Gilles Marini and Cheryl Burke
Not even tendonitis and a separated shoulder have stopped Gilles Marini from bringing his A game to the dance floor. Two weeks into Dancing with the Stars, the Sex and the City hunk is leading the pack and again making ladies swoon with his sexy moves — but he says it's not intentional. "I'm dancing and things come the way they are," Marini tells TVGuide.com. See what else the French-born star has to say about shedding the sexiness, his slightly inappropriate plans with Steve-O, and what else he has in store for Kim Cattrall.
TVGuide.com: Congratulations! How does it feel to be on top of the leader board?
Gilles Marini: Thank you! The only problem with that is there's only one thing to do — go down. It's a great place to be. It's so much pressure, especially on Cheryl [Burke]. Cheryl's a very tough professional and driven [so] it's difficult for her to go down. So we're gonna try our hardest.
TVGuide.com: You can still improve. You haven't gotten 10s yet.
Marini: [Laughs] Yes. I'm gonna do my best to get fitter. Every week I want to shock the judges so they say, "Oh my God, we didn't know you could pull this off." It's all very new to me. I'm doing the samba next. Before this, I had no idea what that is. I learned the foxtrot is a slower quickstep or something. I don't even know how to spell it! I thought rumba was big, fun and fast, and Cheryl told me it's a slow dance. I'm like, "Oh, I'm such an idiot!" I think if Americans can understand that I'm learning from A to Z, they might like it because they can actually picture themselves versus seeing someone who is actually very good at it already. If I can do it, everybody can.
TVGuide.com: Is Cheryl moderating how much you rehearse since everyone's getting injured, including you?
Marini: Cheryl has a tendency of making me go home and she's very smart. Every time I'm not doing a move, she asks me why — either I'm not remembering or I'm hurt. She's great. As soon as she's getting tough with me, I know it's because I'm starting to get it and she wants to keep it at the same level. For me, at the moment, I'm like, "Oh my God, I'm horrible." So I start paying more attention and doing more and then I can do it.
TVGuide.com: She has said she's gonna have you take off your clothes to win over fans, but then she didn't want you to be sexy for the quickstep.
Marini: Yeah, this is how she put it: When we dance the samba, the image is we're already dating a long and obviously went down to the bedroom. This is how the emotion has to be. So we're boyfriend and girlfriend for a while. When we dance the quickstep, it's our first date, so it's a bit of touching, but not too much. So I had to throw away the sexiness and whatnot from the cha-cha. It's a first date with a splash in the end.
TVGuide.com: Is it easy to throw the sexiness out?
Marini: [Laughs] Being sexy is not something I ever try to be. It's not like, "Oh, I'm sexy, let me look at the camera now. I'm not trying to be sexy. Throwing the sexiness away was just looking rigid and more sophisticated.
TVGuide.com: I know you guys are worried about your fan base, but you're one of our readers' favorites to win. How does that make you feel?
Marini: Wow, very surprised. I would say I'd be second [from the] bottom. Just because people do not understand why I'm on the show because I've never said it yet. It's pretty much paying respect because the country gave me so much. If I can put a smile on Americans' faces, then it's a little way of paying back. Down the line, I'll tell the story why I'm in love with this country and why I wanna be here the rest of my life.
TVGuide.com: Whose idea was it to have the Super G logo at the end of your Superman-inspired quickstep?
Marini: Oh yeah! It's because we couldn't have the S. I wasn't trying to be cocky or anything with the G. At first, I wanted to put Jewel and Nancy O'Dell on it. Somehow in America, news passes by fast and everyone forgets [they withdrew due to injury], so I really wanted to put them on there to remember them, but they wanted a G.
TVGuide.com: You're on top right now, but who do you think is catching up?
Marini: Obviously, Melissa [Rycroft]. She's a dancer. She's an amazing person. Beautiful. My brother said, "Help me. I'm dying for this woman." He didn't talk about me! [Laughs] So if my brother feels this way, I know America feels the same way. Shawn [Johnson] — every time you see her smile, it breaks your heart. She's an American hero. I saw and I'm like, "Oh my God! I'm next to you. I can't believe it."
TVGuide.com: Because you're so much taller than her?
Marini: [Laughs] Right? She's only 4'10". She's very sweet. She has so much strength so we can all look very bad [compared to her]. I hope Steve-O can keep going because he's a great human being with a great story for a lot of kids out there that think they're doomed. I want him to stay for that and for the friendship we have. So if he can be healthy and be here, I'll be the happiest man on earth because the competition without Steve-O would not be the same.
TVGuide.com: So you guys have gotten really close?
Marini: I would say so. Every week I vote for him. We're taping a sketch. We're trying to bug the other contestants with sketches and comedy and doing things a little inappropriate to make everyone smile.
TVGuide.com: Is the public ever gonna see that?
Marini: Maybe one day on YouTube. It's gonna be hilarious. It's gonna be written by Donal Logue. He's a great comedian. Believe it or not, it's gonna be one of those, like, Taxicab Confessions type of thing.
TVGuide.com: Have you heard from Kim Catrrall yet?
Marini: Oh, I want her to stop by. I haven't heard from her because I think she's overseas doing a movie, but we're setting that up. If she comes, I gotta get three 10s.
TVGuide.com: And you have to do the rumba or something sexy for her.
Marini: Yeah, I would do a rumba and then finish the dance with her. How about that? [Laughs] That would be actually really funny. I'm gonna plan this.