Handsome and humble! Deaf Dancing With the Stars contestant Nyle DiMarco opened up to Us Weekly about breaking the boundaries and becoming a finalist on the show in an exclusive interview on Monday, May 16.
DiMarco, 27, and his dance partner, Peta Murgatroyd, were both elated when they learned that they were one step closer to the Mirrorball Trophy following the emotional Season 22 semi-finals on Monday. “Thank you! I’m feeling honored, inspired, and relieved,” DiMarco told Us Weekly at Mixology in Los Angeles following the live broadcast. “The very first week I questioned myself: Can the deaf guy make it that far against hearing people who can hear the music? And I think we deserve it. We’ve worked hard and pushed ourselves every week.”
Murgatroyd, who cried tears of frustration during one behind-the-scenes moment on Monday’s episode, told Us what triggered the waterworks. “I was just frustrated with myself because the blindfold … we changed the way it was built a couple of times and it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to, so I felt like I had wasted time,” the New Zealand-born dancer, 29, recalled. However, it worked out for the dynamic duo. The two received a 30 for their second performance of the night.
“I mean, this is like a dream come true. Honestly, from the first day I that met Nyle — it was going to be a challenge — and I didn’t know how I was going to approach it,” she shared with Us. “But we’ve been concrete every single week and it’s become a passion of mine, literally, to challenge him and create amazing dances with someone who can’t hear and to make him look like he can.”
DiMarco, who’s next featured in a short film called Beyond Inclusion produced by the Communication Service for the Deaf, revealed it was really like wearing that blindfold. “It was definitely an adrenaline rush,” he told Us. “I can’t hear and I can’t see so that’s just three senses I had left so it was really all about holding onto Peta for dear life! Her movement is telling me what my next move is so I move with her flow.”
The technique worked, and the two made a striking comeback with their partially-blindfolded segment of their Argentine tango, which completely wowed the judges. “You never cease to amaze,” Len Goodman told DiMarco. Fellow judge Carrie Ann Inaba added that DiMarco was an inspiration and was a reminder to “constantly push our boundaries.”
Murgatroyd reacted to the victory, saying: “That was the idea of that. Just to trust and to use body contact as his way to know where to go next.”