This is such a cool and touching new interview with Valerie Harper and Tristan MacManus with AARP!! Valerie talks of why she decided to dance on Dancing With The Stars with her health condition. Her message, “If somebody asks you to dance don’t sit it out. Dance!!” Tristan talks of how lucky he is to get to spend this time with her and more. I’m tearing it up again.
So last Wednesday, we took a look at the male contestants’ dancing pasts. Today we’ll take a look at the women, who are arguably less talented (and more comical) this season
First up, we have the much buzzed-about Sherri Shepherd, who, aside from possibly taking some lessons at Dance with Me prior to the start of this season, also busted some moves in a choreographed hip-hop number at her wedding reception:
Court: She’s not stellar, but she’s keeping up pretty well – and paired with the extra practice she’s gotten prior to the show, I’d say she has a pretty good foundation. What’s funnier to me about this clip is Elizabeth Hasselbeck – poor girl sticks out like a sore thumb in line
Heidi: Heh. When the women are dancing it’s like “Dancing with America’s Next Top Model” they are so stiff. Thank god for the men – they’re killin’ it.
Vogue: I sure hope Big Bird isn’t around as he might want to steal the wedding bride?
The verdict: Sherri may have some hip-hop moves, but it looks like Val’s got his work cut out for him!
Now let’s take a look at Maria Menounos, who got an impromptu belly dancing lesson during a segment on Access Hollywood:
Heidi: :::whines::: Derek gets ALL the dancers. She’s such a ringer.
Vogue: Hmmm, I’m afraid for Derek now a little. Is anyone else?
Courtney: I think this clip just reiterates for me that her biggest obstacle likely won’t be the dances themselves, but just getting over feeling like a goober when she dances – you can tell she feels totally silly here, and it makes her look even more ridiculous.
The verdict: D’s on goober patrol this season.
Up next, we have Katherine Jenkins, who did a number from Carmen during her arena tour that involved some dancing:
Vogue: She’s got some dance skills for sure. What’s more, girl knows about theatrics and how they work. Mark is theatrical in his dancing as well. He’s going to be in heaven with this one.
Court: If she can overcome the potential fanbase problems I could see her having, she could be pretty good – hell, this dance even looks vaguely paso doble-y.
Heidi: Okay, so why is no one screaming “ringer” over this one? The Opera Singer does some actual dancing. Then again, odds are that Mark won’t focus on her in the choreography so it won’t matter.
The verdict: Opera or no opera – Katherine could actually be kinda good.
Let’s move on to Gladys Knight, who admitted during the cast announcement that the Pips “never let her dance”! So admittedly, there really aren’t any videos of Gladys dancing…but I will never turn down the opportunity to listen to the Empress of Soul herself belt out the song that made her famous – “Midnight Train to Georgia”:
Courtney: I doubt the Pips would have taught Gladys anything truly worthwhile that would help her on this show I mean, side-tap, other side-tap, walk backwards, walk forwards, gesture with your arms. I’m pretty sure an orangutan with ADD could probably do it. But I’m nonetheless excited to see what Gladys has up her sleeve
Heidi: Er, well, sure me too…keeping in mind this video is probably from 30 years ago.
Vogue: When Gladys is finished with Dancing With The Stars, she’ll be able to trade places with her back up singers. Nice moves!!
The verdict: Gladys may not have learned much from the Pips, but she could still be a contender.
Up next, we have this season’s “tough cookie”, Martina Navratilova – and I must admit, I think I found the perfect video for her Why? It’s very ironic…just watch:
Heidi:I certainly admire the thought behind this video – Martina trying to keep people on the move and active. But dancing?? A bit stiff. But then, that comes with age, especially for top ranked athletes.
Vogue: Martina is going to be fierce. I have a feeling when she gets the hip movement down for a Samba, she won’t need a racquet to play tennis anymore.
Court: Ok, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’m not sold on Martina being as fierce on the dance floor as she is on the tennis court. And in this clip, she actually doesn’t seem all that enthralled by dance to me – you could replace “dance” with “colonoscopy” and it would make more sense for me But she does seem to have the right philosophy – even if it was scripted. But check out the dude in the background…he’s cracking me up!
The verdict: Not sure about Martina, but the dude in the background LOVES to dance!
Last up, we have Melissa Gilbert, who is best known for playing Laura “Half Pint” Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie. Here’s a cute clip of the episode where she stole Nellie’s music box and danced to it in the hay loft…although I doubt it played Adele:
Vogue: I’m utterly speechless. At this point in time, I’d say Maks (like Derek) is in trouble as well.
Court: Granted, this clip is older than the hills, and I’m not sure that pioneer girls really had a whole lot of slick moves to bust. But it’s cute, and it’s the only remotely dance-related clip of Melissa I could find
Heidi: Heh, this could be one of those times that growing older is helpful.
The verdict: With age comes wisdom.
Steve Czabon of Yahoo Sports Radio interviewed Martina Navratilova. She and Tony will be rehearsing where she lives in Aspen, Colorado this week. They talk of her tennis accomplishments. She recalls her 74 wins in a row, etc. and her commitment and will to “prepare”. She says “winning” hasn’t been as important as “always doing and giving her best” which she plans to give to the dance floor. She would rather ‘play well and lose’ versus ‘playing lousy and win’.
Martina mentions Chris Evert and says she wouldn’t have been as good of tennis player without her and vice versa for how they “pushed” each other at the time. Chris was also one of the first of her friends to tweet and text her to tell her she was ‘a brave woman’ for doing Dancing With The Stars and wished her luck.
On why she decided to do Dancing With The Stars, Martina says the show has been asking her to dance for a number of years and Martina always said “no”. She’s always loved to dance, but, in heels and in front of people was one of her greatest fears. As an Ambassador to AARP, she’s always encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone and facing your fears, so she decided to do the same (“walk the talk”) and be an example by finally saying “yes” to Dancing With The Stars.
Martina also raves about Tony Dovolani in the interview and how fantastic he is. She’s “embracing” everything about dancing on the show …even the heels.
As for the other cast members, she thinks they are all terrified and the playing field is pretty even.
So far, Martina and Tony have been rehearsing 3-4 hours a day for 6 days a week. She discusses the differences between dancing and playing tennis so far.
Lots more of this super interview with Martina here.
Personal note: It’s interesting she and Tony are rehearsing in Aspen, Colorado this week. Let’s just say, living and training in “higher elevations” can have it’s advantages when it comes to sports, etc.
ADDING: By the way, Howard Stern made a recent crack about Martina wearing a suit instead of dress on Dancing With The Stars. Below is how she replied. From USA Today. I’m loving this…
The tennis legend has responded with a tweet that may further pique Stern’s curiosity.
“I hear my favorite radio guy Howard is wondering whether I will wear pants or a dress,” wrote Navratilova. “Howard — expect the unexpected!!”
Navratilova also addressed the general expectation that she won’t perform all that well: “So I hear I am the underdog for winning dwts. Been a while since I’ve been an underdog, but that’s cool. We will be ready come the 18th!”