For Dancing with the Stars' 29th season, Carrie Ann Inaba took PEOPLE inside her weekly glam sessions, including how her hair, makeup and styling teams came together to create her ballroom-ready looks. Now that the season has come to an end, the longtime judge is revealing the six reasons why this season is one of her "favorites" of all time.
I just have to say that this season, season 29, was one of my favorites for so many reasons (and note I have been there for every episode).
No. 1: We were able to be part of something good in a world that has become more challenging for so many of us. In these uncertain times, to wake up and go to work and do something that I love, I realize more than ever what an honor, blessing and gift it is and I don’t take it for granted — not for a single moment.
No. 2: Despite the fact that there was no audience in the ballroom, we were able to create a more intimate and competitive ballroom than we have ever seen.
I feel that the judges, the pros and celebs were all a part of the same team and that was something we were not able to feel in prior seasons.
No. 3: This season was fun because we got back to the basics of the competition, which has always been about expression and growth. This season, more than ever, we saw that because there were no distractions and we were able to focus on the dancers and their journeys. I think that made for a more compelling season for which I’m grateful.
No. 4: I thought Derek Hough did an amazing job adding to the judging table. Derek brought so much insight and we immediately felt like family … because we are family. And a large part of that joy lies with our other judge, my brother Bruno Tonioli. I am so honored and grateful to call him my friend. Before we are judges we are dancers, so we hope that we can help shape the dialogue of dance in our country.
No. 5: Tyra Banks brought a quality to the show that made it exciting. You never knew what was going to happen next. She brought changes and a new boost of energy that the show needed. Tyra showed up and when she did she always brought her best and I celebrate her. She is a trooper and a strong woman that carves her own path and I have respect for that.
Lastly, I love this season because I got to experiment with my looks in ways I never have and it gave me a creative outlet that I haven’t had in a while.
I want to say thank you to my incredible team. Rhonda Spies, who styled me like I’ve never been styled before. I have so much confidence in her choices and the way we work together and this season it just felt like we were producing our own little show. As a creative person, that really filled a part of me that needed to be filled. I’m very grateful to the designers who gifted us and shared their designs and artistry with us this season.
I want to thank Marylin Lee Spiegel for being an incredible anchor to my team. She recently won her first Emmy (for The Talk, a show she and Rhonda both work on with me) and I’m always intrigued by the way she is able to bring these looks to life. It really does take an artist to create the dimension and the angles in my face and she does it with incredible precision and artistry and I have so much respect for her.
And finally, the newest member to the glam team Glenn Nutley, who came into this season and brought in that “wig game." While I know not everyone loved my wigs, I sure did! And what makes me most proud is that normally I do not like to take a lot of risks, but this season I am thankful for that choice. As a judge, normally I don’t like to call any attention to myself and I also don’t like to take risks that won’t make me feel secure. But I knew this season wigs were the right choice (if you read my previous blog, you will understand why). I am so happy I did because we had a lot of fun and when you wear a wig, each wig can be polished and specific. It was fun to be blonde, redhead, pink and to just explore — I really enjoyed it.
It has been an honor, joy and a pleasure to be part of a show that has been on for 29 seasons, to help shape the dialogue of dance in our country. I am very grateful that when I was 4 years old, my mother put me in creative dance and has given me this gift. There isn’t a day I don’t appreciate it or the wonderful show that DWTS is.
Please check out Carrie Ann Conversations, where I will be sharing my favorite 10 dances of all time and recapping the season.
Love and thanks to you all.
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