May 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
Season 16 has come to a close. I have to admit I had no idea who would take the mirror ball trophy home this season. The race was the tightest its been in a long time. I thought with Zendaya’s 2.7 million twitter followers, she was a shoo-in for the title. But Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough worked some magic on their freestyle routine and created a very profound moment of television. I ran into Derek backstage right after they won and he told me that he was inspired by my call to Kellie to find more expression and connect more to the emotions of the dance. I think he said it haunted him as he was putting the freestyle routine together. I’m so glad that he understood what I was going for when I made those comments. That’s what makes a winner to me—someone who can take on the challenges we give them instead of taking offense to them. Dancing With the Stars is a challenge that takes stamina, strategy and a willingness to face parts of yourself that you don’t want to. In order to win you have to find a way to incorporate our critiques and comments into your dances. When I gave Kellie feedback about the emotional quality of her dance, I was trying to help her grow.
I had a feeling that this season was going to be a tight race to the finish line. I know that the key to winning this competition is having breakthroughs and growth on top of the fantastic dances we expect in the finals. But magic is made when you push yourself to do something that’s really not a “sure thing.” When you accomplish that goal, there’s nothing like it.
A lot of shows out there will fake moments to create dramatic television, but I think the audience has become savvy to that and our audience is smarter than that. Kellie and Derek’s win is proof. I’m not saying that Zendaya and Val did anything fake or anything like that. Not at all. She is a phenomenal performer and Val’s choreography showcased her beautifully. She’s been outstanding the whole way and she has a special quality when she performs that will take her career very far. But Kellie hadn’t been completely connecting on an emotional level to her dances. She hadn’t really let go until that moment. She made progress, but in her final freestyle she discovered something new about herself and we all witnessed it. Derek created a piece of choreography that allowed her this discovery; in fact, it pushed her right into it. There was nowhere to hide. The movements lent themselves to vulnerability and heart connection. Kellie stepped right up to the plate and swung a home run.
I’m so happy for her success. As a dancer it is this heart-centered and honest type of performance that touches your audience’s core and creates loyal fans and supporters. I’ve been in this business for a long time. I’ve seen talent come and go and I’ve seen amazingly talented people never find themselves in their performances and get lost in the shuffle of the entertainment industry. Eventually they fade out, but every once in a while someone is able to push themselves past their own limits and dig so deep that they find a whole new layer. But this applies to anyone. You have to continue to push yourself. Just when you get comfortable, I think it is imperative that you push and see what else there is and what else you have to offer this world. This courage is what creates a satisfying life and that’s something we all crave.
This was a big season for all of us at DWTS. We hit our 300th episode and it was the end of our two-episodes-a-week run. That part is bittersweet. I love having all of the production numbers and I think we did some amazing work with the DWTS Troupe. They were brilliant and truly a highlight of the season. They gave our show a fresh energy and I think it’s a good time to give thanks. Who knows what will happen in the future for the show, but I know our talented producers will come up with some great ideas to ensure that the show is even better. Now we’re pushing ourselves out of our own comfort zone. We’re heading into the unknown with courage and excitement, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Change can be a bit scary, but it’s good and a very important part of life. I know I speak for everyone when I say we’re so grateful to all of our viewers and fans that have tuned in for our 300+ episodes and we look forward the next 300.
What’s next for me? I’ll be busy producing my gala for The CAI Animal Project which is on October 18th, 2013 at the Century Plaza Hotel Ballroom in Los Angeles. There will be dancing, and everyone asks me when I’ll dance; well I’ll be dancing in this show for sure! And so will a lot of familiar faces. It’s going to be exciting. Raising money for animals in need is going to be my focus for the next few months and if you’d like to help, please check out our website, www.caiap.org, or if you’d like to help with our fundraising by buying some of the looks I’ve worn on the show, go to www.fashionproject.com. I have a closet there and I’ll be adding even more clothes so check back often. You can have a part of DWTS fashion history and do something good for the animals. It’s a win-win!
Congratulations to our Season 16 winners, Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough! And congratulations to our runners-up, Zendaya Coleman and Val Chermkovskiy. Both duos were fantastic and really wowed us with their talent and fortitude. I thought this was our best season ever and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Now it’s time for a mini-staycation! I’ll see you soon, and if you miss me, just follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/carrieanninaba.
Take care and God bless.
March 13, 2012 at 11:17 am , by Ladies' Lounge
First off, I think Ben’s sister and mother did a great job of asking Ben and the girls the right questions. I really appreciated that they went into it with an open mind and didn’t judge the girls until they met them for themselves. I think it was totally obvious that it was a “producer influenced” question when Ben’s sister asked him if there were any girls that the other girls didn’t like. This question was obviously going to be asked, but at the end of the day Ben’s family liked both girls and it seemed like they totally supported Ben in whatever decision he was going to make. And that’s what family should do.
I absolutely loved Lindzi’s time with his mom. You could tell that Lindzi meant what she said and really cared for Ben. It absolutely broke my heart watching his final date with her knowing that she wouldn’t be chosen in the end. I mean come on…wasn’t it obvious to us all at this point that Ben was crazy about Courtney? But why wasn’t Lindzi on the After the Final Rose special? What happened there? Although, I did stay tuned in to ABC to watch Jimmy Kimmel Live! to see what Lindzi had to say about Ben and the finale. She was super sweet while talking to Jimmy and genuinely seems happy, so I’m happy for her. I was was hoping she would explain why she wasn’t on After the Final Rose, but she’s in a good place now and that’s what’s important.
Back to what happened on the actual show. Courtney’s time with his mom and sister was great too. I really believed Courtney when she told them how much she cared for Ben. I think we saw a totally different side of her. I have to tell you guys that I was watching the finale with a couple of girls from Ben’s season (Rachel and Jaclyn) and they both said they really liked Courtney and that she was a sweet girl. They said that she was always sharing her clothes with the other girls and helping them get ready, so I’m kind of surprised we didn’t see the girls talk about this during the Women Tell All special. Anyway, I’m so glad Ben’s sister didn’t judge Courtney because she was a “model” or because she didn’t get along with the other girls. I respect her for that.
Ben’s last date with Courtney really showed us that they have a great connection. I could totally relate to what Ben was saying to Courtney about feeling at ease since everything was coming to an end. I remember feeling so relieved when I got down to my final two because you actually want it to be all over so you can just be with one person. Read more
December 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm , by Ladies' Lounge
It’s hard to believe this season of The Biggest Loser is over! The finale was such an incredible celebration of everything the contestants accomplished. With all of their friends and family in the audience, the atmosphere was absolutely electric. It was so much fun watching them strut their stuff across the stage. Everyone from my original blue team—Becky, Bonnie, Debbie, Coach Mike and Johnny—looked fantastic! Obviously, they had all been working hard at home. And a big congratulations goes out to John, who won with a 220 pound total weight loss! Even though Ramon wasn’t crowned the biggest loser, he and all of the other contestants are still walking away with a prize because they’ve learned how to live a healthy lifestyle. I am so proud of each and every one of them and it was truly an honor to be a part of their journeys.
Thank you to all of you wonderful Ladies’ Home Journal readers who have followed my blogs throughout the season. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Now let’s go into 2012 inspired and ready to take on the new year and new challenges!
May 26, 2011 at 10:09 am , by Sonia Harmon
And the confetti falls again.
When I saw Olivia and Hannah at the live Biggest Loser finale, I think my jaw practically hit the floor! I even saw a picture of them the day before and was still amazed at what they were able to accomplish. I think it’s so important for everyone at home to know that the finale is a stepping-stone into a lifetime of wellness, but it is still an event that contestants specifically train for. I weighed my finale weight of 122 pounds for about 2.2 seconds! I was healthy when I left the Biggest Loser campus five weeks before our finale date, but I made a conscious choice to train for the competition. I gave it my all so that no matter what the results ended up being, I knew I’d given it everything I had.
For those five weeks I was in the gym every day from 7 a.m to 2 a.m., wearing a 40-pound weight vest the majority of the time. My diet was very bland with frequent small portions of proteins and green vegetables, and I only drank water. With all of that, I only lost 13 additional pounds, but that’s because I didn’t have anything left to lose—I was 11% body fat. I finally understood how all those women complaining about having to lose 10-15 pounds must have felt. I couldn’t relate because before that period of my life losing 10-15 pounds was like sand off the dunes. With all that said, this was not a lifestyle change, it was training for the win of my life! I was training for my Olympic gold medal, my Tour de France, my history making moment, my confetti. When the moment was over and the confetti was being swept off the floor, so was the training. Read more
March 15, 2011 at 6:13 pm , by Sonia Harmon
As I watched the season finale of The Bachelor, my heart and mind were in reflection mode. It was only a year ago that my own journey came to an end on television, but my real journey was just beginning. I had an incredible and healing experience while I was on the show that has led me to where I am in life right now.
I remember getting out of the helicopter in St. Lucia and Chris Harrison greeting me. I had been praying that if this was not the man for me, I would know and he would know too. The moment I saw my bachelor, I knew what was about to go down. I had such a great peace within me and I knew that everything was going to be okay. I don’t mean that saying goodbye and facing rejection was easy, but coming out of it I was able to know what I could conquer and that what was “right” for me was in my future.
A year later I have grown so much, and I have found a new confidence that’s helped me learn what I desire in a relationship. I’ve also learned how to allow someone to love me, and to love myself, so that I can only love someone back even more! Who would have thought anyone could learn so much from a show like The Bachelor? Without my Bachelor journey, I wouldn’t be in the place where I am today and with the man that has shared a true love with me. I am grateful.