Tag Archives: Karina Smirnoff

J.R. Martinez Had Prescient Words About Winning Over Public on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

J. R. Martinez, Karina Smirnoff ABC photo by Adam Taylor

Whether or not J.R. Martinez wins the Mirror Ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars,” he’s already accomplished something no contestant has before — a spectacular rise from comparative unknown to America’s Celebrity Sweetheart practically overnight.  Last week alone brought the Iraq War veteran, who overcame devastating burns incurred in a land mine explosion, the cover of People magazine, endorsements from Justin Bieber and David Arquette, and designation as the 2012 Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses Parade. 

How different things look now from the beginning of the season in September, when all the talk was about Chaz Bono, and there was speculation that J.R. might turn into the sacrificial lamb, i.e., he who gets axed from the show in the first week so the better-known stars can avoid that humiliation.  (Remember Mike Catherwood in Season 12?  You don’t?  Case closed.) 

As Sugar Ray Robinson once said, “To be a champion you have to believe in yourself when no one else will.”  Well, when we spoke to J.R. prior to his first week of competition, he was full of praise for his rivals, including Chaz — and confident in himself, too.  Even though he was keeping an overcrowded schedule of dance rehearsals and speaking engagements, J.R. was full of smiles and easy charm.  He wouldn’t think of canceling his commitments without enough time in advance, he said.  “Motivational speaking is very important to me.  I want to help a lot of people, and reach as many as I can.”  He also good-naturedly tackled questions about being the least-famous competitor:  “I’ve got a lot of people rooting for me.  Burn survivors, military personnel.  I feel like I’ve got great chances.

“I know when people find out who I am and get a whiff of who I am, people are going to gravitate toward me and relate to me,” he added presciently.   “I know one thing:  I’m committed.  I don’t know if the others are working as hard as I am.”

J.R. and professional dance partner Karina Smirnoff scored the first perfect 30 of the season with their dreamy waltz on the Nov. 7 show.

J.R. Martinez Talks ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Chances, Chaz Bono, ‘All My Children’

Karina Smirnoff, J.R. Martinez ABC photo

Even though J.R. Martinez is well aware he’s not as well-known as his fellow “Dancing With the Stars” competitors, the Iraq War hero/motivational speaker/”All My Children” actor points out that “I’ve got a lot of people rooting for me.  Burn survivors, military personnel.  I feel like I’ve got great chances.” 

(Martinez proved that point last night, when he and partner Karina Smirnoff tied for first place with Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani after their first dances — and Martinez became an instant favorite.)

Burned over 40 per cent of his body when his Humvee hit a land mine in 2003, Martinez has been playing a role that mirrors his own story on the daytime drama that has its final airing on ABC Friday (9/23).  He says it’s been “an emotional rollercoaster.  The day after they announced the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ cast for this season was the final day of shooting on ‘All My Children.’  That last day was tough.  It was a hard day.  But they’re all true professionals, and everyone there was pulling for me.  Even though we knew it was the end, everyne was tyring to maintain themselves in a good light.  It was nice for all of us to be together, hold each oather and hug each other and cry.  But I’m so grateful for this opportunity.  One thing in life ends, another begins.” 

He doesn’t know yet whether he’ll continue with his role when “All My Children” moves to the internet — or even whether it will actually make that much-talked-about move.  No one knows.  “It’s still being negotiated,” he points out.

Meanwhile, there’s “DWTS” — the Chaz Bono season.  Martinez is quick to note, “I think Chaz is holding up pretty well, handling it pretty well.  I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, and he’s a good guy, from what I see.  The thing about this season is, it’s so diverse, there’s something for everyone.”

Aaron Carter Wants Pop Star Pals on Michael Jackson Tribute Record

Aaron Carter
Aaron Carter

Aaron Carter reports he’s had “so much great feedback” on his “Follow You to Heaven” song in honor of his late friend, Michael Jackson – “and I haven’t even finished the record yet.”

 The pop singer started work on “Follow You to Heaven” as his way of dealing with Jackson’s death in June, and posted his early recording sessions on line.  Now, he wants to turn the song into a bigger memorial. 

 “I’m just waiting to hear back from some friends, and, you know, get some other people on the record with me,” he tells us.  “It’s for Michael, most importantly. That’s what the record was for, out of respect for him.  I would love to get Beyonce on it, my brother and the Boys on it — anybody who’d be interested on this record,” he adds, referring to elder sibling Nick and The Backstreet Boys.

 The 21-year-old former phenom is currently spending around five hours a day training for his forthcoming stint on “Dancing With the Stars” with his partner, Karina Smirnoff.  The hit ABC show, premiering Sept. 21, could give his career a needed jolt.  He admits he winds each day exhausted, but when asked if it’s all-consuming, he says, “You’d think it would be, but I’ve been able to work on my album, on my music.  It’s been really great.  It’s been so busy, but I love to be busy.”

 He has a jacket Michael Jackson gave to him “around for luck.  He gave it to me, you know, just as a friend and someone who appreciated what I did in the music industry and vice versa.  I’m very lucky to have it and it will remain in my family.”