Talk about hot! “So You Think You Can Dance” All Star and “Glee” performer Lauren Gottlieb found herself having to turn down the soon-to-begin “Glee” four-city live tour last week due to her overloaded schedule. And while she was making that decision, she was busy helping prep Katie Holmes for her dance performance over the weekend at the The Motion Picture & Television Fund’s “A Fine Romance” benefit on the Fox lot.
The super-talented 21-year-old wants us to know she considers Katie a terrific dancer. “I’m working with Tom as well. I can’t really talk about that yet,” she told us before the event. But she could say that the Cruises “are the most amazing, adorable family.”
Especially Suri. “She’s dancing on the side and I keep trying to teach her little things. [Holmes] likes it that she’s growing up sort of in-studio, thinking, ‘This is what you do when you grow up.’ She’s four years old and she talks like she’s older than I am. She’s so grown up already. She respects everybody and she doesn’t really cause too much chaos in the room.”
But getting back to her “Glee” decision – “I was kind of bummed,” admits Lauren, who plays a member of the rival glee club. “The dates probably would have fit, but I feel I know what is about to happen with ‘So You Think You Can Dance.’ You’ve got to be in the best shape ever, to be on top of it. I had the gut feeling that going out on the road and all that involves wouldn’t have been the best thing to do now, and I’ve learned to go with my gut. Still, I hated to turn it down. I hope I made the right decision.”
MEANWHILE: With the premiere of Season 7 of “SYTYCD” coming up May 27, Lauren expects to be caught up “24/7” as she and the other returning All Stars work with the Top 10 new contestants. “I’m stoked. I think it’s going to be totally amazing. We’ll be with the top five guys and top five girls only – the best of the best, training and really getting into it like a boot camp.” And, not unlike the pros on “Dancing With the Stars,” the All Stars “don’t get kicked off, which is a plus, and we don’t get judged.”
It will be demanding. “Just knowing how it was when I was on the show in Season 3, the pattern that we had with an 8 a.m. rehearsal for two hours, then going for wardrobe fittings and something to eat, and then rehearsals for anther dance number and then another costume fitting, all definitely with the same partner. Now all the All Stars may be dancing twice in one episode, but not necessarily with the same person.” Stay tuned.
NOT SO HARD TO SAY GOODBYE: Daniel Sunjata tells us that he’s certainly game to continue portraying Patricia Cornwell’s Wil Garano, since he enjoyed bringing the popular Massachussetts State Police detective character to life in back-to-back TV movies that aired last month on Lifetime. “But it’s just speculation at this point whether or not there will be more,” he notes.
The actor has been busy working on the final two seasons of “Rescue Me” as firefighter Franco Rivera. They’ll wrap for good this month, and “I wouldn’t even say I have mixed feelings about that. My feelings are very clear: I’m happy for the opportunity to do ‘Rescue Me,’ but I’m definitely ready to move on and show my range,” he says.
Sunjata, who attained his master’s degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, says his heart’s desire is to return to his acting roots. “It’s often been said that if your training is in the theater and you stay away too long, your acting muscles start to atrophy. If I could make the same amount of money on stage that I do on television or film, I would probably only work on stage.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster