Carrie Ann Inaba’s Dancing With the Stars, All-Stars Blog: Week Four

October 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

It’s only week four and the 10-point paddles are out! It was an unexpectedly good night in the ballroom. I have to say that I wasn’t sure how the evening would go with these new dances. I thought it was a tall order to ask our professionals to suddenly have to learn a new dance and teach it to their very competitive partners (remember, this is no ordinary season—it’s the all-star season so there’s more pressure on the pros than ever before). The thing is, not all dances are created equal! Ballroom and Latin dances are a specific style of partner dancing. Hip Hop, Contemporary and Bollywood are not styles that are truly suited to partner dancing. Sure, we’ve seen it all before on So You Think You Can Dance, so TV audiences have grown accustomed to seeing those dances performed that way. But those dance styles don’t work best in our format. Our show is about ballroom dancing, which includes old-fashioned social values, elegance and partnership. Just look at our set—there’s a big ballroom dance floor in the middle! It’s not a proscenium stage.


All that being said, I think we saw something new and quite interesting happen and the duos did a really great job of entertaining us all. This week, I think the dynamic of partnership really came through. Instead of one person leading the other, they both struggled and faced their vulnerabilities, perhaps strengthening their partnerships in a way we’ve never seen before. To me, it was fascinating to see both of them vulnerable. It was most obvious with Karina falling during her and Apolo’s Hip Hop number. You could tell she was so nervous doing Hip Hop, and then she fell and all her fears came pouring out. You could clearly see the struggle of the week in her tears and frustration. But you could also see how much they are in it together. I also saw that with Val and Kelly. Their Contemporary number (which is really lyrical jazz) pushed them both out of their comfort zones. She is absolutely right about our show not being about the dance–it’s a show about growth, facing fears and insecurities, and pushing yourself through what frightens you or even physically pains you.

Yes, our job is to judge the dancing and the dancing is so much fun to watch, but people and the human struggle is at the heart of our show. And boy, did we get to see a lot of struggle. So this week, I salute all of the professional dancers on our show for facing their fears and learning new styles of dancing and putting themselves out there just as the celebrities do week after week. It was touching to watch. I felt like a proud mama watching all of them push their own limits. I highlight Peta, Val, Karina, Cheryl, Tony, Derek, Maks, Louis and Mark for their great work! This show is no easy task for them anymore and the producers keep switching things up on all of us this season. You never know what’s going to happen from week to week, but that makes it very exciting! Read more

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Dancing With the Stars, All-Stars Blog: Week Three

October 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

It’s one o’clock in the morning and I’m still buzzing from tonight’s show. Wow! There was electricity in the ballroom; this all-star season just keeps getting better. I was so impressed and the thought of two contestants going home makes me anxious. I can’t imagine what the contestants are going through. I’m sure they aren’t sleeping tonight either!

I LOVED tonight’s show. The challenge of making the celebrities the artistic directors added a whole new element of fun. I was impressed with Apolo Anton Ohno’s artistic vision of the moving statues and the romance element without a lot of fluff. It was one of the most creatively daring performances and I think it had true impact. All of the elements worked perfectly together to create a beautiful statement. This was creative direction gone right!

I probably should explain the lower score for Sabrina Bryan who dances like a wildebeest (and I mean that in the most complimentary way). Her natural ability and determination is amazing. Combine that with Louis Van Amstel’s ambitious detail-oriented choreography and that puts them in a league of their own. However, she has to be careful not to do the same thing over and over again. She gives us so much content at level 10 that sometimes it gets to be too much to absorb. It becomes status quo and even if her status quo is of high quality, I don’t suggest that anyone be status quo this season because you have to surprise the audience. You have to excite the judges and impress us with things we’ve never seen before. You have to do the unexpected and you have to do it well! You can’t just rely on what you do well—you have to push yourself and go into what is not safe for you. That’s when magic happens and tonight, magic happened. Read more

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Dancing With the Stars, All-Stars Blog: Week Two

October 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

Last night was an exciting show—a little bit of sass, a lot of competitive edges coming out, and a few personal victories. I actually woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit under the weather which is never a good thing because it takes so much energy to do our show. But you can’t be sick on a show day in our business. So, I took my medicine and went on with the day hoping I wouldn’t get sicker. People who have never done live TV don’t know the adrenaline rush that comes with our show. It’s like jumping out of a plane and by Tuesday morning, I often feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. No matter how many vitamins I take, or how well balanced my meals are, or even how much rest I get, Tuesday comes and when I wake up….I wonder which bus hit me in my sleep. But in all honesty, I love it. Sure, I’m struggling right now as I sit here with my coffee and eggs wondering if I should go to my “drenched” cardio work out, but I never forget that I have a great job!

