Tag Archives: Louis Van Amstel


Louis Van Amstel relished working on a full-on samba with Tamar Braxton for last night’s (10/12) “Dancing With the Stars” switch-up week performance — but the popular pro says he welcomes getting back to the rather different challenge of dancing with his partner of this season, 68-year-old Paula Deen. He certainly has his reasons. For one thing, he and the Georgia-based foodie have struck up an off-beat friendship. That’s real chemistry the twosome have been showing, ever since their introduction, when Paula planted a surprised Louis’ head upon her ample breast.

There are other kinds of chemistry besides romantic chemistry, he points out.

He’s quick to add that Paula “has come furthest of the older group” of this year’s contestants. “There’s a change in her demeanor, from nervous to less nervous. She’s gone from screwing up big to screwing up less big.” Not surprisingly, Louis disagrees with Gary Busey’s complaints over his axing from the competition two weeks ago, when plenty of viewers anticipated Paula getting cut: “I don’t think it was unfair. He went out exactly where, in my opinion, he should have gone out.”

The other, probably most important reason Van Amstel is happy to be teamed with Paula this season is that it’s a perfect promo for his LaBlast Dance Fitness program. LaBlast Dance Fitness is seven years old now, complete with DVDs, online options and trained LaBlast leaders doing his thing all over the country.

“I really do better with someone like Paula, or Kelly Osbourne, than someone like Tamar,” he says. “My last seven years have been about teaching people to dance and convincing people who don’t think they can dance that they can — people who have to lose a lot of weight, I want to support them. When they see me dance with Tamar, they say, ‘That’s great, but I could never do that.’ When they see me dance with Paula, when they see her transformation, they say, ‘Maybe I can do that too.'”

Paula has lost more than 40 pounds. Osbourne shed 35 in her transformation.

 Van Amstel is hoping to induce more women and men who wish to lose weight and get into shape with his ballroom dance-based program via his Oct. 21-starting “Dance the Pounds Away With LaBlast Fitness” DietBet.com challenge. Participants will have a chance to win money by losing weight via his LaBlast program over four weeks.

Helping people get in shape and get healthy has become much more than a side activity for Van Amstel. It’s now a mission.

‘Dancing With the Stars’ Pro Louis Van Amstel: How Mean is Too Mean?

Louis Van Amstel

“Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis Van Amstel weighs in on the current flap over whether the show’s judges — especially Bruno Tonioli — have been, well, too darn mean this season.

“They have been on a roll before.  I don’t really see it as a problem,” says the Dutch ballroom champ, who was paired with Margaret Cho this season.  “We’re stepping into a competition that’s about judges judging you — so you have to be ready for whatever they say.”

On the other hand, “Sometimes they’re rude and forget these celebrities are not dancers.  They’re people who come in and work so hard, and put their hearts on the line.  So, yeah, they could be more human about it.”

Van Amstel, who’s already been eliminated from this season’s competition, is focusing on is varied other activities, including “announcing my website for my dance program (dancingwithlouis.com), which is now selling world-wide.”

‘Dancing With the Stars’ — Celebs With Dance Backgrounds Pretty Much Sure Things

Niecy Nash Comedy Central Photo

With Niecy Nash and Louis Van Amstel having been eliminated from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ competition last week, we can’t help thinking about Van Amstel going to lengths to stick up for contestants with dance backgrounds when we talked to him about the controversy over mixing trained and untrained competitors at the start of the season.

‘I have always defended the dance-trained celebrities. In the end, they may have the advantage with the judges, but they also have more pressure…Those who don’t have the dance training, people root for them because they’re the underdogs…You need the good ones to give the audience something to watch while the others are learning,’ he said.

Sure, but three of the four remaining celebrities happen to be those three that had dance experience prior to ‘DWTS’ — Olympic Gold Medal-winning figure skater Evan Lysacek, one-time cheerleader Erin Andrews of ESPN, and Pussycat Dolls leader Nicole Scherzinger (who Van Amstel singled out as a super strong prospect when the season got underway, and who’ll likely win). Only Chad Ochocinco remains of the previously untrained. did the others ever really have a chance?

HELLO AGAIN: Glad to hear that director and one-time ‘thirtysomething’ star Melanie Mayron is taking the reins of ‘Mean Girls 2’ –a direct-to-DVD follow-up to the big-screen Tina Fey hit. This one has a storyline about a high school loner befriending a misfit whose father happens to be rich enough to pay her to do so — and the two outsiders facing off against the nasty but popular girl who leads the crew that makes their lives miserable. Casting is underway.

Alex O’Loughlin: No Dirt on Jennifer Lopez From Me

Alex O'Loughlin

There are two things you’re not going to hear from hunky Aussie actor Alex O’Loughlin.  One is whether or not he wears a suit and tie as the new Steve McGarrett of CBS’s updated “Hawaii Five-0” series.  The other is anything negative about his “The Backup Plan” leading lady, Jennifer Lopez.

Given that the Friday 4/23)-opening romantic comedy is a big screen Big Break for the former “Moonlight” and “The Shield” actor, and we’re seeing his handsome puss all over billboards and buses, it would be pretty surprising if he dissed La Lopez, who has been notorious for her diva ways in the past.  But he goes so far as to tell us, “It’s surprising to hear it mentioned as much as I have because she was perfect — on set, and off.  It’s difficult to imagine the woman I know and worked with fitting this description.  I found her selfless, always thinking about the people around her.  Professional. A great, hands-on mother as well.  If you’re looking for dirt, you’re not going to find it here.”

O’Loughlin notes that Lopez had her two-year-old boy and girl on the set of the feature, in which she plays a single woman who decides to have a baby via sperm donor, only to fall in love when she is already pregnant.  “I didn’t know her before the twins, so I hesitate to guess, but I would imagine that this is the final element in her life that makes her the woman she was destined to be.  Children are the ultimate definition of who we are as humans, after all,” says the single actor.  “She’s amazing.”

He’s finding his current whirl “surreal” – and admits he gets a bit homesick.  “I feel like I’m always away from my family.  I spend more money on travel than anything else, flying around the world to see the people I love or bringing them to me.  Sometimes I wish I had become a banker or a builder to keep me in one spot.”

If the new “Hawaii Five-0” – for which the pilot has already been completed – does indeed get picked up for fall, he plans to commute between L.A. and the islands.  As for differences between the vintage Jack Lord-starrer and his version, O’Loughlin says, “It’s interesting going back, looking at it now.  The original show is pretty dated.  We’re doing a much more contemporary show.”

And his wardrobe?  “I’m not telling.”

OFF-BALANCE:  “Dancing With the Stars” pro ballroom dancer/choreographer Louis Van Amstel weighs in on the recurring complaint over pitting contestants with dance know-how against raw newcomers.  “I have always defended the dance-trained celebrities,” says Van Amstel, who previously worked with names including Lisa Rinna and Kelly Osbourne, and this season is teamed with funny lady Niecy Nash.  “In the end, they may have the advantage with the judges, but they also have more pressure from the audience because everyone knows their dance backgrounds and expects more of them.  Those who don’t have the dance training – people root for them because they’re the underdogs.”

Still, it has to be intimidating for Niecy and the other untrained dancers to go up against Olympic Gold Medal-winning figure skater Evan Lysacek, one-time cheerleader Erin Andrews of ESPN, and Pussycat Dolls leader Nicole Scherzinger.  “Nicole is hot, hot, hot and so good at what she does,” appreciates Van Amstel.  He adds, “You need the good ones to give the audience something to watch while the others are learning.”

GOOD FANS TO HAVE:  Dean Norris has garnered a fan following among cops, thanks to playing Hank Schrader, the DEA agent brother-in-law of Bryan Cranston’s methamphetamine-dealing ex-science teacher character on “Breaking Bad.”

“We have cops on location and they’re always coming up tome and talking.  These cop magazines have asked me to write little pieces for them,” notes Norris, who also has a series of “Cop Talk” satirical videos on the internet that he made with a couple of cop buddies.

So it will be interesting to see what kind of reaction he gets as this season continues to unfold, with Hank undergoing changes.  “The first couple seasons of ‘Breaking Bad,’ Hank was more of a comedic character.  They established him as a blowhard, funny guy.  This season, they’ve definitely taken him to the dark side.”

And it’s been demanding.  Notes Norris, “Bruises are definitely part of the gig.”  That was especially true when he shot the episode in which “I got to mix it up with Keith Jardine, the famous Mixed Martial Arts fighter – he and I got to tangle.  He’s a super nice guy but there’s an aura about him that he could decide to punch you in the head and knock your brains out.”  What did he think of Jardine’s performance?  “I thought he was good,” says Norris.  “He didn’t have to say a lot.”  Yep, getting one’s head slammed on the floor doesn’t require much acting technique.

BORDER CROSSING:  Shawn Ashmore – Iceman to “X-Men” fans – is getting ready for “Mariachi Gringo,” an indie flick about a guy who feels “stifled by the complacency” in his small town, per casting notices.  His solution: setting off for Mexico to become a member of a Mariachi band.  Amy Madigan is also in the movie, along with Martha Adriana Barraza.

