Carrie Ann Inaba On The New DWTS Cast, Judging, And Her Animal Rescue Work

Dancing With The Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba describes her excitement for the new cast at USA Today. She’s worked with Gladys Knight before and is excited to judge her. She’s really excited to see Jaleel White dance as well, but, she intends on staying neutral. More in a take below….

The DWTS judge and Knight have met previously. “I worked with her once before on a small show called American Juniors,” Inaba says. ” And I choreographed with her before so it will be interesting to sit on this side of the table. On the other show, she was the judge and I was the choreographer.”

Who else is Inaba looking forward to seeing? Well, everyone really. But “I’m very excited about Urkel (Jaleel White). I watched the cast announcement with the rest of America — from home — and the way he came out on stage: I just thought ‘Wow, this man has great stage presence.’ And he’s very confident so I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to seeing Maria Menounos and Sherri Shepherd who’s wanted to be on the show for so long and has talked openly about it. And I’m very happy she’s finally on our show.”

But just because she is excited about participants, viewers shouldn’t think Inaba is going to play favorites. “Before the season, I try not to do any research on anybody because I think it’s better as judges for us to remain as neutral as possible which is difficult to do these days with the media the way it is. … I try to stay neutral and once I hear the names, I try not to really think about it,” she tells USA TODAY. “People come up to me on the street all the time and want to engage with me and tell me their thoughts and I try not to listen because I don’t want to go in with any sort of notion on who’s going to be good or who’s not going to be good. Everyone is pretty much on fair playing ground until they hit the dance floor, and I see for myself.”

Also, Carrie Anne has been doing a lot of promotions lately for Pet Adoptions and animal rescue. This is a cool segment she did for Access Hollywood. has a cool article up as well. Below is a quote and one of the pictures. Be sure to read and see more at the link. So sweet….

Working with networks of animal rescuers has “made the biggest difference in my life,” Inaba says. “I go to bed crying sometimes, because you can’t save them all, but it’s also so uplifting because you can go to bed knowing you did something. We try, and I feel good about that.”