Tag Archives: “Dancing With the Stars”

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.

For Chynna Phillips, ‘DWTS’ Marks Reunion (With Chaz Bono) and Return to Show Biz

Chynna Phillips, Tony Dovolani ABC photo by Adam Taylor

“Dancing With the Stars” has marked a reunion for Chynna Phillips and Chaz Bono, who were thrown together as little kids due to their respective music super star parents.  “Interestingly enough, my mom and Cher used to be buddies,” recalls Chynna, daughter of Mamas and the Papas’ Michelle Phillips and the late John Phillips.  “I used to go over to Chaz’ house.  I have vivid memories of running around with Chaz as kids.  They had a huge, huge house.  I remember being taken a little aback by how grand the home was.  I remember Chaz always being kind and sweet,” she adds.  “We’ve been catching up, for sure.”

Of course, socializing is a side issue of “DWTS” for the beautiful blond Wilson Phillips singing star.  Chynna is making a declaration, via the competition, that she’s ready to turn her energies back to show business.

“I’ve been in Mommy mode the past 11 years, so to do this, I have had to literally retrain my mind.  It’s been sippy cups and drop-offs, and now it’s arm extensions and arabesques.  Oh, my gosh.  This is not where my head is at,” she says with a laugh. 

She also says, “I’m looking forward to resurrecing the Chynna Phillips brand, so to speak — singing, acting, maybe coming up with my own branding line of something in fashion.”  She notes that she and her Wilson Phillips band mates, Carnie and Wendy Wilson, have been doing some one-off dates of late.  Now she’s hoping they can put together a tour.  (“DWTS” viewers will soon see her dancing to Wilson Phillips’ first No. 1 hit, “Hold On.”)  Carnie and Wendy have been in the “DWTS” audience, cheering her on.

So has her family — husband William Baldwin, daughters Jameson and Brooke and son Vance.  Plus Michelle Phillips, and, soon, sister Bijou, she says.   

“I’m getting a ton of support from them.  Billy is Mr. Mom, doing the pickups and dropoffs, schlepping the kids to Los Angeles so I can see them a few times a week — which has really been helpful,” says Chynna, who is based in scenic Santa Barbara, about 90 miles away.  “They come on Friday and stay on the weekend, and I go up on Wednesdays.  It’s challenging, but you have to look at the whole picture.  It’s only 12 weeks.”

Chynna has another motive close to her heart in signing up for “DWTS.”  She wants to draw attention the plight of some 30,000 orphanis in Tijuana, Mexico.  “It’s super heartbreaking, how many are on the streets.  And then there are the ones that are in orphanages that are like baby jails, literally with cells.  They’re only let out an hour or two a day.”  She’s working with the Los Angelitos orphanage, raising money for a new 60-room dorm there.

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.”

‘Man-bassador’ Stacy Keibler Keeps Widening Her Range

Stacy Keibler

Stacy Keibler says she had a ball doing red carpet and backstage interview duty as Spike TV’s “Man-bassador” at its Guys Choice Awards of last week. So much so, she’d love to do more such chores.

“It was different to be on the other side of things,” says the famous WWE Diva-turned-“Dancing With the Stars” standout. “I had a lot of respect for the people on the red carpet and didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable with questions, but this was more laid-back. We were able to have a lot of fun.”

The leggy blond has two movies coming up: “Dysfunctional Friends” that she describes as “a dark comedy about a group of friends who’ve lost touch since college.  ” Their very wealthy pal leaves them a vast fortune — on one condition. “They have to live in a house together a certain amount of time. They’ve gone on with their lives. They don’t all get along. There are ego issues. My character is a gold-digging, kind of a little bit of an easy girl, I guess you could say, out for the money and the athletes.”

Stacy’s other movie is Hallmark’s “Fixing Pete” with Dylan Bruno and Brooke Burns. “Brooke and I play best friends. She’s a journalist who has to make over this guy. And I’m a supermodel, who, once she makes him over, falls in love with him.” The ladies were fast friends off camera as well as on, according to Stacy. “Brooke is such a fantastic woman. We had a great time every single day on the set.”

Chelsea Kane Happy for ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Support From Jonases, Kyle Massey

Chelsea Kane, Mark Ballas ABC photo

“Dancing With the Stars” competitor Chelsea Kane admits she’s feeling the physical and mental weariness that’s come with the high-pressure rehearsing and performing schedule of the show since March — including having to perfect three dances for tonight’s (5/16) installment with her pro partner, Mark Ballas.  “We’ve been pretty much having to learn a dance a day.  At this point, your brain doesn’t feel it can take in any more information.   And I know Mark has really had to dig to do the choreography; you feel creativly you can’t put out any more.”

But…

“All that being said, I’m definitely running on full adrenaline right now, and really feeling good going into this week,” says the blond Disney Channel sweetheart.

“I knew, coming into ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ that I had an extremely specific demographic and I knew so many viewers would have no idea who I was.  I was afraid no one would vote for me,” she admits.  “To be welcomed into the semi-finals makes me happy and proud.  I’m definitely out of my usual zone.”

Chelsea’s been getting abundant support from Disney Channel buddies.  As viewers know, her former “Jonas” cast mate Nick Jonas showed up last week.  She says she had no idea he was going to be in the audience.  “He just came all on his own and was sitting there, front and center, with my mom.  I know they have such busy schedules I never wanted them to feel obligated to come.  It really really warmed my heart to see him there.”  She also notes, “All the Jonases have been so wonderful through this whole project.  Mr. and Mrs. Jonas have been Twittering people to vote for me.”

Former “DWTS” contestant Kyle Massey was not only hand at a rehearsal to give Chelsea pointers, he’s been cheering her on from the audience — and “He’s sent me a slew of text messages:  ‘You got this.’  ‘You’re doing great.’  ‘You’re kicking butt.’  He’s my Number One cheerleader.  He definitely knows how it goes, and I think with Kyle, it’s always a great reminder to keep having fun and enjoying this, and make the most of the experience.”

The 22-year-old is self-effacing enough to have posted an old video of herself dancing “my usual way — the awkward wedding dance look” — on You Tube.  She says some of her long-time close friends surprised her by trying to talk her out of doing “DWTS” back at the beginning, “which kind of hurt.  They said, ‘Are you sure this is a good idea?  You dance like a robot.  You’re not sexy.  You’re goofy.  You bounce up and down like a toddler.’  Now they’ve come back and said, ‘We’re sorry.  We thought you were going to humiliate yourself.  We’re so proud of you.”  That’s right, Chelsea, make them eat their words.