I’ve been doing live television for a long time. I was 18 when I landed my first regular live show, so I’ve been working in dance and mostly live television for about 26 years now. I started as a teen pop star singing and dancing my way into people’s homes on a live show in Japan. I loved dancing so much that I begged the producers to let me to continue dancing on the show even though I had released a record and was performing my own songs across Japan. They thought I was crazy—who would want to dance when they could be a star? Me, that’s who. Read more

Carrie Ann Inaba’s Dancing With the Stars, All-Stars Blog: Week One

September 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm , by

Photo by Dominick Guillemot/Contour by Getty Images

We’re excited to welcome our new blogger, Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba to the Ladies’ Lounge! She’ll be here every Tuesday giving you her take on the performance show and sharing behind-the-scenes scoop from the set. Check out her first blog below, and tell us what you thought of the season opener in the comments!

Well, we’re officially in season 15, the all-star season and it’s as exciting as I knew it would be. The couples have all danced their first dance and some shone brighter than others but it was like a wonderful reunion of a happy (and maybe slightly dysfunctional) family! Love was in the air, but so were nerves—we even had a live TV moment when the audio cut me off mid comment during my first comment of the night to Joey and Kym. (Luckily, I ran into them backstage so I could fill them in on what I didn’t get to say on air and give them their constructive criticism.) I have to admit that I haven’t had that much fun on a premiere night in ages. You see, what you don’t know is that we judges get nervous too.

Everyone else on our show knows what they’re going to do when they get out there. The dancers and stars know their routines, Tom and Brooke have gone over their prompter reads and walked through their staging, the band has practiced every note of every song under the direction of Harold Wheeler, and the camera operators know their choreography too. But Len, Bruno and I have no script and we have no preparation. We only have our experience, our knowledge and our wit and honesty to draw from, so being a judge is a very intense experience.

Many people ask about the judging process so I thought I’d explain it a little more. We have about 7-10 seconds from when the dancers finish their routines and walk over to Tom for us to formulate our comments and turn in our scores. It can be a bit daunting. There is incredible pressure to be sure we make our point and for me, to do it with compassion and honesty for the performers. I like to look at myself as a mentor and give them with some positive feedback as well as constructive criticism to help them grow. And after 15 seasons our audience knows their dancing and they don’t miss a thing! As much as it may hurt or disappoint the star to hear what may feel like negative feedback, it’s only given to help them improve, which you can’t do if you don’t know what’s going wrong. Read more

Jillian Harris Blogs The Bachelorette: Season Finale!

July 24, 2012 at 2:46 pm , by

The finale has finally arrived! You guys know that I have been team Jef all the way, so I had my fingers crossed for them. I remember when I was down to the last two on my finale; I had truly fallen for all three final guys. It’s so hard when you realize time how quickly time has flown by and you have to make a decision for the final rose.

Meeting the parents is obviously a huge decision and of course, Emily had little Ricki to think of as well. It’s all about making sure that whatever guy she chooses was the perfect compliment to not only her life, but Ricki’s life too. I’m a new aunt, and I can only imagine how much stress Emily was under to make sure that she was picking the right guy and not just following along with what her parents think. I’m so fortunate to have a very open family that trusts my judgment and they always supported me through the process. At this point I just wanted them to essentially tell me what to do, but I knew they couldn’t.

Jef is such an amazing, genuine and kind guy. You could just see in his eyes how nervous he was talking to Emily’s mom and to me, that shows how much he loves Emily. I also thought it was great that he asked the family what they thought about Emily doing the show. He really opened himself up and I think Emily’s parents saw honesty in him. Do you guys think that Emily should have introduced Ricki to the guys before she made her decision in order to judge how good they would be with her? It’s such a big step and hard to predict, but I can also understand why she wouldn’t want to confuse Ricki.

I couldn’t believe that Arie would be going up against such tough competition after Jef met the family! It seemed like her family definitely had their mind made up about Jef. Is it just me or did it seem like Arie was talking more about himself than asking questions? Maybe it was just edited that way. And who knew that Arie dated a single mother? I think that gave him a little advantage, but I agree with what Emily’s brother said—his answers felt forced and unnatural. Arie and Emily didn’t have that look in their eyes where you can tell that they’re in love. To be honest, I thought their kiss was a little awkward. It seemed like she was pulling back a little bit, no? Read more

Jillian Harris Blogs The Bachelorette: Episode 10

July 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm , by

To be honest, I’ve always had a hard time recapping my thoughts on the Men Tell All and Women Tell All specials. To me, we already know who’s a jerk, who’s awesome and who’s not.

I struggled through the beginning of this episode but that came to a screeching halt when I saw the Bachelor Pad previews. I know this is supposed to be all about Emily but I’ve been getting a lot of tweets about Bachelor Pad 3 and I’d like to clarify a few things. I have no qualms about Ed or Reid being on the show, and I’ll probably tune in if I’m at home on a Monday night. I have no opinion on whether I’m on “team Ed” or “team Reid” because I have yet to see what all of the commotion is about. No offense to either guy, but based on my time with a certain one of them I highly doubt it’s actually about me. That ship sailed a long time ago and I’m just happy to see the guys doing something fun and exciting. To be frank, I hope Ed wins, but it might be a surprise to most of you to learn that being the “winner” of The Bachelorette is not financially rewarding. After everything is said and done, he might was well make some benefit from it all. I am in an amazing place in my life right now; I’ve never been happier. So it’s not awkward, weird or sad to see one of ex-boyfriends on the show! You can read more of my thoughts about this on my blog.

A few quick notes about Men Tell All…I was disappointed in Kalon. But I guess it is what it is and I’ll give him one thing—at least he knows who he is and isn’t wishy-washy about it. He stood his ground and didn’t waver. I know his attitude and personality leave something to be desired, but I’ve always said I’d rather be friends with an a**hole who owns it than one who fakes it. Just know who you are and own it! Read more

Jillian Harris Blogs The Bachelorette: Episode 9

July 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm , by

On last night’s episode, Emily was down to the final three bachelors. I remember this part of the process being so magical. We were in Maui, a place that most of you know I visit often, so it was a special place to me for many reasons. I actually have a very vivid memory—right before my date with Reid I had the morning to myself. I opened up the windows to my big, beautiful room, turned up the music, sipped my coffee and thought about how lucky I was. But it hadn’t hit me yet that I was about to let go of someone who had become really special to me, so I don’t envy Emily at this stage. You truly do have severe feelings for the final three guys. I can’t speak for all of the bachelorettes, but I’m pretty sure that by the final two you know where your heart is headed, but at three there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

Let’s talk about something that might be a bit controversial: Turning down the fantasy dates. I saw quite a few tweets last night from people saying “Good for Emily!” but to be honest I was really confused. If this were “real” life and we were at the point of saying I love you to someone, sleepovers would be happening. This doesn’t mean I think you need to be doing the horizontal polka ladies; I just mean you have a very limited amount of time with this person. And further more, you have to remember there is no off camera or alone time together at this stage.

So think about it: Emily is trying to figure out who she is going to spend the rest of her life with outside of the TV show, but she’s making a decision based on what all of us viewers will think. Do you know how many people have boldly asked me “How many guys did you sleep with while on the show?” Yes, I went on national television and made certain choices but that information is personal no one else’s business. However, I do think that sexual chemistry is important when trying to decide who you’re going to marry. Let’s face it—it’s human nature, and ignoring it because she’s worried about what the rest of the world will think could very well be the same reason why engagement number two didn’t work out. Maybe she’ll decide to have overnight dates when she’s down to the final two, but let’s forget about the sexual chemistry for now. I think she should have accepted those overnight dates simply to get to know the guys more, but to heck with what we all think! Read more