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Spoilers ahead for the October 5 episode of Dancing with the Stars Season 29 on ABC.
Following a magical Disney Night last week that ended in Tiger King's Carole Baskin not feeling the love with a Lion King number, Dancing with the Stars continued with the final thirteen celebrities strutting their stuff on stage. While some celebs were stronger than others on the dance floor, Disney Channel star Skai Jackson was unforgettable from start to finish. She dedicated her emotional foxtrot to her former Jessie co-star Cameron Boyce, who passed away in 2019.
Cameron Boyce shockingly died last year after a seizure, and his Jessie and Descendants co-stars took to social media at the time to pay tribute. Skai Jackson decided to use her Dancing with the Stars platform to honor Boyce. In the video that played before Jackson took the floor to foxtrot to John Legend's "Ordinary People," she told pro partner Alan Bersten about her plans to dedicate the dance, saying:
He was in my life for half of my life. Which is crazy. I met Cameron obviously on Jessie, and we just really built up this bond for years and years and years. And he was kind of like a big brother figure to me. And always looked out for me through everything. He really molded me into the person that I am now. Of course I miss him every day. But I have him on my phone case, so I get to see him. It just makes me a little bit sad, of course. He’s not here. But I know that he would be really proud of me. I know that he loved Dancing with the Stars and he loved dancing. So that’s why I’m really excited, just to do this dance, because it is for him… I’m just really glad that he’s here to watch over us and I just want to show him that this dance is for him.
Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten were both in tears in the video package, and I'm guessing there were plenty of viewers who were choked up from home as well. 18-year-old Skai Jackson was quite young when she started working on Jessie back in 2011, and Cameron Boyce was clearly very important to her. She did reveal that she has a photo of the two of them on her phone case, which made for a touching moment.
The good news is that Skai Jackson pulled off a remarkable performance in this episode of Dancing with the Stars, making the judges emotional as well. She and Alan Bersten scored the highest numbers of the night, which included the first 10 that any couple earned this season courtesy of Carrie Ann Inaba, and they received a 9 each from Derek Hough and Len Goodman.
Before they learned that they earned a 28 that put them on top of the competition for the night, however, Skai Jackson said this when new host Tyra Banks remarked that she and the judges think Jackson made Cameron Boyce proud:
I hope I did. He was someone that was really important to me and he’s part of why I did the show, and I just want to encourage people too to donate to the Cameron Boyce Foundation, which was really close to him.
The Cameron Boyce Foundation works toward ending gun violence, the global water crisis, curing epilepsy and eliminating SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy), and Skai Jackson shared that it was important to Cameron Boyce before he passed away. The mention of the foundation on Dancing with the Stars undoubtedly raises awareness among viewers, especially coming right at the end of such a stellar performance.
In case you missed Skai Jackson's foxtrot in honor of Cameron Boyce, take a look:
Skai Jackson naturally advanced to the next stage of Dancing with the Stars competition in Season 29, and other highlights of the episode include the virtual appearances from the rest of the Backstreet Boys during AJ McLean's cha-cha-cha with pro partner Cheryl Burke to classic BSB hit "Larger Than Life," and One Day at a Time's Justina Machado impressing with her salsa to "Que Viva La Vida" with partner Sasha Farber.