Jordan Fisher knew that bringing children into the Dancing With the Stars family would be a game changer for the franchise, but he did not expect how invested he ended up getting in the Juniors stars' journeys.
The Dancing With the Stars: Juniors co-host talked with PopCulture.com exclusively about working alongside the twelve young celebrities and their professional partners during the summer taping the reality competition series.
"I did not know how emotional involved and attached I would grow to the kids and their families, their journeys, their experiences," Fisher told PopCulture.com during a phone interview Tuesday, Oct. 23. "I'm like a proud papa, honestly. I miss them so much when they're not around. The ballroom misses them, all of the crew, the creative team. Everybody does."
After winning his own mirrorball trophy during the 25th season of parent series Dancing With the Stars, Fisher said he was relieved to return to the franchise and know he was safe from elimination. Adding to that, seeing the contestants improve on their skills week-to-week just made the experience more fulfilling.
"I think that we naturally are all wired to want to see kids succeed. If you're a human, if you're a good human, you want to root for kids, you want to see them do well and [see] them be happy," Fisher added. "Week in and week out, that was my journey, that was my personal journey in the show, watching them grow and be challenged with something really difficult and tackle it headfirst and succeed. It was such a beautiful experience."
Part of the job as co-host during filming, Fisher revealed, was to act as a support system for the young contestants.
"I was fortunate to be a safety net for the kids," he said. "They would give me their problems, I would console, I would do all of those things. If I could take whatever stress... they had on the show, if I could take any of that on to make their journey a little easier, I was the first to raise my hand to do that."
The singer and actor would not name his favorites among the Junior duos, though he did not how impressed he was with the whole cast on their continued improvement week-to-week.
"The thing that impressed me the most, knowing how difficult it is, was knowing the amount of work that they had to tackle every week," he said. "Their growth, they continued to grow every week, all of them. You'll notice every episode, every couple gets better. Every contestant gets better and better."
He continued: "You see a real arch to the show that doesn't descend at all, it just keeps going up all the way through the finale. I think people are gonna be really pleased with the journey that all of the kids took on the show."
Dancing With the Stars: Juniors airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.