Carrie Ann Inaba’s Season 16 Dancing With the Stars Blog: Week Five

April 16, 2013 at 5:39 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

I woke up this morning after a restless night of heartache for the suffering and pain that was caused yesterday by the Boston Marathon bombing, and I don’t think I was alone in that state. Yesterday was a very sad day indeed and my heart continues to go out to all of those affected by this incredibly cruel act of disrespect for human life. For all of us at Dancing with the Stars, there was a strong feeling of duty for our fellow human beings. At about 3:00 p.m., just two hours before show time, there was talk of pre-empting us due to local news coverage. But in the end, they decided that people needed to be able to change the channel from the coverage for their children, to have something else available on the television set to lighten hearts and ease people’s minds, if only for short while. I think it was a good decision. Some people may have needed a respite from the heaviness of the news and the questions that have once again arisen about our safety.

Yesterday our vulnerabilities were once again exposed in a tragic act of someone or some organization. We don’t know who did this yet. But my stomach churns to think of a mind that would come up with such a terrible creation of destruction and pain that hurt so many innocent people, people who were at the finish line to support their loved ones and cheer them on in their most challenging hour. May God bless all of them.

I pray for their suffering to be eased by the love that is pouring out to them from everyone across our country. Social media and the internet have become important tools in times of crisis. I’ve found that when someone is troubled, Facebook and Twitter provide wonderful platforms of support. When a family member is sick, or has passed on, the support that is given via tweets and Facebook posts is truly comforting and life-changing. I know this from my own experience, but I certainly saw it yesterday and it’s a beautiful thing. Sure, some people use the platform to spread hateful words and anger, but the love overpowers the negativity. That’s what is so incredible about the human race. We have found a way to make computers, technology, and apps tools of humanity. Yesterday, the tweets and posts were so uplifting and helpful. There were updates, photos, videos, places for people to stay, support and valuable information being shared non-stop. People helping each other… that’s what I saw yesterday both outside and inside the ballroom.

What happened in the ballroom yesterday is tiny compared to what happened in America, but I hope that it helped to lift the hearts of those who watched us yesterday despite this terrible situation we’re in. But we’re in it together, and we each can play a part. We can do something to help those who’ve been hurt by the bombings, both emotionally and physically. It’s our duty as human beings to do what we can to help our fellow human beings in their time of need. And each act of kindness and generosity helps to heal our own hearts.

I want to thank all the dancers for putting their hearts into their dances and giving so much of themselves. Ali is from Boston and had wonderful words to say about where she grew up. Our first two tens of the season, by Val and Zendaya, were dedicated to the Bostonians. There was a strong feeling of camaraderie amongst the crew, cast, audience and everyone who is a part of our show. We all knew we had to do our thing and that “the show must go on” for everyone at home who wanted a friend to sit with in their living room for a few hours, to take their mind off of what was happening. It seems strange to say, but there was more joy in the ballroom last night… there was more light and more vitality than I’ve felt in a while. I think that opening number was incredible. I wish they would do that every week; it added so much energy to the show. It was like a black pleather shot of liquid vitamin B—nothing but energy. It was a performance that celebrated our strength, vitality and never-ending determination. We all know that what happened yesterday isn’t going away and is now a part of our history. We will not forget this, but we will not let it stop us either…the dancing will continue and remind us to celebrate life.

That’s all for today. May you all be safe and celebrate life!

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Season 16 Dancing With the Stars Blog: Week Four

April 10, 2013 at 2:48 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

I think this week had two of the best shows we’ve produced in a long time. The competition show was filled with uplifting and inspiring performances as well as reminders of who our contestants are outside of the dance floor. It’s exciting to be reminded of their accomplishments. And then there was Andy Dick, who has captured so many of our hearts. His deeply moving performance to “Hallelujah” for his daughter was a real moment of magic. He went completely into his heart center and with the newfound elegance, posture and grace that he has worked so hard for with Sharna, he transported us all to somewhere deep into our own heart centers. I have never received more tweets and responses about a performance and how it touched people. A lot of men were also crying along with us, and that’s beautiful. To come into this competition not knowing anything about dance and then, in four weeks, be able to give us all a true moment of profound, intense and honest emotion is incredible. This is what dancing is all about. For me, dance in its truest form is about self-expression, movement to tell a story and inspiring people.

