The Reader Interview: Carrie Ann Inaba

August 30, 2012 at 9:30 am , by

Image Courtesy of ABC/Adam Taylor

Every month an LHJ reader will get the chance to interview one of their favorite celebrities. This month, Linda Jacob of Prince George, Virginia quizzes Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba about grading the dancers, her BFF Bruno, and more.

Has the audience reaction ever made you change your opinion of a performance?

There are so many elements that go into a score, and the audience’s response is a big one. After all, a performance is for the audience, so if the audience doesn’t like it, I can’t give it a great score. The other elements that go into my scoring include technique, musicality, their chemistry and the way it all looks.

Who would be your dream partner if you were competing on DWTS?

My dream partner would, of course, be none other than Len Goodman himself. He’s the king of ballroom, and I would settle for nothing less than the best, and that would be Mr. Len Goodman.

Most people don’t know you started off as a singer. What is your singing style like?

I have a voice that’s like Sinéad O’Connor and Karen Carpenter mixed together. And when I write music my style is country/folk, kind of like Tracy Chapman. I like simple ballads and songs that tell stories because I was raised in Hawaii, and in Hawaii all the songs are like folk tales and tell stories. I’m actually getting back into writing again, so it’s nice. I play the piano and the ukulele and I’m learning how to play the guitar.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Always be better than your last job. Also, you’re always going to have to audition, so don’t get used to success—I learned that from Gregory Hines. When I was studying choreography at the University of California, Irvine he came in to speak with us. It was after he had done White Knights, and he was a big star. He was somebody I totally looked up to and I imagined he had this incredibly fancy, easy life, but he told us that you’ll always have to audition, and each job does not lead you to the next job. In every audition since then I’ve always tried to be better than what they expected from my last audition.

Who would you rather get stuck in an elevator with, Len or Bruno?

Definitely Bruno Tonioli. He’s like my brother from another mother. And he’s very entertaining. When we did Dance War together, we formed this unbreakable bond and I know that he’ll be there for me in any way, shape or form. Len is sort of an old-fashioned guy. I don’t know that he’d do much to help get us out of the elevator, but I think between Bruno and I, we’d find a way out, and if not, we’d have a great time being stuck!