Laurie Hernandez goes to her very first prom with Val Chmerkovskiy on 'DWTS'
Laurie Hernandez is finally getting go to the prom, and she's got the best dance partner a girl could hope for!
For her '60s-era quickstep on Monday, the Olympic gold medalist, who's been home-schooled for most of her life due to her gymnastic endeavors, was invited to a fun, festive prom-style dance by pro Val Chmerkovskiy, who showed the 16-year-old athlete how much fun a "school" dance can actually be.
In the pre-taped package before their dance, Chmerkovskiy realized how much Hernandez was going to need to learn about dance styles in the '60s. (Hey, she was born in 2000! You can't really blame her.)
So the pair went to fellow contestant Marilu Henner for a little advice on what life and culture was like back in the day, and it's clear from their final performance her guidance really paid off.
"I think it's cool that my first prom is going to be with Val," Hernandez said during the pre-taped segment. "Even though I've never been to a prom, this is kind of what I imagined it to be."
"Being asked to the prom, it's a very awesome time," Chmerkovskiy said over an adorable, fake home movie of the handsome dancer rocking a white tux as he picks up his "prom date" from her parents' house. "These are magic moments every teenager should experience. I'm glad that Laurie gets to experience it, at least on Dancing With the Stars."
And their super cute dance night lived up to all of the expectations. Chmerkovskiy looked adorably nerdy in a powder blue tux and thick-rimmed glasses, while Hernandez looked spot-on '60s in a blue, flower-print gown and matching headband.
The dance kicked off with Chmerkovskiy putting a corsage around Hernandez's wrist and quickly became the dance number every high school kid wishes they could pull off at their prom.
The judges seemed really enamored with the pair's performance as well, including Len Goodman who just returned after a three-week hiatus from the show. While Goodman had some complaints about the timing, ultimately all four judges had a lot of love for the energy, commitment and choreography.
Carrie Ann Inaba, who famously dislikes lifts in DWTS performances, criticized Chmerkovskiy for starting and ending the number with lifts, but the 30-year-old pro had a perfect explanation.
"I was trying to teach her about the '60s," Chmerkovskiy replied. "It was a time of rebellion and that is important."
"Okay, I'll give you that," Inaba said. "I'll only deduct one point now."
Inaba and Goodman ended up awarding '8's, while Julianne Hough and Bruno Tonioli gave two '9's, for a total of 34 out of 40.
Speaking with co-host Erin Andrews after the dance, Hernandez opened up about preparing for the dance, sharing, "The past week we've had to learn about the '60s, and see that it was an honor for people to dance together, so that made me more grateful to be able to dance with Val."