Tag Archives: Mark Ballas

Jordin Sparks in Transition, Just Now ‘Discovering Who I Am’

Jordin Sparks segues from the New Kids On the Block/Backstreet Boys tour to a special engagement in Washington, D.C. this coming week, performing on PBS’s live “A Capitol Fourth” Independence Day celebration concert. (Check local listings.) Talk about a sudden change.

“It’s going to be so different — from the wardrobe to the audience to the stage. The thing that’s going to be the same is that I’m going to try to perform the best that I can,” says Jordin, who recently shed 30 pounds and is looking gorgeous. She’s singing “Beauty and the Beast” — accompanying a dance by Mark Ballas and Chelsie Hightower in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Disney animated classic. She is also set to sing the national anthem — one of the two most nerve-wracking performances she can imagine, she says, the other being a return to “American Idol.”

“I’ll be on the on the steps of the Capitol building, in our nation’s Capitol, singing the National Anthem on the day of our nation’s independence,” she points out. It doesn’t get much more American than that. The concert, hosted by Jimmy Smits, also features Steve Martin, Josh Groban, Matthew Morrison, Little Richard and Broadway’s Kelli O’Hara.

At 21, the youngest-ever “American Idol” winner (she won at age 17) feels her newly-svelte shape is part of a metamorphosis she’s undergoing that has to do with, well, growing up. “I’m just now discovering who I am and what I can do. It’s a transition. I’m coming into my own. I sort of have a different approach onstage now. The dancing, the choreography is definitely different from what I did last year,” she tells us. “It’s been really fun, discovering who I am and what I can do.”

Jordin Sparks I Am Woman

Her saucy “I Am Woman,” with its driving beat, is completely different for her, Jordin points out. It’s also completely different from the Helen Reddy feminist anthem of the same name decades ago. (Sample lyric: “It ain’t easy walkin’ in stilettos, but somebody gotta do it.”) Combined with the right video — one has yet to be made — it could capture the zeitgeist for the young 2010s woman in a big way. Jordin loves seeing girls get up and dance to it at concerts, as they have been.

She’ll soon take off on a string of one-off dates, then a Euro trip.  As for what’s next after that? “I did Broadway for a couple of months last fall — In the Heights. I loved it. I’d love to do Broadway again if the right part and story came along.” She’s also been working on her acting skills, and says, “I’d love to do a TV show or a movie.”

Shawn & Mark Declare Selves Friends for Life

Shawn Johnson & Mark Ballas“Dancing With the Stars” winner and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson tells us now that the ABC show is a memory, it’s back to gymnastics training for her. 
“I’m not sure yet what’s next,” says the 4’10” 17-year-old. “I’m going to get back into training and see where that takes me. For now I’m taking a little break and going on vacation, but also Mark and I are doing a bunch of events where we’re dancing,” she adds, referring to her on-air dance partner, Mark Ballas. “We just did a charity event hosted by Kristy Yamaguchi to help underprivileged kids. That was a lot of fun.” 
Ballas, meanwhile, says, “This summer is all about music for me. I’ve been a guitar player for 12 years so I’m playing with my band Ballas Hough Band. We’re going to go on tour,” Ballas says of his band with fellow “DWTS” pro Derek Hough
When asked if he’ll be back on “Dancing With the Stars,” Ballas responds, “If they ask me back for season nine, I’ll be back. It just depends on the cast.” 
For now, the duo is having fun celebrating their reign as dance champions. “I felt like we had a chance, but we were still shocked that we won,” recalls Ballas. “We had a great time from start to finish and we laughed a lot so I think that really helped with our partnership. Definitely we’ll be friends for life.” 

HARD CORPS: Dr. Drew Pinsky’s VH1 show “Celebrity Rehab” has commenced filming of its third season for debut in early 2010 — and he tells us already this has been one of the most challenging seasons so far. Small wonder. The cast is full of hardcore drug problem repeaters. “We’ve got a whole new batch. It’s intense. Some of these people are very sick,” Pinsky says of the celebrity patients including Mackenzie Phillips, Heidi Fleiss, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Rodman, Mindy McCready, Lisa D’Amato, Mike Starr of Alice in Chains, Joey Kovar from “The Real World Hollywood,” and Playboy Playmate Kari Ann Peniche. 

 

“We just had a bunch of alumni come back to help the new bunch confront their denial,” adds Dr. Pinsky. He believes celebrities are definitely more susceptible to addictions. “Yeah, I did some research on that and we were able to show very clearly that because of who’s attracted to becoming a celebrity, they tend to be more likely to become addicts.” 
While it’s very early on in their recovery process, for now Dr. Pinsky says they’re just trying to determine who’s there for the right reasons. “I think they believe that they can manipulate the cameras when they come in but we don’t allow that,” he claims. “We have to get the real stuff going or we have to kick them out. They either work or they don’t. This is a really tough group so we’ll see how they do.” 

HUNK ALERT: Kellan Lutz is already feeling the love thanks to his hit movie “Twilight.” Just last week he was pictured running with his shirt off while female fans everywhere drooled. So far, though, the attention doesn’t seem to be going to his head. “It’s more humbling than anything. It’s nice to have support from the fans,” says the exceptionally handsome one-time Abercrombie & Fitch model, who’s also in the 2010 reboot of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Lutz , who recently finished the “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon,” tells us that after a much-needed break, the cast will reunite again to begin the third film in the vampire franchise, “Eclipse,” in August. “It’s always great not saying goodbye. We have a lot to look forward to with shooting the new movies.” 

RACIAL REALITY: Casting is underway for “The Color of Love” with producers eager to find the ideal bachelor for the forthcoming reality show that can’t help but bring out racial contrasts. He should be 28-40, attractive, charismatic, full of energy, biracial — half black and half white – with a history of dating white and black women. And of course, he should be in the market for a meaningful relationship.

 

                                            With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster