Dancing with the Champs
In the show, celebrities endure ballroom dancing boot camp with professional dance partners to prepare for the competition of a lifetime. After learning to foxtrot, mambo and jive, the 12 stars set out to impress judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman. The competition is fierce, and in the end, only one couple becomes the ultimate dance champions!
Host Tom Bergeron attributes the show's success to its sense of fun. "It is a reality show without a mean bone in its body," he says. "There's no bug-eating or backbiting or anything like that."
Judge Carrie Ann says she thinks the show inspires viewers at home. "I definitely think it's about watching people who we look up to and aspire to be like getting out there and trying something new and really going for it," she says. "They're way outside their comfort zone, learning something new."
"Everybody can share this show. It doesn't exclude anybody," Bruno says. "We laugh and have a bit of tension, but it is a great variety show."
Backstage at the Dancing with the Stars tour, Julianne helps Helio dust off his dance moves. "He is actually really coordinated. He picks up pretty quick," Julianne says. "The first lesson I ever had with him, I was like, 'Woo-hoo! We are going to do so good.'"
After a few practice sessions, Helio and Julianne are ready to take the stage! They cha-cha their way through their standout performance of "Love Rollercoaster."
Julianne says she knew Helio had a champion cha-chaer in him from the beginning. "He did so great," she says.
It's time for the reigning champs to face the judges, and Bruno says the duo hasn't lost its spark. "You two still have the power to light up the room," he says. "You smile, and everybody smiles with you."
In fact, they have so much chemistry, Oprah asks them the question on everyone's mind—are the rumors that they're dating true? "No," Julianne says. "Helio is one of my best friends."
After practicing their signature number, Drew and Cheryl are ready for the big show! "We dusted off the cobwebs, kicked off the rust. We are ready," Drew says. "We are coming to you, and we are going to blow the roof off the place."
Drew and Cheryl energize the audience with the show-stopping number that earned them a perfect score on Dancing with the Stars—"Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy."
"It feels like I haven't stopped dancing for a day," says Drew, who has performed in three tours with Cheryl since the season two finale. "Every time I get back out there and we do our jive and our tango, it just comes back."
Since her victory, Kelly and her dance partner, Alec Mazo, have a lot of catching up to do before performing on The Oprah Show stage. "I think nervous might be an understatement," she says. "I'm going to try not to fall for you. [But], I can't promise anything."
She has nothing to worry about. Kelly and Alec's freestyle rendition of "Let's Get Loud" comes off without a hitch!
Getting her groove back after three years didn't come naturally. "There was no muscle memory," she says. "Dancing muscles and regular muscles do not combine."
Emmitt and Cheryl's mambo is far from a disappointment! They wow the audience with their hip-shaking version of "Que Bueno Baila Usted."
When Emmitt first announced to his NFL teammates that he was going on the show, he admits they didn't have much to say. "Everybody was real quiet until it got to the finals," he says. Then the phone started ringing off the hook! "Calls from Steve Beuerlein. Mike Irvin came to visit. Troy called. Daryl Burke called," he says. "Everybody called with congratulations."
Emmitt has impressed more than just his teammates—he's become a favorite of the judges as well. "I just thought Emmitt was so amazing because he's a big burly manly man and he got out there and got his groove on," Carrie Ann says. "He really made it okay for big guys to dance."
Deneen wrote in to The Oprah Show because she is a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars. The celebrities' cha-chas, waltzes and mambos inspired her so much, Deneen even took up ballroom dancing lessons.
As Deneen perfects her dance moves during a class, Derek sneaks into the studio to deliver some news that leaves her speechless. "You asked to be transformed into a ballroom superstar. Well, I am here to do something about that," Derek says. "You and I are going to be doing a little one-on-one dance training because next week, guess what? We are going to be dancing on Oprah!"
"Oh my god!" Deneen says.
Was Deneen's Dancing with the Stars experience all that she hoped it would be? "Oh, it's unbelievable," she says. "I mean, truly it's unbelievable. I'm still pinching myself."
Priscilla Presley says she said yes to Dancing with the Stars because she's a huge fan of the show. "I think there's a little bit of a dancer in all of us," she says. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime, and I don't want to look back on my life and say, 'Why didn't you do it,' and then regret that I didn't do it. I think those chances when they come, you need to take them."
For Marlee, participating in the show is another way to communicate. "Because of being deaf, and knowing what dancers do, we do the same thing," Marlee says through an interpreter. "They use their hands and body. They make themselves understood that way and express themselves that way. It's like learning another language for me."
Some of the contestants are admittedly a little more prepared than others. "I think I might have made a horrible mistake," Penn jokes. "But I was born to dance. Look at me, Oprah, look at me—born to dance!"
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