used to dancing with him on the show. But no, because I think he deserves a spot more than anyone and I think he’s so knowledgeable about just dance in general and with the kids,” she remarked to Us.
Johnson also noted that her fiancé has been teaching his whole life alongside his brother Maks Chmerkovskiy at their parents and now their own dance studios and that this progression suits him.
Dancing with the Stars: Juniors premieres on ABC Sunday, October 7, at 8 p.m. ET.