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I wasn't surprised that Lance came in third, actually. It is all fan base-related and I think that Warren had so many people voting for him. I think he created a bigger fan base for himself during the show because he's so funny and kind of cuddly-looking. His personality was very big.
Getting ready for the tour is coming along very well. There are a lot of logistics to deal with before starting the actual choreography. With something of this magnitude, there is a lot of work to be done. Costumes might have to be altered depending on choreography. Everything has to be together. It is a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work too. The producers of the tour really wanted something different. Louis had been doing the show for the last three tours, and this is something I wanted to do and I want my choreography to be as different as possible. We have repeat viewers who have come to every tour. We're trying to turn a new page. It is an experience for me and something that I will take away for my future ventures.
People are curious why I shaved my head. I actually did a couple times before, but I always did it when the season was over to rehabilitate the follicles. There's been a lot of negativity this season surrounding the show and the cast with injuries and that kind of stuff. I did it so I could feel more liberated. It is one of those therapeutic things. I got a lot of very mixed reviews about it. My friends love it. Mom was like, "Oh, I want the hair back." I'll let it grow after this. Right now before the tour starts there is a lot to think about. The last thing I want to think about is how my head looks. So the perfect solution was to shave it off.
I'm not sad about Cloris leaving this week. I'm happy for her! She lasted longer than anybody expected. To compete at her age, at that level and have that much fun is amazing. At 82, she's funny and witty and sometimes silly, but that's what she's all about. She enjoys life. I think the show won't be as much fun without her. But it is a dance show and the best dancer should win. She was clearly not the best dancer. She was fun. I think it was the first time that the public let somebody go with so much respect.
As for all the injuries, I think there is a jinx this season. I'm just kidding. The dancers have been going strong and working and the show and tour and tour and show... after a while it takes its toll. The celebrities have also stepped it up so much. You can really see the difference in this season of dancing. I was watching videos of the first season I was on, which was season 2, and the way we danced then and what was praised to be one of the best dances on the show probably wouldn't be considered as good now. The level definitely changed. I think the celebrities are coming in as stronger dancers. I think because they stepped up the game and the level, that injuries are a lot more likely to happen.
In other news, I've been offered to choreograph the Dancing with the Stars tour. I'd been offered it before but I turned it down because I had a lot of opportunities to do projects that I wanted to work on. But doing the winter tour now is nice because it's not as big as the summer one. So it's not as time consuming but I think it is a good experience and a notch on my belt, so to speak. I'll know how a traveling tour is organized and what goes into all the aspects, like how to handle the cast and people in each city. I think it is going to be a good experience for me. And an addition on the resume to go with Le Reve and other stuff that I've done.
I thought that Warren was amazing this week. Kym is being very smart with him. She looks amazing and moves well and she choreographs around him so that it is his show. She's found what he's great at and they are doing it over and over and over. I could point out five or six moves that they've done in every Latin dance so far, and there's nothing wrong with that. The public loves it, they are doing them well and if it's not broken, why fix it?
I'm not surprised that Cloris is still around and Rocco is gone; she's such a character. We had Billy Ray Cyrus for six weeks, we had Master P for like five weeks. Much as I love him, we had George Hamilton forever. We always have a character who has staying power because of their popularity or personality or whatever other "ality" you can find. I think that's what makes the show. She's hilarious. This woman is a show in and of herself. You have no idea what goes on backstage and how she is without cameras. I think every time she goes on in front of the camera, there are five production people with their metaphorical finger on the button because you never know what she's going to come up with next. She's like that all the time. All the time. She's out of her mind... in a good way. She's a lot of fun to watch.
It's been all emotional this week with Misty's sudden injury, but I guess it's the nature of the show. You never know what can happen. Injuries in the ballroom world are very common. We've all been through a lot of injuries. I personally dealt with my own share of twisted ankles and sprained ligaments. Nothing like this, of course. This is big and unfortunate.
Misty had her surgery Tuesday. She's going to start her rehab as soon as she can and I guess nine months from now, which is what the doctor estimated, she'll be back to normal. It's a long rehab, but it's a big deal. When people were speculating on what [the problem] was and we weren't able to tell anybody what was happening yet, somebody saw her walking out of the hospital on crutches and they were like, "She broke her ankle." And I'm like, "Yeah, if only she was that lucky." It would be a much easier procedure.
A lot of people have been saying I was too tough on Misty this week. Too tough? I'm not sure, because you guys get to see a minute and a half of produced footage of three days of practice. So that's my defense. If everything is nice and calm and quiet then we'd come out with something that sort of resembles Paso and you guys [the fans] would go, "That was really bad." We have to leave the personalities at the door and really do whatever it takes. Because we don't have a lot of time at all. What came out in the package, I'll admit, looked a little rough. I'm trying to change that this week, not because of that, but because of the dance that we're doing. I'm trying to show people that this was not me just being an asshole -- it was because the dance required a certain amount of confrontation and a little bit of anger too. The paso is a fight. It's a battle. Especially in this particular case.
