The 33-year-old pop superstar appeared in a pre-recorded video that was introduced toward the end of the two-hour episode by co-host Alfonso Ribeiro, 52.
‘I can’t wait to see Dancing With The Stars celebration of my Eras next week,’ Taylor said while wearing a multi-colored sleeveless top. ‘I wish I could be there with you guys, but I’m on tour in Brazil. But I will be there in spirit and I’ll be watching.’
‘Oh, we know you’ll be watching Taylor. We wish you could be here, too,’ Alfonso said.
Alfonso earlier shared that in honor of Taylor’s record-breaking The Eras Tour that each remaining contestant will dance to their favorite song by her.
Tribute episode: Taylor Swift shared a special message on Tuesday’s episode of Dancing With The Stars in anticipation of next week’s special tribute episode featuring her music
Guest judge for the ‘A Celebration of Taylor Swift’ episode will be Dancing With The Stars choreographer Mandy Moore, 47, who also was lead choreographer of The Eras Tour.
While next week will be all about Taylor, this week’s episode was Whitney Houston Night and kicked off with a performance by actor and singer Billy Porter singing her hit song How Will I Know. Billy, 54, also joined the panel as a guest judge for the episode that featured hit songs by Whitney, who died in 2012 at age 48 from drowning amid evidence of drug abuse.
Harry Jowsey, 26, with Rylee Arnold were the first performers and danced the Viennese waltz to Whitney’s song I Have Nothing. To prepare for the dance, Harry took a ballet class with Rylee.
‘The seduction was at about five and I need to see it at about 10,’ Billy said.
‘I’ll turn it up for you,’ Harry said.
‘You have come so far,’ Carrie Ann Inaba, 55, said. ‘There is magic in your eyes.’
The judges gave them a 28 out of 40.
Jason Mraz, 46, with Daniella Karagach went next dancing the Samba to Whitney’s song Higher Love. During rehearsal Jason worked hard to get the complicated moves right.
On tour: ‘I can’t wait to see Dancing With The Stars celebration of my Eras next week,’ Taylor said while wearing a multi-colored sleeveless top. ‘I wish I could be there with you guys, but I’m on tour in Brazil . But I will be there in spirit and I’ll be watching’
In spirit: ‘Oh, we know you’ll be watching Taylor. We wish you could be here, too,’ co-host Alfonso Ribeiro, 52, said
Pop superstar: The 33-year-old pop superstar appeared in a pre-recorded video that was introduced toward the end of the two-hour episode by co-host Alfonso while standing next to co-host Julianne Hough
Singing judge: Whitney Houston Night kicked off with a performance by actor and singer Billy Porter singing her hit song How Will I Know before who also served as guest judge
They twirled around the dance floor and the audience gave them a standing ovation when they finished.
‘I love you,’ Billy said. ‘I loved it. Your character. Your connection.’
Bruno Tonioli, 67, pointed out that he messed up the dance four times. Carrie Ann also said she thought he was getting a little lost in the mix.
‘Can we do it one more time?’ Jason quipped.
‘I must have blinked when the mistakes happened because I didn’t see them,’ Derek Hough said.
The judges gave them a 33 out of 40.
Good times: Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli danced during the opening routine
First up: Harry Jowsey , 26, with Rylee Arnold were the first performers and danced the Viennese waltz to Whitney’s song I Have Nothing
Hard dance: Jason Mraz, 46, with Daniella Karagach went next dancing the Samba to Whitney’s song Higher Love
Alyson Hannigan, 49, danced a contemporary number with Sasha Farber to Whitney’s Greatest Love Of All. Alyson broke down in rehearsals saying it was the first song that introduced the concept of self love to her. In her dance, she did an elegant handstand on Sasha’s back. The audience gave them a standing ovation.
‘I definitely saw a different side of you and I liked it,’ Bruno said.
Carrie Ann said the dance brought tears to her eyes.
‘What I love so much about what you did is that you did not get lost in it because if you are crying then we’re not,’ Billy said. ‘That was fabulous!’
The judges gave them a 33 out of 40.
Contemporary dance: Alyson Hannigan, 49, danced a contemporary number with Sasha Farber to Whitney’s Greatest Love Of All
Disney star Xochitl Gomez, 17, with Val Chmerkovskiy danced the Tango to I Want To Dance With Somebody. Xochitl explained how she had sprained her ankle before the last show during rehearsal for the team dance off.
‘I actually injured the same foot when I was filming Dr. Strange,’ Xochitl said. ‘So I hope I can give it my all this week.’
Dressed all in black, they twirled around the dance floor while the crowd cheered for them.
‘That was flawless,’ Carrie Ann said. ‘So absolutely pristine.’
‘That was fantastic,’ Derek Hough said.
‘It was magical,’ Billy said. ‘You fell down and you got back up.’
‘I know what your superpower is …Tango,’ Bruno said. ‘It was dancing at its best.’
The judges gave them a perfect score of 40 out of 40.
Xochitl was shocked and hugged Val as they earned the first perfect scores of the season.
Sprained ankle: Disney star Xochitl Gomez, 17, sprained her ankle during the group dance rehearsal
Tango time: The Los Angeles native and Val Chmerkovskiy danced the Tango to I Want To Dance With Somebody
Perfect scores: The judges gave them a perfect score of 40 out of 40.
The Brady Bunch star Barry Williams, 68, with Peta Murgatroyd danced a sexy Rumba to Whitney’s hit Didn’t We Almost Have It All. Barry called his wife Tina Mahina, a professional hula dancer, to give him tips on how to get the perfect hip action for the dance.
‘Great work,’ Billy said. ‘The storytelling is great. You know how to show up and show out.’
Barry’s former Brady Bunch brother Christopher Knight, 66, who played Peter on the show, cheered him on from the audience.
‘I thought it was really beautiful and one of your better dances,’ Carrie Ann said.
The judges gave them a 32 out of 40.
Rumba dance: The Brady Bunch star Barry Williams, 68, with Peta Murgatroyd danced a sexy Rumba to Whitney’s hit Didn’t We Almost Have It All
The Bachelorette Charity Lawson, 27, and Artem Chigvintsev went next, performing a Viennese waltz to Whitney’s best selling single I Will Always Love You.
‘It makes me think of my fiancé, Dotun,’ Charity said of the song during rehearsals.
‘Gorgeous,’ Billy said when they finished. ‘The storytelling is great.’
‘So classy, so elegant,’ Derek said.
The judges gave them 36 out of 40.
Classy dance: The Bachelorette Charity Lawson, 27, and Artem Chigvintsev went next, performing a Viennese waltz to Whitney’s best selling single I Will Always Love You
Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix, 38, performed a Paso doble with Pasha Pashkov to Queen Of The Night. Ariana shared in rehearsals that she had been juggling a lot with opening a sandwich shop and filming. Because of her high score in the last week’s show, Ariana didn’t have to perform in the dance off and was able to devote herself fully to just one dance.
The audience gave them a standing ovation when they finished.
‘You dominated that performance,’ Bruno said.
‘It was so clean and so sharp,’ Billy said.
The judges gave them an almost perfect score of 39 out of 40.
‘I have no words,’ Ariana said. ‘I’m speechless.’
Reality star: Vanderpump Rules star Ariana Madix, 38, performed a Paso doble with Pasha Pashkov to Queen Of The Night
Nearly perfect: The judges gave them an almost perfect score of 39 out of 40
No words: ‘I have no words,’ Ariana said. ‘I’m speechless’
With points up for grabs in the dance-off round, Clive Davis, 91, appeared on the show to share his memories of working with Whitney.
‘She just blew me away,’ Clive said. ‘I had honestly never heard a voice like that.’
‘Whitney’s legacy is her music,’ Clive said. ‘It will be listened to and studied forever.’
Whitney’s sister Pat Houston also appeared on the show and said Whitney would be ‘elated that you are honoring her tonight.’
In the dance-off part of the show, Alyson went up against Harry dancing the Rumba to One Moment In Time. The judges decided that Alyson and Sasha were the winners.
Close bond: Clive Davis, 91, appeared on the show to share his memories of working with Whitney
Next, Barry went up against Jason dancing the salsa to It’s Not Right, It’s Okay. Barry ripped open his pink shirt for the dance revealing his bare chest. The crowd chanted ‘Barry’ when he finished.
‘Barry, when I grow up, I want to be like you,’ Derek said. ‘That was astounding to watch and I loved it.’
‘Barry, skin always wins,’ Billy said.
‘I thought he is going for a Full Monty,’ Bruno said. ‘It’s going to be a night to remember.’
Barry shared his tactic.
‘Give it all, leave it all on the floor and have a great time,’ Barry said.
The judges declared Barry the winner of the round, giving them three extra points.
Xochitl went up against Charity dancing the Cha-cha-cha to So Emotional. The judges ultimately declared Charity the winner of the dance-off.
Dancing contest: Xochitl went up against Charity dancing the Cha-cha-cha to So Emotional
Sent home: The Brady Bunch star Barry Williams was eliminated despite taking his shirt off during his dance-off against Jason
Despite his epic performance, Barry and Peta received the lowest combined scores and the crowd chanted his name after it was announced that he was voted off.
‘This has been the most wonderful experience of my life.’ Barry said. ‘The support. The fans. The family. And everyone here had made this a complete delight from start to finish. I knew I won after the first night.’
Dancing With The Stars will return next Tuesday on ABC and on the Disney+ streaming service.
In 2006, season two contestant Romeo Miller withdrew from Dancing With The Stars due to an injury and was replaced by his father Master P.
Pro dancer Derek Hough during season six in 2008 pulled his neck during rehearsal and missed a week of dancing.