I was hit hard by Andy’s performance because of the recent loss of my father…it was the cry I haven’t really had yet, and it was really unexpected. I went four weeks without crying in public. I felt good because I had just gotten back from Hawaii and had a magical experience sending my father’s ashes back into the ocean, letting his physical form truly return to the earth from which it came. I felt peace and joy for all the beautiful memories he created, for all the laughter I heard and for all the love that was flowing. Andy’s love for his daughter was so beautifully expressed in his dance that it was a trigger for all of us.

Most people are so busy now. Our lives are packed with emails, texts, keeping up with our jobs, family responsibilities and Facebook friends that we don’t live with our hearts out front as much as we used to when things were simpler. Life is moving at a tempo that at times can feel out of control and overwhelming. Andy’s performance in particular reminded us that life is about magical moments. We have to stop and look up from our phones and computers to notice what is happening all around us. We need to slow down and take a moment to breathe in the joy and sadness and beauty that make up our lives.

I’m so grateful and proud to work on Dancing with the Stars because of these special moments that change the lives of our audience. With movement to music, we were able to open so many hearts, but it took great courage for that to happen.

To not be the best dancer, yet still go and pour every ounce of your being into something in front of millions of people with fear and trepidation is something to be applauded and applied to our own lives. To move forward with the fear you feel in your heart is the essence of living a full life. It’s strange to some that a dance could mean so much, but that is why I’ve loved being a dancer my whole life. The ability to touch people and get lost in the dance is a moment of beauty, and I wish for everyone to find those moments in their lives in whatever it is that makes them feel that way. This theme was evident in our results show with our courageous dancer Brilynn Rakes, who danced with Derek. She also proved that life is about facing fears courageously and she too inspired many with her dance and her courage. I also grew up legally blind but the doctors were able to correct my vision with contacts and glasses, so I understand how she sees the world. In fact, I was inspired when she said that because she couldn’t see very well, she had to rely on her emotions and how things felt. She taught me something—now I believe that is why I also honor my own emotions so much, because my sense of sight was diminished. And every morning when I wake up it’s still diminished, but I wear contact lenses and have perfect vision with them in. But at night, I love when I take out my contacts and just see the world hazy, and blurry, which some might consider a handicap. Brilynn proved that it is actually her advantage and it’s made her the beautiful person and dancer that she is.

Thank you to our producers and crew for making TV that inspires us, to the band for creating the music that is the foundation for all of the performances, and to everyone who works on our show so tirelessly. We have the most amazing staff and today I celebrate and thank them for making moments that we will not soon forget.

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Season 16 Dancing With the Stars Blog: Week Three

April 3, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

This week’s prom theme took us all down memory lane. It reminded me of the good times back in Hawaii, growing up in those beautiful islands, surrounded by wonderful people, dancing out on the deck of our house and dreaming that one day I would become a dancer. I had great parents who let me pursue my dreams and supported me 100 percent. They also challenged me to be a better person, and I hope that this show—and our prom week—did that for our contestants as well. I hope everyone had the chance to walk down memory lane and smile, remembering the good times and chuckling at the awkward moments that happened along the way to adulthood.

I have to say, I really enjoy writing these blogs. Although the conversation is kind of one sided, it feels like I’m sharing with my girlfriends. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts with you each week. And as far as the dancing goes, well… I thought all of the performances last night had plenty of color and personality, and it feels like this season has a lot of heart. I also think the addition of the Jazz and Contemporary routines brings a new element to the show. There’s less mandatory technique in those dance styles, so we’re seeing some really creative approaches to showcasing the stars by our talented pros. For me, this season is revitalized and exciting and I really hate to see someone go home.

But someone has to get eliminated, and last night it was Wynonna Judd’s time to go. I wasn’t prepared for her early departure; I guess I thought she had a strong enough fan base that could save her. Sometimes I think the fans assume their favorite is safe, and maybe that’s what happened here. I was really hoping we would get to see her blossom and have a break through next week, but ultimately we need to remember why she joined the show. She had been through so much with her husband, supporting him through such a difficult time in his life, and then she had the courage to do something for herself. To me, she was a winner the moment she walked onto our dance floor. So many women get caught up doing everything for everyone else. I can relate to that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I’ve also been taking care of a lot of people for a long time, and it’s hard to remember to do things for ourselves. I applaud Wynonna for having the courage and strength to take her life into her own hands after giving so generously of herself for so long. She should be very proud of her choice and we should remember what she did. We’ve had two very courageous women go home so far, but they’re still very inspiring.

Who knew a dancing competition could be such a life changer? But it is! People’s lives are changed by our show; they learn new things about themselves. Watching Wynonna thank her country music fans with what seemed to be an even deeper appreciation of their support was a very poignant moment. And in turn, when we watch these moments, we learn new things about ourselves. That is television at its finest.

