EXCLUSIVE: Joey Fatone Reacts to Pro Dancer’s Exit From DWTS

Joey Fatone

Heavy Joey Fatone at '90s Con.

Joey Fatone opened up about his experience on “Dancing With the Stars” — and he also reacted to the retirement announcement of one of the biggest pro dancers from the celebrity ballroom competition.

During an appearance at ‘90s Con held at the Connecticut Convention Center on March 19, 2023, the NSYNC alum told Heavy that he was shocked to hear that Mark Ballas has permanently retired from DWTS. The pro dancer appeared on 20 seasons of the show and won the mirrorball trophy three times, scoring his final one with Charli D’Amelio during season 31 in 2022.

“I just ran into Mark Ballas two days ago,” Fatone told Heavy. “I know he just threw out the shoes, he just retired. And it’s weird to hear that, [to hear] him say that. It’s crazy.”

Days before Fatone’s ‘90s Con cameo, Ballas told E! News that with the “Dancing With the Stars” live tour now completed, he was ready to move on. “I started this journey when I was 21, 22,” he said. “This will be the last time you see me dance in this capacity. This is going to be my last dance.”

When speaking about Ballas’ future, Fatone noted that the pro dancer is “obviously doing more music and stuff like that.”

Fatone’s comments came as he told us that the “Dancing with the Stars” cast and crew are like a “tight-knit family.”

Joey Fatone Revealed His Biggest Takeaways From Doing “Dancing With the Stars”

Joey Fatone

HeavyJoey Fatone speaks at ’90s Con.

Fatone landed as the runner-up to race car driver Apolo Ohno when he competed on DWTS in season 4. He returned to the show for the all-star edition in season 15. Both times, Fatone was partnered with Kym Johnson Herjavec.

“There’s so many different things to take away from it,” Fatone told Heavy of what he learned from competing on the show. He added that some of the celebrity competitors “really find out about themselves” because the rehearsals for the competition are so intense.

“Because you’re with someone else 24/7 kind of going over the dances,” he said. “But you really start bonding with everybody, and the camera people that you’re hanging with, and it’s such a really nice, tight-knit family.”

Fatone added that he had a “great experience” on ”Dancing With the Stars.”

“It was just fun, it was just a blast,” he said. “It’s just weird to learn, you know you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? They tried to. And it worked, sort of.  This old guy learning to dance like that instead of doing hip-hop and more ballroom.…it was a whole other thing.”

“I just didn’t take it too serious, I had fun with it,” the NSYNC singer added. “It’s just one of those things, you gotta go in and have fun. I can’t be too serious. This is not my career. ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is not my career. Do I dance? Yes. Do I know my left from my right? Yes. But did I know ballroom? Hell no. I faked the hell out of it.”

Joey Fatone Showed Off His Boy Band Moves at ‘90s Con

Elsewhere during ’90s Con, Fatone showed off one of his boy band’s most iconic moves when he recreated the “Bye Bye Bye“ dance from one of his band’s biggest songs.

“This is the sway step,” Fatone said as he rocked side to side in a video posted by the Associated Press. “Every boy band that does this. But every boy band doesn’t do this… and then the bye bye bye,” he added as he waved his hand.

“Not many boy bands do that because they don’t like the song,” he added.

The 2000 song was one of NSYNC’s biggest hits, spawned by a music video in which bandmates Fatone, Justin Timberlake,  Lance Bass, JC Chasez, and Chris Kirkpatrick were portrayed as marionettes. The band’s famous, puppet-like moves were choreographed by Darrin Henson. The song hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was a top requested video on MTV’s “Total Request Live” for 25 days straight, according to Billboard.

READ NEXT: ‘ Kym Herjavec’s Twins Are So Big Now