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

The Reader Interview: Reba McEntire

October 1, 2012 at 9:00 am , by

Every month an LHJ reader will get the chance to interview one of their favorite celebrities. This month, Michelle Broussard of Missouri City, Texas quizzes McEntire about her new show (Malibu Country), what it means to be a southern belle, and more.

I can’t wait for Malibu Country. What’s your character like?
I play an ex-country singer, whose husband, a very famous country singer, cheats on her. She gets a divorce and moves to Nashville from Malibu to restart her career so she can support her kids.

What makes you a true southern belle?
Southern principles, morals and a good sense of humor. Respecting my elders. I don’t take some things as seriously as other folks.

Do you have any hidden talents?
Not that I know of! I’ve recently taken fly fishing lessons so I think I’m hooked on that.

I’m a redhead too, and my skin is sensitive to the sun. How do you keep your complexion so flawless?
I try to stay out of the sun as much as I can, cleanse my face daily and moisturize a lot! I always look for new products that will erase brown spots and get rid of wrinkles.

When can we expect a new album from you?
I started recording in the studio over the summer so new music will be out soon. Some of the music I’m recording will be for the TV show too.

What’s one food you could live off of for the rest of your life?
Red beans and cornbread—I love that. But one food? Beef stew!

What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?
Enjoy life. Love yourself. Have fun. Don’t get so nervous. Practice more. Take better care of your body—exercise more and quit picking up 50-pound sacks of cattle feed!

The Fall TV Workout

September 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm , by

This week is heaven for TV lovers. Several new shows debut (Animal Practice, The Neighbors, Elementary, etc.) and a slew of favorites return (Modern Family, CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, and so on…you can see the full schedule here.) What’s not so heavenly is how much time you’ll spend on your butt watching all this entertainment goodness. Studies show that the more hours you log in front of the tube, the more likely you are to develop serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

So what’s a health-conscious TV fan to do, other than be very picky about what you watch? Make your tube time less sedentary. It’s a great opportunity to fit in strength training—something most women skip. These six exercises allow you to keep your eyes on the screen while you tone your trouble spots.

Couch push-ups If doing push-ups on your knees feels too easy but you’re not quite ready to do them on your toes, incline push-ups like this one are the perfect happy medium.

Side plank This targets your obliques, aka the muscles under the love handles. (I hate using “love handles” but it’s slightly less loathsome than “muffin top.”)

Wide-leg wall sit with calf raises Proof that sitting isn’t always bad for you! This variation on the classic wall sit works your butt, thighs and calves.

Flamingo dip Think you’ve mastered triceps dips? Give this one-legged version a try—it tightens your triceps and your thighs.

Bridge kick You don’t even have to get off the couch to do this butt- and thigh-toner. Seriously. (See images 3 and 4.)

Hammer curl shoulder press Firm your biceps and shoulders while you ogle McDreamy. How’s that for a multitasking move?

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

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? Read more