Dancing With The Stars, Chelsie Hightower
Chelsie Hightower, who has danced with a rodeo cowboy (Ty Murray) and a snowboarder (Louie Vito), was surprised to be paired with The Bachelor (Jake Pavelka). The Dancing with the Stars pro tells TVGuide.com: "I think [his casting] surprised a lot of people." Also a surprise: Pavelka's performance on Week 1. The pair posted the fourth-highest score of the night — a 20 — for their Viennese waltz. But their second-week dance, the jive, is shaping up to be more of a challenge. Find out why the jive is so tough for Pavelka, who Hightower thinks is a dark horse, and what role she may play in the pilot's wedding to Vienna Girardi.
TVGuide.com: You guys got a very respectable 20. How do you think you did?
Chelsie Hightower: It felt good — can't complain. We're right in the thick of it. We didn't really have any expectations. I knew where he was, but you never know on the first show how the celebrities are going to handle the situation. I thought he did a great job performing for the first time live. I'm really proud of him. And I don't know what [Bruno Tonioli] was talking about when he said he was rough! I didn't feel it at all.
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TVGuide.com: Jake is your first non-athlete partner. How is it different working with him?
Hightower: I have to be very careful with the way I work things. It's definitely a different approach to teaching. I've got to be a little easier on him. His body is a little more sensitive. Athletes are used to training for something. ... He has no dance experience at all. When you work with someone like that, you literally start from scratch. You have to teach the whole basis of what it is. There's a lot more work that goes into it, but he's doing good. He's moving up.
TVGuide.com: Cheryl said she wished you guys had more than three weeks to train before the premiere. Do you feel the same way with Jake being a novice?
Hightower: You know, I didn't really notice that it was only three weeks. I was just concentrating on our dance and teaching Jake. I actually like that it was three weeks because it can get a little tedious sometimes, and you just want to get out there and dance. Sometimes too much time is not good, but you definitely don't want too little time either. I think the three weeks worked out fine — not just for us, but for everyone. Since there was no elimination this week, everyone got their first-week nerves out of the way and can improve for next week.
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TVGuide.com: What was your reaction when you found out you had Jake? Did you watch The Bachelor?
Hightower: I watched one episode. I'm always working, so it's hard to watch, but I saw one. I knew who he was. He was nothing from what I was expecting. [Laughs] I'll be honest. I was not expecting him at all! ... At first, I was like, "Huh?" I didn't get it. But the more I thought about it, the more I got excited, like, "This could be a really good thing!" And it is. Jake's such a great guy — so sweet. We're working hard, but having fun.
TVGuide.com: What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Hightower: Jake is a really good lead. He's got a really strong upper body, so he can make really nice lines really well. That's something that you can really see when he dances. Weaknesses ... he's actually a slow learner — just because all of this is so new to him. He's a little ADHD. I'll be teaching him something and I can see it in his eyes when he's spacing out, so I have to bring him down to earth.
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TVGuide.com: How's the jive going?
Hightower: It's going good. We're working on it. We started a little bit last week. ... It's a hard dance and he's not getting the feel of it — the rhythm, the beat. It's so different from the Viennese waltz. That's slow; this is fast and you're constantly going. It's going to be a tough one for us, but we just have to work harder, and do it over and over and over again until it feels comfortable.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the other couples? Who impressed you the most?
Hightower: I thought everyone did such a great job. I think Pamela Anderson probably surprised me the most. I didn't really know what to expect and what she did bring was pretty cool. She did a good job with that. Obviously, Evan [Lysacek] and Nicole [Scherzinger] were great. I think Erin Andrews is a dark horse. She's going to be pretty good.
TVGuide.com: Are you going to choreograph Jake and Vienna's wedding dance?
Hightower: [Laughs] We joke around about that all the time! We'll see when it comes down to it if they really want me to, but I would.