Tag Archives: “Dancing With the Stars”

Chelsie Hightower Talks Racing, and Racing Around With Helio

Life has been, well, racing along for “Dancing With the Stars” pro Chelsie Hightower and her celebrity partner, three time Indy 500 Champion Helio Castroneves.  The duo not only prepped for this week’s debut shows with four and five-hour rehearsals over the past several weeks — they did their dancing betwixt and between Helio’s races.

“We were in Florida for a week, got back and then went to Fontana (CA) for the very last race of the season,” she reports.  That gave Hightower the chance to see Helio’s Indy Car world — and shoot some lively B-roll with the camera team that followed them around, in addition to practicing.

“Everybody’s going to be pushing the boundaries.  I think everybdoy wants to come out and see something they haven’t seen before,” notes the 23-year-old Latin ballroom champ, speaking of the just-launched All Star season in which past winners and near-missers are going head-to-head for the coveted “DWTS” Mirror Ball Trophy.

As far as how she and Helio plan to push those boundaries?  “I want to give them something they haven’t seen from Helio.  But I can’t give away my secrets,” she says with a smile.  She also says that the winner “has to have the overall package, to put on a performance for the whole nation that gets the votes…Helio was on my short list of celebrities I wanted to work with, definitely.  He has such a charismatic personality.  I was super excited to have him.  He obviously wants to show he has the chops, and he also wants to have a great time while we’re doing it.”

With six “DWTS” seasons already behind her, the beautiful blond dancer is thinking beyond “DWTS.”  For me at this point, I kind of have to see what is the smartest thing for me to do that will set me up the best for the future.”  Yes, she’s thinking of acting prospects, and has had some interest in that regard.  “The most obvious thing is to build up my brand, so that’s what I’ve been doing with endorsements and promotion.”

Tony Dovolani Finds Melissa Rycroft is Like a New Partner

            Melissa Rycroft has changed so much since the eighth season of “Dancing With the Stars,” her pro partner Tony Dovolani says, “It’s like dancing with a new person” as they prep for the all-star 15th season that launches Sept. 24.
            “She’s married now and has a child.  She has a better attitude than last time. She even likes different music,” reports Dovolani.  “DWTS” fans will recall that last time, the popular “The Bachelor” contestant and “Bachelor Pad” cohost came in with just two days to prepare, subbing for an injured Nancy O’Dell, and wound up making it all the way through the season in a third place finish.
            Melissa takes daughter Ava to her daycare/school, then she and Tony rehearse from 9:30 to 2:30, when she leaves to pick up the tot, according to Tony.  “She hasn’t neglected  her child at all,” he says — and they still log intense rehearsal days.
            Family man Dovolani is the perfect guy to understand her need to split her time.  He has a seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old twins, a boy and a girl.  “At seven o’clock in the morning,” he tells us, “the music goes on in my home and we dance.”

Cloris Leachman Talks ‘DWTS’ Redux: ‘I Insist On Coming Back’

            In case you haven’t heard, Season 15 of “Dancing With the Stars” will be the show’s first season of returning celebrity contestants.  Well, get ready, because force of nature Cloris Leachman tells us, “Oh, I insist on coming back!”

There is a catch, though.  The 86-year-old performer, already the eldest among the “DWTS” stars when she competed four years ago, reminds us that “When I did it, I had a bad knee, and they would give me a shot in my knee.  I had about three, and it’s not good to have too many of those shots.  So I had a knee replacement after the show was over for me.”  Now, says Cloris, who made it through six out of ten weeks before being eliminated from the show, “My knee is still sensitive and it doesn’t bend all the way as my right knee does.  So I’m sorry about that, but I want to go back and finish the last four!”

She laughs her wild laugh, then archly declares, “I must be there, that’s all there is to it.”

In fact, Cloris — who notes that ABC has a viewer poll concerning which stars should come back — says she is spending part of her time between filming seasons of Fox’s “Raising Hope” working on getting back into her best physical shape.  That way, “I can be ready for anything.”

Does she have a particular regimen?

“I don’t like the word ‘regimen,’ so no,” Cloris replies.  “I like to find out the latest thing in any department, and then I like to try it, no matter what it is.”

She also has parts in two movies coming up to shoot this summer (“The Home” horror flick set in chiller, and a drama that may get a title change) and another couple of films awaiting release (“Gambit,” “Adult World”).

And then there’s the talk of chances that her performance as the outrageous, only occasionally lucid Maw Maw character on “Raising Hope” might get her more Emmy attention.  Cloris already has nine Emmys, the most of any actor, out of more than 20 nominations — but says her excitement about the awards hasn’t diminished at all.  In fact, she feels it “more than ever.”

She also says, “If I have nine, why not ten and make it an even number?  It would be easier for everyone to remember.”  But seriously, “I’d be thrilled out of my mind.”