Stephanie is a huge Derek Hough fan and went to the performance show last week. Her experience was made even more special thanks to Joanna Krupa who kindly invited her back to her trailer before the show. As everyone knows, Derek was sick last week but Steph had a great time regardless – she very kindly shares her story with us.
Steph and Keith’s DWTS Adventure
Keith and I had never been to L.A. before so we were really excited to go there. The whole reason for the trip was to see DWTS live, thanks to” DWTSClaire” who gave me her tickets that she couldn’t use and Donamadrina who also wasn’t able to go. Thanks again girls cause it was an AWESOME experience and I wish we could’ve all gone! We decided to go a few days early and make it a mini vacation for us so we got to L.A. on Friday evening. I won’t bore you with all the touristy stuff we did but I will tell you that Malibu is absolutely gorgeous and if you visit there you should definitely drive on the Pacific Coast Highway and go to the beach there! We went to a place called Paradise Cafe which I would recommend as well. :)
We stayed at the Elan Hotel which is a few blocks down from CBS Studios. Really nice hotel for a reasonable price but the rooms are not big. Great location though and seemed like a good area. So aside from seeing the usual Hollywood sites, we went to The Grove several times since it was so close and ate there and did some shopping. Very cool outside mall! We did see a few celebrities but not the all important one! LOL Yes, I mean Derek! ;) But, as you all know he was extremely sick and I didn’t expect to see him out and about. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t HUGELY disappointed when I realized Derek would NOT be dancing on Monday…..so I ate an enormous chocolate peanut butter brownie to make me feel better LOL and reminded myself that I have seen him dance live twice before and sing/dance 3 times as well as meet him so I shouldn’t be so greedy! :)
On Monday our check-in time at the gate was 3:30. We were going to go to Rodeo Drive before but ended up sleeping later and then I got on Twitter (no surprise, right?) and sent Joanna a tweet telling her I would be in the audience that night and was excited to see her dance. To my surprise she tweeted me back and said I should come say Hi to her before the show! Holy Crap!! So we tweeted back and forth and got it all figured out and she put our names on the list so we could see her in her trailer. We just needed to figure out where the trailers were! LOL Now we were even more excited about the show! Now, you aren’t supposed to bring a cell phone or camera to the show but I was like, I’m not going to go visit Joanna and NOT bring a camera so I talked with another fan who had been there before and she said they just put your stuff aside and you pick it up later. So off we went to Gate C6. Didn’t know where we would be sitting and they didn’t tell you either. So once we got in the gate you went to where you had to go through security. We then asked about where the trailers were because once you go through security you can’t leave the area. They told us the trailers were on the other side of the building but if we weren’t in our seats by 4:30 they would give them away. I don’t think they wanted us to go there but we were like this isn’t exactly gonna happen ever again so we are going! LOL So, we went to find the trailers and after asking a few more people finally figured out where to go.
Now I realize there has been no Derek in this story until this point but here it comes! LOL It is very brief though! We walk up to the check-in table and we are telling this girl who we are and that we are supposed to visit Joanna. As we are talking to the girl who is making sure we are supposed to be there, Derek walked up and heard us say we were looking for Joanna and said “Joanna”. Now, the last thing I expected was to see Delicious Derek standing on the other side of the table in front of me so I was quite shocked and just sort of looked at him and said “Hi”. Lame, right?! We were still trying to check in as well and she was giving us wristbands so I was thinking I would talk to him after we got checked in. Unfortunately, he had walked away by the time we got the wristbands and was talking to someone and although it wasn’t real far away it was far enough that I felt like it would be stalkerish (is that a word?) and rude to go up and interrupt him so we just went to Joanna’s trailer and I didn’t see him anymore. :( Of course I’ve gone over that scenario a million times and thought of a million different ways I should’ve handled that situation, but not much I can do about it now. Bummer, but still saw him and I must say he was looking gorgeous as ever even feeling sick!! ;)
Joanna was still in make-up when we got to her trailer but they told us to go on in and wait for her. I felt bad just walking in but we did and she came shortly after. While we were waiting for her, Keith saw Michael Irvin and said Hi to him. Joanna came and was soo sweet to us! She was like sit down, you want something to drink etc. The poor thing was supposed to be eating so I felt bad! Her PA had brought her some food and she said she was starving. She was still in her robe, (they all have robes with their names on them) and she had to still go to hair. I asked her if it was really different to switch from Derek to Maks and she said that it was because of their physical difference. Maks is taller and bigger build but she said Maks was great and their rehearsal went really well and she felt confident she knew the steps but she was nervous. We chatted for a little longer and we said we had to be back at the security check by 4:25 but she said she would have her PA just take us backstage to our seats. Cool! :) Then she had to go into hair so we got a couple quick pics and then she said I could leave my camera and cell phone in her trailer and just come get it after the show which was sooo nice of her to do! So her PA then took us to find our seats. As we were leaving, Donny and Kym walked past us and we said Hi. That was cool cause I loved Donny and Marie when I was little! :)
We went backstage to get to the set which was really cool but didn’t see anyone else. We then had to find our seats so we actually got to walk on the dance floor and found out we were sitting behind the judges about 4 rows back. Those were good seats especially for being on camera which our kids found totally AWESOME!! But, they actually weren’t so great for actually seeing the dancing because the judges table is in the way. So we had to sit and wait for a bit until showtime. Really interesting and cool to see what goes on behind the scenes and how it all comes together! Shortly after we sat down, a producer was talking to the people two rows ahead of us and telling them they would have to switch seats because the guy in the middle was too tall and needed to be on the end. They were OK with moving but the little old lady who needed to move in was totally NOT OK with it! They spent a long time trying to convince her to move and she was getting really pissy so they finally ended up taking people from another section and bringing them over and it was all fixed then. It was quite entertaining and I couldn’t really hear the lady’s argument but she wasn’t about to be moved for anything! LOL It was very interesting to see how they have to make sure that everything will look good on camera and be prepared to totally switch things around if they don’t.
The actual set is a lot smaller than it seems on TV. There is a guy who talks to the audience before the show and during commercials and tells us when to clap throughout the show. He stood in the audience and would give us a cue to keep clapping and you don’t stop until he stops. During commercial breaks he talks to some of the people in the audience and it happened to be the 16th B-day of one girl and DWTS tickets was her present so he was also giving away DWTS t-shirts and gave her one and decided to have the judges sign the shirt for her. He gave them a gold marker pen to use and before Bruno signed it, he shook the pen and gold sprayed all over him! There wasn’t much time until we came back from commercial so they were scrambling to get the gold off of him as much as they could! Make-up and hair people came out and cleaned him up as best they could and then Carrie Anne went over while Tom was talking and finished getting some off of his face! Very funny! Bruno is sooo spastic! In person he is just like he is on TV and I don’t think it’s an act! They also did a couple of pre-taped segments while we were there too. One shot was for the beginning of The Hustle and another was for Maks and Joanna to walk across the dance floor. The Maks and Joanna piece they used for Tues. night’s show. We also had to move out of our seats a couple times during commercial break so they could hang some lights for Donny and Kym’s dance. They didn’t want to risk the lights falling and hitting anyone.
When the actual show started it was very surreal to see all the people you watch on TV be right there in front of you! It’s really loud and you have to clap all the time so you miss what Tom is saying a lot of the time but just being there and feeling all the excitement is totally AWESOME! It really is hard to describe! It was very cool to see them dancing up close and you can definitely see the connection (if there is one) between the dancers more than on TV. I was so nervous for Joanna and I couldn’t see her stumble just could tell she had so I felt sooo awful for her because it was such a GREAT dance!! When I watched it later on TV, it wasn’t that bad at all but again where I was sitting I couldn’t see. Then it was time for the group dance. That was so much fun and great to see live! After that it was time to leave. We did have to wait for them to bring in the set pieces for Tues. show which I realized later were for the MJ Tribute. I still needed to get my camera and phone from Joanna’s trailer though so we made our way back there. When we got to her trailer her family was there outside and we chatted with them briefly but Joanna was going to be doing press for about an hour and I didn’t want to intrude on her anymore especially since she had the stumble cause I knew she was probably upset about it so we got my stuff and left. I hope that all made sense! LOL I must say if you have a chance to go to a live show definitely do it because it is such an AWESOME opportunity!! Now, of course I wish Derek had danced because it was NOT the same without him but it was still a really great experience and meeting Joanna was definitely cool! I want to say thanks to Jo again for being so sweet and taking time to meet with us when she had such a stressful week and going out of her way for us! You ROCK Joanna!! :)
I guess that about wraps it up! Hopefully it made sense! LOL We had a great time and I would definitely go again in a heart beat!! ABC needs to have a better way of giving tickets to people, especially those that don’t live in CA! We were still in town on Tues. and I would’ve LOVED to have been there for the MJ Tribute but didn’t know how to get tickets so we just watched it on TV.
Now, everyone needs to VOTE like CRAZY for TEAM DJ today!!!! Joanna deserves to be there and in the finals!! She is such a hard worker and a really good dancer and I don’t think people realize what it took for her to be able to pull that Tango off w/Maks in only a day and a half!! GO TEAM DJ!!!