Have a great week and take care of yourselves. Treat yourself well.

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Season 16 Dancing With the Stars Blog: Week Two

March 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

I began this season with cautious excitement. I honestly hadn’t heard of many of the stars and had no idea what they would be like. Last season we had some incredible dancing and we knew everyone because it was the all-star season. But this time around, we’ve gone back to the heart of the show, which in my opinion is transformation. There is transformation on so many levels on our show and I love it. We transform our views and ideas of the stars as we watch them go through an intensely challenging ten-week competition. There’s also the physical transformation for every celebrity that dares to battle for the mirror ball trophy. And of course, there is emotional transformation of their spirit in the process of this soul-baring competition. And I think that’s what gets people hooked on the show.

This year we have some really fun personalities and I’m already excited to see them come back and perform their next dance. I think this season will be remembered as the season with heart. Everyone has room to grow. This is not feigned. It’s real and true, which makes for exciting TV.

Two of the biggest transformations so far are those of DL Hughley and Andy Dick, two comedians who have been through a lot and experienced many challenges in their lives. They were both so genuinely excited and relieved to be safe, you could see how much it meant to them, and that shows me how genuinely hard they’re working.

While I have flashed more “6″ paddles than I usually would at this point, I think our contestants are all very special. They have large personalities and their performances are bright and filled with energy and charisma. They all need to work on their technique, but there’s still an enjoyable quality to their performances. It’s refreshing.

Last night, when Dorothy Hamill suddenly decided to excuse herself from the competition—yes, that was a real moment—I was shocked. But then I was very impressed. In this day and age where we’ve all become so competitive and driven to succeed, she stopped and reminded us that we have to take care of ourselves first. Our health and our well-being should be our first priority. And while I am sad I won’t be seeing her dance again, which was a treat, I wish her well and I hope we women follow her lead by taking good care of ourselves and knowing our own boundaries as she did.

Next week we have a prom theme. I went to about 11 proms when I was in high school and I have fond memories of Journey songs and taffeta. Evening gowns have come a long way since my 80s prom days back in Hawaii! I can’t wait to see what happens next week, and I’m still wondering who would have gone home if Dorothy hadn’t pulled herself out of the competition. Someone got a free pass, but I wish everyone well and we’ll see how they do on Monday night. Until then, let’s all take good care of ourselves.

Your Essential Grammy Awards Playlist

February 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm , by

We looked at 81 different Grammy categories—and multiple songs within every category—to pick our 15 favorite songs you need to hear before music’s biggest night. Take a listen, and even if you don’t know your Fun. from your Frank Ocean, you’ll be an expert by Sunday!

Taylor Swift and Fun. (Larry Busacca/

1. “We Are Young” – Fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe

record of the year, song of the year, album of the year, best new artist, best pop duo/group performance, best pop vocal album

2. “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean

record of the year, album of the year, best new artist, best urban contemporary album

3. “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift

record of the year

4. “I Will Wait” – Mumford and Sons

album of the year, best rock performance, best rock song, best Americana album

5. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson

record of the year, song of the year, best pop solo performance, best pop vocal album

6. “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys

record of the year, album of the year, best rock performance, best rock song, best rock album

7. “Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye Featuring Kimbra

record of the year, best pop duo/group performance, best alternative music album

8. “Payphone” – Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa

best pop duo/group performance, best pop vocal album

9. “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” – Eli Young Band

best country duo/group performance, best country song

10. “Madness” – Muse

best rock song, best rock album

11. “Wide Awake” – Katy Perry

best pop solo performance

12. “Love On Top” – Beyoncé

best traditional R&B performance

13. “Wanted” – Hunter Hayes

best new artist, best country solo performance, best country album

14. “The Motto” – Drake

best rap song, best rap album

15. “We Take Care Of Our Own” – Bruce Springsteen

best rock performance, best rock song, best rock album

Golden Globes Fashion Wrap Up

January 14, 2013 at 11:26 am , by

The Golden Globe Awards were last night and the Hollywood Foreign Press passed out awards to Argo, Homeland, Les Misérables, and Girls. But who really cares who wins! It’s all about the fashion right? I mean aren’t awards shows all about judging stars for their fashion choices while you are in your pajamas eating Oreos? Here are my thoughts:

The Hot Colors

Red was huge. Claire Danes, Jennifer Lawrence, Zooey Deschanel, and Jennifer Garner all wore different shades of the hot color. Sex appeal was everywhere. Angelina legs were popping out all over (see Heidi Klum and Eva Longoria) and neutral-colored, body revealing, see-through numbers were also a hit (see JLo and Kerry Washington).

Major Vs

It seems you can’t talk about award show dresses with out discussing breasts. Who showed them, who didn’t, who picked a dress that made theirs look horrible (Yes Halle Berry I’m talking to you!) V-neck dresses were worn by big winners including Jessica Chastain in her mint colored Calvin Klein frock and Clare Danes–who I can’t believe had a baby less than a month ago. Also Julia Roberts, in another plunging dress, was a nice surprise. She looks better than ever!

While we are discussing boobs…  Jennifer Lawrence fell on a lot of people’s best dressed list but not mine. Sorry her dress was begging for a Madonna cone bra reference. Am I alone?

While we are discussing sex appeal, I am loving newly single Amy Poehler’s sexy looks! You go girl with your age-appropriate cleavage! I also loved all of Tina Fey’s dress choices. These two did an awesome job. I hope they host again next year. If not can these 2 host?

Fresh and Modern

Does Marion Cotillard ever look bad? Her asymmetrical hem Dior dress was perfect and refreshing. So was her simple beauty: hair down, minimal makeup. (No makeup seemed to be a huge trend. Loved it on Marion but others were begging for some lipstick-  Yes I am looking at you Sienna Miller!) Marion looked so modern whereas Lena Dunham in Zac Posen, (I LOVE Lena and was thrilled to see her win) was the opposite. For someone whose writing is fresh and edgy her look was just not. Plus, girl, didn’t you learn at your senior prom, always pick comfortable shoes. No one wants to limp the whole night, especially George Clooney present.

Less Is More and More Can Be More Too!

I liked Emily Blunt’s and Kristen Wiig’s cut-out dresses.  I am, however, on the fence about Kate Hudson’s McQueen keyhole dress. She looked beautiful but the gold collar was a bit much. I also liked stars that donned long sleeve numbers. Julianne Moore  in Tom Ford, Naomi Watts in Zac Posen and the always glowing Helen Mirren in Badgley Mischka, made excellent gown choices! Modesty in general works, as seen in Michelle Dockery’s gold and white gown. The Brits are so classy!

Worst Dressed, In My Opinion

A tie between Lucy Liu (was that a Laura Ashley bedspread?) and Giuliana Rancic (too much was going on).

So what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree?






365 Days of Inspiration: How to Start Your 365 Project

December 21, 2012 at 12:26 pm , by

Have you heard of 365 projects? In our February issue we featured 8 amazing women who decided to to do something creative every day. It’s definitely a commitment, but whether it’s snapping a photo or knitting a cup cozy, the effort is totally worth it. If you’re looking to start your own 365 project in the new year (and you totally should!) here are tips for choosing your idea and sticking with it:

  • Choose your project. You could go two ways: Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do and get better at it day by day. Or choose something you absolutely love. Taking a photo (either with a digital camera or—even easier—a smart phone and a service like Instagram) is popular. But other women knit, illustrate or draw, write poems, write letters—we even talked to one woman who vowed to enter an online contest every day. (Hey, it’s not creative but she has a way better chance of winning some free loot than the rest of us.)
  • Start today! Don’t wait for January 1, the first of the month, a Monday, or a full moon… it doesn’t matter how the 365 days shake out on the calendar, what’s important is the practice of actually doing something small every day. Taking that time for yourself—to be creative, to reflect, to capture life’s everyday magic—is what makes a 365 project so satisfying.
  • But, don’t kill yourself if you goof! 365 days is a lot of days. You might get sick and skip a day, or any number of other things could pop up in your busy daily life. It’s ok. Just start again tomorrow instead of giving up completely. Or take a tip from one of the women we featured who knit a few cup cozies early if she knew she was going to be busy or away. It totally counts!
  • Make it public. Start a quick Tumblr or blog to share your project with the world and keep yourself accountable. Even if you don’t want to put your project out there on the web, tell your friends and family. They can help keep you motivated, and will probably want to know what the heck you’re up to anyhow. Even better, start a 365 club and get friends and family involved. You don’t even have to do the same project to give each other support and encouragement, and at the end of the year you’ll have even more great memories.
  • Check the web for inspiration, ideas, and people who’ve been successful. For instance, these specific photo-taking tips from daily photo service Photojojo are super-handy.
  • Last but not least, share your project with us! If you start a 365 project and share it with us (just leave a link or info in the comments), we may feature you here!

Photo by Meredith Winn, whose 365 photo project is featured in our story.