Melissa Rycroft Discusses Winning the DWTS Title, Dance Experience, And More

Melissa Rycroft tells Pegasus News that she and Tony thought for sure Shawn and Derek had won Dancing With The Stars last week. They both had to take a minute and think “Is this really happening? Did this really just happen?” She discusses more about winning the title at the link, but, I thought this take was interesting about why she did the show for a second time. She also discusses “dance experience” and if that can help or hurt a person on Dancing With The Stars. See if you agree as I think she makes a great point. Just because a person has dance experience means that someone will win this show and it’s not just as hard and challenging for them. How many times has Heidi told us that?!

This was your second time on the show; why did you decide to compete again?

It took me a little bit to make the decision, because Season 8 for me was such a highlight. It was perfect — the stars aligned, and I knew at the time I was coming off of all The Bachelor hoopla, and so in my mind that was kind of what propelled me to the finals … I was hesitant coming in to the all-star season because I didn’t have that anymore. [I asked myself], what if I don’t have the audience behind me now, now that I don’t have the drama and this experience that was so magical just ends on a dead note? Ultimately, I went, “This was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and if you have the opportunity to do something like that again, why wouldn’t you?” So I just said let’s do it.

Do you think your dance background helped you at all?

I wish dance experience helped you on the show … you’ve got the athletes that are trained to perfect themselves … you’ve got the actors who can emotionally get into character, and then you have the musicians who can hear music in ways that other people can’t hear it. Sometimes in the competition, that can actually hurt you. You can overdo it, your body may not react the way it should, and that’s what I experienced … from dancing with the [Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders] … everything that I had known from that was wrong in ballroom, and it hindered that. Tony actually had to erase what I knew because I wasn’t coming in as a blank slate.

Heidi: This is a classy, classy girl. Tony take note. This was my favorite part of the interview:

In Season 8, you were edged out of the top spot by Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. How does it feel to come back in Season 15 and beat her?

As much as everybody would love it, there was no competition between Shawn and I. Shawn and I were actually very good friends this time around. We pushed each other; we picked each other back up. I’ll be honest I was happy to make it to the finals. The three woman that made it, to me — we were all winners walking in on Monday night to have accomplished what we did. To come out on top is an unbelievable feeling. Like I said, it still hasn’t sunk in, and I don’t look at it as “You beat an individual person” or “There was one group we were after.” It’s just it was amazing to be standing at the end of the competition as talented as this one was.

She had the right attitude, for sure. I’m thinking she was raised right. :-) She is right on target about the dance experience debate – the only thing I would add is that, while it can be a disadvantage, she’s not the only person who has that disadvantage. She frames it like “all these other people have these great qualities while I have dance experience which is actually a disadvantage.” I know what she’s saying, but that’s a tad simplistic. EVERYONE has an advantage of some kind, and I think that the only one that is greater than the others is likely youth. Of course, dance experience, being an athlete, being an actor – all those are going to have more advantage than, say, a stand up comic or a model. But Melissa falls into neither of those latter categories. Everyone also has a disadvantage, just like she did. Shawn had to work on her emotional connection, Kelly was so shakey a lot of the time, Apolo…well, I can’t think of any Apolo flaws, but that’s probably just me. ;-)