Derek during season seven also blacked out during rehearsal after tripping and landing on the back of his head.
Season seven also saw the departure of Misty May-Treanor after she was injured during practice and ruptured her Achilles tendon.
Rehearsal injury: Misty May-Treanor is shown with host Tom Bergeron in October 2008 as she revealed rupturing her Achilles tendon during practice on Dancing With The Stars
Brooke Burke also severely bruised her foot during season seven during camera blocking when she landed hard doing a front flip with pro partner Derek.
Susan Lucci during season seven fractured two bones in her foot, but remained in the competition.
Nancy O’Dell withdrew from season eight due to a torn meniscus, along with Jewel who fractured both her tibias just before the season premiere.
Steve-O also suffered a pulled back muscle during dress rehearsal in season eight and was unable to perform the salsa live.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay during season nine withdrew from the competition in week three after injuring his foot during rehearsals before the premiere.
Billy Dee Williams was forced to withdraw from season 18 due to a chronic back problem.
Early exit: Billy Dee Williams withdrew early from season 18 due to a chronic back problem
Season 21 saw two contestants drop-out midseason due to health issues with Kim Zolciak departing after suffering a mini-stroke and Tamar Braxton withdrawing after doctors discovered pulmonary embolisms in her lungs.
Pro dancer Mark Ballas during season 22 injured his back during rehearsal and was unable to perform for a week with his partner, UFC fighter Paige VanZant.
Pro dancer Sharna Burgess during season 23 injured her knee during rehearsal with James Hinchcliffe and was out for two weeks.
Pro dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy during season 24 suffered a calf muscle injury during rehearsal with Heather Morris and was replaced by dance troupe member Alan Bersten during a four-week recovery period.
Christie Brinkley broke her arm during practice five days before the season 28 premiere and was replaced by her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook.
Ray Lewis was forced to withdraw from season 28 after suffering three torn tendons in his foot during practice ahead of week three Movie Night. He re-aggravated an injury from 2010 while playing football for the Baltimore Ravens.
Stepping in: Christie Brinkley broke her arm during practice five days before the season 28 premiere of DWTS and was replaced by her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook
Country singer Lauren Alaina during Halloween Week of season 28 revealed that she’d been dancing with ‘four hurt ribs,’ having broken one during the first week of the show, and noting the others ‘don’t feel great’.
The Bachelorette star Kaitlyn Bristowe suffered an ‘ankle injury’ during week two of season 29, but still performed with pro partner Artem Chigvintsev. She later revealed during Disney Night that she was suffering from tendonitis and shin splints.
Pro dancer Cheryl Burke announced on September 26, 2021, that she had tested positive for COVID-19 before the second episode of season 30. Her celebrity partner Cody Rigsby tested positive for the coronavirus a few days later and they continued competing together, but dancing in separate rooms.
Coronavirus infection: Pro dancer Cheryl Burke announced on September 26, 2021, that she had tested positive for COVID-19 and her pro partner Cody Rigsby tested positive a few days later forcing them to dance in separate rooms
Olympic gymnast Suni Lee during season 30 also bolted after her performance on Queen Night to throw up, but rallied to stay in the competition.
Judge Derek Hough missed the season 30 finale after being diagnosed with a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and was replaced by his sister Julianne.
Pro dancer Daniella Karagach missed Elvis Night after testing positive for COVID-19 along with four crew members after the season 31 premiere in September 2022 on the Disney+ streaming service.
Selma Blair, who revealed in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, withdrew from the competition during season 31 due to ‘excessive bone trauma’ related to her chronic illness.
Valentin Chmerkovskiy missed Halloween Night on season 31 after testing positive for COVID-19 and Mark Ballas performed during the episode after missing rehearsal due to a ‘flare-up’ in his lower back.
Derek was scheduled to perform during the season 31 live finale with his fiancee Hayley Erbert, but she suffered a shoulder injury the day before while preparing and was unable to dance with him.
Pro dancer Artem during season 32 missed Latin Night in October 2023 after testing positive for COVID-19 and was replaced by pro dancer Ezra Sosa who performed with The Bachelorette star Charity Lawson.
Mira Sorvino during Disney100 Night on season 32 performed with her right wrist bandaged after she slipped while rehearsing and was injured with a sprain and possible fracture.
Pro dancer Daniella Karagach sprained her ankle before Music Video Night on season 32 and missed rehearsal while recovering before she performed with Jason Mraz.
Xochitl Gomez sprained her ankle during team dance rehearsal on season 32 after injuring the same foot while filming the 2022 Marvel Studios film ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’. She performed a tango the following episode with pro partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy during Whitney Houston Night and they had the first perfect scores of the season.
Bad fall: Xochitl Gomez sprained her ankle during team dance rehearsal on season 32 and performed a tango the following episode with pro partner Valentin Chmerkovskiy during Whitney Houston Night and they got the first perfect scores of the season