'DWTS' Pros Emma Slater and Sasha Farber Explain Why Married Pros Will Be Separated This Season (Exclusive)
By Desiree Murphy
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Emma Slater and Sasha Farber are beyond excited to compete for the mirrorball trophy again, but admit things are going to be a lot different this season!
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the married Dancing With the Stars couple -- along with fellow pros Jenna Johnson and Val Chmerkovskiy and Daniella Karagach and Pasha Pashkov -- are being asked to live apart during the duration of production for season 29. ET spoke with Emma and Sasha just hours after Monday's official pro announcement, where they candidly discussed how they feel about all the new safety procedures, Tyra Banks stepping in as host and more.
"Everybody needs this right now. It's such an uplifting show and we're so incredibly proud to be part of it," Emma told ET. "But it's so funny. When our amazing producers told us, 'OK, so we have some news for you, you're going to have to be quarantined separately,' I laughed. I was nervous, so I just started laughing. But we came to the executive decision that I would be the one moving out because..."
"She would burn the house down. All my flowers would die, the dog would die, the house would be a mess," Sasha joked. "But it's really important to do these things and it's great that producers thought of this. There's lots of things happening -- masks, social distancing -- and this is one way of making sure that everyone's safe, strong and the show goes on. Because we need this show!"
Emma said that in all seriousness, however, it is going to be "really weird and really hard" not being able to see her husband every day. The two tied the knot in March 2018 and have been living together ever since.
"Normally, during a lot of Dancing With the Stars seasons, either I'm traveling or he's traveling, but we still get to see each other on Sunday or Monday," she explained. "This time we will, but it might just be from across the ballroom."
"He does stress me out a little bit ... but it's going to be hard because we are best friends," she continued. "I know that we're going to have each other on speed dial all the time. Even living together right now, being in each other's faces 24 hours, we still manage to call and text each other a lot. It's really weird."
Sasha and Emma confirmed to ET that they'll be living apart for however long they make it in the competition. Emma also told us that the temporary move is happening real soon; as in, she's leaving this Thursday!
As for how rehearsals will work, the two explained what behind-the-scenes changes fans can expect to see when the show returns next month.
"So much of the show is just human connection and interaction. But now when we rehearse throughout the week, we can't go into each other's rooms. We usually do this 'show and tell' where we sit down and watch each other perform, give each other notes," Emma explained. "Now we can't have that, but it's going to be different because the cameras are going to be in the room with us the entire time. Like, you and your partner are going to have everything recorded, and I think the things that are going to come out of that are going to be hilarious."
Sasha chimed in, telling ET that he thinks some of the changes producers have planned for this season may even stick around after the pandemic is over.
"They're pretty cool [changes]. There's so many little things in the mix that are full-on game changers. When we heard them we were like, 'Oh, why didn't we do this before? This is going to be epic,'" he teased. "Unfortunately we can't say too much, but they've really found the best formula for this show to happen. I think this is definitely going to up the show, definitely up the dancing and the effects. And definitely make people want to watch it to see, like, 'Oh, wow, that's how that happened."
"We're going to make history this season," Emma added. "I think it's going to be different in how we dance with our partners, too. Are we going to do closed contact a lot of the time? There was a discussion, like, is it going to change the way we think about dancing? It's going to be really creative, keep us on our toes and there's going to be some fresh new looks."
"We've got some incredible pros this season. Shout-out to Daniella, and massive shout to Britt Stewart. Woot, woot!" Slater exclaimed. "Everyone's going to be trying really hard to just pull out the stops, and I think it's going to be really unique. And I'm hearing that the celeb cast is going to be phenomenal."
Not to mention, with Tyra on board as host (following Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews' exits this season), the energy in the ballroom is sure to be "next level."
"Oh my gosh, I'm such a fan!" Emma raved. "She's so incredibly well-known, talented and beautiful. She's Tyra, you know? We have never met her but I think she's going to bring this incredibly high-class energy."
"We're actually going to be meeting her in a virtual tea party in a couple hours," Sasha added. "So we're all really excited! She's got big shoes to fill but she's going to do an awesome job."
Dancing With the Stars returns Monday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. In the meantime, tune into Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday for more from Sasha and Emma's interview.