If I came across too strong, it wasn't meant to be negative. It was more of a tough love kind of thing. Misty understands things under pressure. She reacts better under pressure. She's a professional athlete. Same with Maurice and Warren. Take Warren Sapp: he plays American football for a living. He's a grown man getting paid millions of dollars and has gotten yelled at by coaches for his entire career. At some point, athletes' psyches are constructed in such a way that they almost don't respond to a gentle, nice approach. If you saw that HBO Special Hard Knocks, which shows what really happened behind the scenes at the Dallas Cowboys camp, you see how these men are being trained. It is kind of the same thing. I did not do this with Mel, but I was the same way with Laila. It is whatever works. I think this week, if you guys watch the footage, it is going to be completely different. A 180. It isn't because I am trying to fix something, or that I think the audience didn't like "Mean Maks," it is because we're doing the jive. It is a lot of fun and light and outgoing and that's exactly how I'm going to portray it. In order for me to do that, I have to create an atmosphere that matches the steps with the right kind of feelings.
The first week was exhausting. There was a lot of standing and waiting for results. This whole process on Tuesday of being on stage and finding out if you're safe, then going off the stage and coming back on the stage. Then going backstage again. Just that walking process. I'd rather be dancing. We've never had that format before. And if you are not necessarily with the lowest score, but you're being drawn out of a hat to perform last you're standing the entire two hours and then have to dance right away with no warm-up.
I'm back on the show this season, after taking a season off. Last winter I opened another dance studio, then I traveled a lot for both business and pleasure. This summer my brother and I sat down and said, "You know what? There are a lot of things we want to do that we never got a chance to before like hiking, white water rafting, rock climbing." So this summer we'd go and camp out somewhere. We had a big list of things and we got to do a lot of them. So it was a very cool summer. Then I rehabilitated my body. You know, after 24 years of dancing at one point you have to take care of yourself. My knees started to tweak and shoulders started to hurt. So I went in and worked a lot with my therapist and fixed everything up. I'm not going to say I'm an old man, but now I feel like I did ten years ago.
Now I'm getting geared up for the new season of the show, with my partner, Olympic beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor. I'm really excited just because she turned out to be a really cool person and somebody really easy to deal with. She's very not Hollywood-like. This one is fun.
I watched her on the Olympics before I knew she was going to be my partner. But then when I found out, I was looking at it differently. I was nervous when they played the Chinese team. Like there's no way they can lose. I want to dance with an Olympic gold medalist not silver.
Everybody I speak to says, "Oh you lucked out because you have an athlete." And then at the same time they go, "Oh, you have an athlete like a beach volleyball player. She's the furthest from dancing as you can be." I'm going to sound as conceited as I possibly can, but this is where I come in and help the situation. The point of the show is that hopefully whoever signs up to do it doesn't have any background in dancing. And I think this season all the celebrities are pretty even as far as their abilities and talent is concerned.
Everyone is going to be surprised by Misty. She practices nonstop. When she gets what it's all about she starts to criticize herself. And this is something I have to tell her. I was like, "Listen there is only one critic in this couple. Because with the two of us criticizing everything we wouldn't last. I mean you have to give yourself a lot of credit, which you deserve, and let me criticize you." I know how to play up her strengths and not her weaknesses. If she doesn't know how to do this, or how to do that, or if she doesn't know how to do a split, that's fine. There's a bajillion and one other things we can do that make her look good.
The last couple of days we've been bumping into other couples, whether we come to the studio and they're leaving, or we're leaving and they're coming. Everybody is friendly and we're all like, "Hi. Nice to meet you. Show us your mambo and we'll show you ours." And from what I see, Misty is doing so much better than some of the people that are "supposed to be" good.
I'm not necessarily looking at it as a competition though. I think Lance is supposed to do amazing. I think Susan Lucci is going to do pretty well. And I think she is such a loveable popular persona on the show that she'll go far. I also think that Maurice Greene is going to do amazing. Cheryl Burke and I are very close friends and we all went out together and Maurice danced for about four hours. He's got moves. Cheryl will play up to his strengths too. She knows how. Cheryl says that Maurice is like Emmitt Smith but younger and a lot more fun. She won with Emmitt. So it's good.
For me it is more about the experience though. I remember the first season on the show and how uncomfortable everything was and it was a bit weird to have the camera in rehearsal and following me. I think that's why Mel and I had so much fun. Because I was finally cool with everything.
So I mean how can you top having that much fun? You can't. This season there's going to be Misty and Maks fun instead of Mel and Maks fun. I'm just having fun and I want people to be happy Maks is back and I don't want to disappoint them.
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