BWWTVWorld Exclusive - Melissa Rycroft Chats DWTS- ALL STARS!
After being called in as a last minute replacement for an injured Season Eight competitor, "Bachelor" star Melissa Rycroft stepped onto the dance floor in heroic fashion on "Dancing with the Stars." With just two days to prepare for her nationally televised ballroom dancing debut, Rycroft displayed character and strength overcoming nerves, anxiety and the pressure to perform in front of a live audience. Paired with professional dancer Tony Dovolani, Rycroft "waltzed" her way into America's hearts and into a third-place finish on the hit ABC series.
Now Rycroft returns to the ballroom for the first-ever edition of DANCING WITH THE STARS: ALL STARS. She recently chatted with BWWTVWorld about the fierce competition she must face in her quest for the highly-coveted mirror ball trophy.
On your original season of Dancing With the Stars, you were injured right before your live performance of the Jive, forcing the judges to score you on your taped rehearsal footage. What was it like to get a shot at redemption this week?
It felt good. You definitely felt redemption, but you also felt pressure because people hadn't seen it and you really needed to come out and wow them with a performance. So I'm pleased with how we did, but to be honest, I'm just happy that it's over with because I feel like that's probably my weakest dance in all of the dancing line-up. So to get that one out of the way and to have made it on to week 3 just feels really good.
You were lucky enough to remain with your original partner Tony, while some of the other competitiors had to work with a new partner. Do you feel that's an advantage?
To be honest, I feel like the only real advantage was on Day One of practicing, that we came in and we knew each other. You know we had an instant relationship. But I think the struggle that all of the returning couples have is that you have to keep the choreography that much more fresh. For example, the audience has already seen Melissa and Tony do a Fox Trot, so when we had the Fox Trot for Week One we had to make it so much different from what people have already seen.
So in a way it's a pressure that those other contestants don't have.
A little bit, yeah. I mean Shawn and Derek are bringing something so new. We're seeing Shawn in a whole different way than we saw in Season 8. We just have to work that much harder to make it seem like you're seeing a different Melissa and Tony than you saw in Season 8.
Interesting. Were you shocked that Joey (Fatone) was eliminated this week?
I'm shocked and sad. Joey was one of the good ones and he has a personality that is larger than life. He kept everybody laughing backstage and we were all shocked that he went home on Week Two.
Earlier in your career you were a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Did you always know you wanted to go into some form of entertainment?
No, not at all. You know I actually tried out for cheerleader as a rebound from a break up I was going through! I had gotten out of a seven year relationship and was literally at home sulking and I saw a commercial to try out for cheerleader and I went, 'you know what, I'm going to do it and I'm going to do it for me.' And so it was a way of moving on with my life and never thought that it would go anywhere. And do be honest, it didn't. After cheerleader I went and worked in my little cubicle for a few years before all the Bachelor mess, but it was definitely a great experience.
What do you think makes 'Dancing With the Stars' so popular? Is it more about the dancing or the personal stories behind the contestants?
I have to think it's probably more the personal stories. On the one hand I think the audience likes to see the train wreck dancers (laughing) but I think a big problem with that this season is that there are no train wreck dancers. Everybody is phenomenal. But then you do have the personality of say Kirstie Alley there, that makes it fun to watch. You want to watch and see what she's going to say next to Maks and you want to see what Emmett and Gilles are going to say. For me personally, I think it's probably about the personalities and the back stories. But then of course, you want to see the dancing.
And everyone is just so great this season, as you said. But do you see one particular couple as your biggest competition?
I don't think there's one who is the biggest competition. I think there are couples who have proven right off the bat that they're going to be difficult to beat. Sabrina and Louis and Shawn and Derek, technically they have an ability to dance at a level that nobody else can really touch. On the other side of that, you've got the charisma and personality of Kirstie Alley and the sex appeal of Gilles. So many people are bringing different things to the table that you don't know if you should be scared of the great technique or the big personality and you're kind of just walking around going week by week. All you can do is take it week by week.
You've been on a few different reality shows. What do you think about the appalling behavior we're starting to see on some of these shows?
Everything is cyclical and reality TV has been huge for five or six years now. You can tell that it's starting to take a different turn. You're seeing things like 'Honey Boo Boo' which is huge but it's also a huge controversy. People are going, 'don't exploit this' and then you've got other people that you're drawn to watching. And I'm just as guilty. You know The Housewives is my absolute favorite franchise in the world. The women are ugly to each other and nasty and mean. And you get pleasure watching it. But at the same time you're like, 'I'm oddly disturbed that I'm enjoying watching these women rip each other's hair out!' It's an odd thing.
Will you continue to be a special contributor for Good Morning America?
Yes I will. You know GMA was kind of the first real home that I found after Dancing With the Stars. They were great to me and they are always working around my schedule and what I can do. So yes, I would love to continue to work with them after this.
Well I am rooting for you this season, I think you're terrific. Best of luck!
Thank you so much!
Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars airs Mondays, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Photo courtesy of ABC