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

End it

Kelly Osbourne Transformed by ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Says Louis Van Amstel

Kelly Osbourne photo dailyceleb.com

Kelly Osbourne photo dailyceleb.com

“Spiritual” and “inspiration” are words many people would not attach to Kelly Osbourne.  But that’s bound to change once Season 9 of “Dancing With the Stars” gets underway Monday (9/21) — according to her partner on the show, Louis Van Amstel.

 “I’ve seen that girl change in front of my eyes in every single way,” reports the three-time world champion ballroom dancer, who’s been working with the 24-year-old member of the Osbourne clan for just two and a half weeks. 

 “Physically, apparently she’s already lost 14 pounds.  Emotionally, well, she came in afraid of doing it and wanting to overcome her fears.  The girl came out of rehab only a year and a half ago,” he reminds, referring to Osbourne’s addiction to prescription pain medication.

 He believes that audiences will see “the real Kelly Osbourne” once they view her in action.  He describes “a spiritual side, and also a little bit of therapy” coming to the fore as rehearsals continue.  “It’s inspiring, being part of that every single day, seeing her change.  I don’t want to see that change stop – it’s going to be not only therapy for her, but also a tool to inspire a lot of people.” 

Louis Van Amstel ABC photo

Louis Van Amstel ABC photo

 Does she believe that?  “She’s starting to believe, slowly but surely.

 “Dancing is so close to the soul, whatever baggage there is, dancing will bring it out,” adds the Amsterdam native, “and I’m the one – I don’t call myself a teacher.  Sometimes you’re a therapist, sometimes you’re the bad guy, sometimes you’re like brother and sister, and sometimes, depending on the dance, you pretend to be in love.  It’s so much more than dancing.  It’s mind, body and soul.”

 Make no mistake: the well-known Kelly Osbourne personality is also in evidence.  He reports there’s been a lot of cursing going on during rehearsals, too. 

 “I’m European.  I love that feistiness.  She says whatever is on her mind.  We do a lot of fun bickering.  She calls me ‘Mein Fuehrer’ and I say, ‘Bring it, b—-.’  Our package is PG-13 because of the language.”

PEACE AT LAST: Lisa Niemi must be feeling some consolation from the love pouring out in memory of her husband, Patrick Swayze.  This office alone has had calls and emails from industryites and fans as well as other members of the press; people seem to want to share their stories of the man.  

Patrick Swayze in "Ghost" photo Paramount Home Entertainment

Patrick Swayze in "Ghost" photo Paramount Home Entertainment

Along with his performances and his gutsy fight against cancer, Swayze should also be remembered as of a thoughtful star who seemed to try his best to be good and do good.  Before he became ill with pancreatic cancer, we recall his behind-the-scenes push to put together an eco summit in Africa to, well, quite literally save the world.   He wanted, he said, “to see if it’s possible to put together a think tank of the greatest brains in the world and get a 1-2-3 sequence of things we need to do — now.”  He once said that whenever someone raised the issue of racism, he made it a point not to get defensive, but to use it as an opportunity to search within himself for any shred of prejudice and then to root it out.   What a legacy.

It’s a sad week in Hollywood, as we also say goodbye to Variety’s columnist of so many years, Army Archerd, and to Larry Gelbart.  The great wordsmith, whose credits included “M*A*S*H” and “Tootsie,” was one of the most brilliant and witty talents ever in these parts, and was nevertheless gracious and down-to-earth.

Jolene Van Vugt MTV photo

Jolene Van Vugt MTV photo

REVVED UP:  Professional motocross rider Travis Pastrana is back for a second season of his MTV stunt show “Nitro Circus,” and his pal and fellow rider Jolene Van Vugt says get ready for some of their most outrageous antics to-date.  “We tried to do our best to be at least as good as season one but obviously we want to be better so we’ve tried to top it.  We’ve got dirt bikes, cars, anything with motors and wheels coming back.  We’ve also added some airplane and helicopter stunts.  I think everybody’s going to be pretty happy with season two,” claims Van Vugt, who tells us she’s gotten a ton of feedback from women since doing the show.  “I get a lot of really nice, inspirational emails from young girls who say that I’ve inspired them to start riding or mothers that say their children have been inspired by me in some way.  If you can just be yourself and be an example that someone can look up to, that’s the ultimate compliment.” 

 BE AFRAID:  “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss has certainly made a name for himself in the world of reality television, but he tells us he’s been putting a lot of his attention into making horror films as well.  “I’ve always loved horror films.  As a kid, there wasn’t any reality TV.  I didn’t grow up on reality TV, but I certainly grew up on horror movies,” says Fleiss, who is working on a new horror movie franchise and has already produced such flicks as “Hostel” and the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”  “I always dreamed of making horror movies and to be able to do it now and have it be successful is a wonderful thing.”

 With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster