Belinda Carlisle, Dancing with the Stars
So far, Belinda Carlisle's "got the beat" — it's just the steps she needs to nail. The Go-Gos front woman is one of the 13 new celebrities hitting the hardwood on Season 8 of Dancing with the Stars (premieres Monday, 8 pm/ET, ABC), but unlike some — if not most — she's not nervous. "Not really!" she tells TVGuide.com. "I'm sure it's pretty nerve-wracking [doing the live show], but I don't need to go there yet. We'll see." See what else Carlisle has to say about her new gig, her upcoming dances and being a woman of a certain age on the show.
TVGuide.com: How are rehearsals going?
Belinda Carlisle: They're going really, really good. It's very exciting and it's quite the experience. I feel really good. My first dance is the waltz.
TVGuide.com: That's elegant. I would think you'd fit well with that.
Carlisle: Well, it took me two weeks to really learn it! [Laughs] It's a lot harder than it looks. Now, we have that done. We go through that a few times a day, and we're working on our salsa routine for Week 2, which took me three days to learn. So I guess the waltz wasn't the easiest thing for me at all. It's about holding back; it's about restraint. The salsa is probably more my personality, so it's been a really interesting process and quite the challenge, but amazing. I can dance. That's been part of my career, but I've never been trained and I've never done anything choreographed, which is a totally different thing.
TVGuide.com: How hard was it learning choreography at first?
Carlisle: I think the hardest part was the mental aspect of it — concentrating too hard and burning myself out physically with that. Now I've kind of found a balance and try to let it go after rehearsals. I was bringing it back to my hotel room, waking up in the middle of the night and doing rehearsals in my head. It just got to be way too much.
TVGuide.com: You've performed in front of millions of people before. Does that help ease the nerves?
Carlisle: I'm musical and I've done 30 years of live performance, but choreography is a totally different thing, so we shall see.
TVGuide.com: Are you saying you don't have the beat?
Carlisle: [Laughs] I do have the beat! I actually do have it!
TVGuide.com: It's just the steps.
Carlisle: Yeah, it's the steps. It's not the beat! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Why did you decide to do the show?
Carlisle: Well, I had met with them about a year ago and I completely forgot about it. I was on my way to India, packing a suitcase, when I got a phone call saying, "Guess what! You're gonna be on Dancing with the Stars!" And I said, "I can't because I'm going to India!" And it was like dead silence. [Laughs] I think I was just in shock. I said I had to sit with this and just think about it, and they go, "Well, you don't have very long. You have 15 minutes."
TVGuide.com: You only got 15 minutes?
Carlisle: Yeah. They said they wanted to know right away, and I think that's part of the strategy that they use because if you really think about it, maybe you'd say no. But I love the show. We get it on satellite in France and we're obsessed with it. Of course I was gonna say yes, but I just had to get over the initial shock of it. I mean, it just came from out of left field.
TVGuide.com: Why didn't it work out last year? Was it scheduling issues?
Carlisle: I have no idea. They have their way that they do things. I work a lot in Europe and I had a lot of things going on, so it's probably a combination of both. I totally forgot about it. I thought for whatever reason it didn't work out and that's cool, so it was a total, total, total shock.
TVGuide.com: Who do you think is your biggest competition?
Carlisle: Well, I'm competing against a 17 year old, so that, physically, Shawn [Johnson] does have an edge. I have no idea how anybody else is doing. But I'm competing with someone who's 33 years younger and an athlete, so I would think she has a physical edge. But who knows? Maybe I'll bring something else to it. I think everybody's gonna have something they can bring.
TVGuide.com: Since you are older, did you do anything to physically prepare for it?
Carlisle: I felt like I was a million years old the first couple weeks. Being 50 years old, I have a strain on my body. I came into the competition more physically fit than I've ever been in my whole life. I do cardio and all that. If I were ever gonna do it, now would be a good time. I do take care of myself. I have a self-imposed curfew of 8:30, much to the annoyance of all my friends. I get massaged once or twice a week. I do yoga twice or three times a week to keep me centered and flexible. I have my little things that I need to do in order for me to carry on.
TVGuide.com: And you just became the spokesperson for NutriSystem. Has that diet helped?
Carlisle: Yeah. It tastes good and it works for me. I'm always up and down 15 or 20 pounds, but I do like to eat. I'm not about deprivation at all. [Laughs] But it works. ... It's a product that can actually help people feel good about themselves.
TVGuide.com: Is there any dance you're dreading, or any you're looking forward to?
Carlisle: I can't wait to tango! I think that's the sexiest dance. I think it's just amazing, so I'm looking forward to that. That's gonna be my dance, hopefully.
TVGuide.com: Do you know when you'd be doing that?
Carlisle: I have no idea. Hopefully it's sooner than later. [Laughs] I'm not sure what the third week is. It's either foxtrot or samba. I'm assuming it's gonna be foxtrot. There's nothing I'm dreading, really.
TVGuide.com: You said you were a fan. Who was your favorite contestant?
Carlisle: I loved Marie [Osmond] because it was so dramatic and she's a character.
TVGuide.com: Are you friends with her?
Carlisle: No, but I've worked at a distance with her before. But, of course, I grew up with the Osmonds. ... I liked Heather Mills. I thought she was great. And the race car driver [Helio Castroneves], he was great.
TVGuide.com: I hope you don't faint like Marie did.
Carlisle: I hope I don't either! [Laughs]