Dancing With The Stars, Kym Johnson
They may not have gotten a 10 yet, but Hines Ward and Kym Johnson are the highest-scoring couple this season on Dancing with the Stars — though it may be news to them. "I didn't know that we were. It seems to be different people [topping the leader board] every week, like last week, so I didn't know. That's amazing," Johnson tells TVGuide.com. "That feels really good because it means we've been consistent. I know how much work Hines puts in and if we deliver the goods every week, I think we'll be OK. Hopefully it'll pay off with a 10 soon." They have double the work to put in this week with the Team Cha-Cha Challenge on tap. So how is everything going? Plus: What's the real story with Ward's Dancing pillow?
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How's the tango coming along?
Kym Johnson: Well, we're putting in overtime this week. I feel like the competition has really kicked in now. I love the tango. I think Hines will be great at it. He's such a natural dancer. I'm so lucky! He's so easy to teach. [On Wednesday] we had a six-hour rehearsal and he got all the steps down. After that, it's just about polishing it and working on the technique. In the tango, we really have to focus on the posture and his knees because the tango's really flat. He just really has to get into the character of the tango. In our paso doble, we did really well. He sort of channeled the football player in him, so he has to do that for the tango as well.
Are you guys going for a theme or a story of any kind?
Johnson: We were going to, but this week, we have some of the ballroom greats — legends of ballroom dancing — coming in to watch our rehearsals and we'll have a guest judge. So we're focusing on making this week more about the dancing and being very technical and more traditional. We're not going with any gimmicks or story. American Week, Guilty Pleasure Week — they've been really, really fun. I enjoyed that and telling a story through the dances, but we're not doing that this week.
Has he been practicing every night with his pillow?
Johnson: Yeah, I'm sure he went home and practiced! I think he calls her Rosa. I'm sure he and Rosa were dancing in the lounge room last night.
Have you met Rosa yet?
Johnson: No, I haven't! [Laughs] I feel like he's cheating on me. He's spending the night with her! But you know what? It's getting results, so I think he should keep doing what he's doing. It seems to be working.
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Did you suggest for him to rehearse with a pillow at home or did he just start that himself?
Johnson: He just started that himself. It's pretty difficult to get someone to keep working on the dance when they go home. He's so dedicated that it's great that he goes home and works on the routine. He's always improved by the next day, which is great.
You guys also have the team dances. Are you excited you get to do the cha-cha again?
Johnson: Yes! I'm really excited. That was [our first dance], which seems like a lifetime ago now. It'll be nice to revisit the cha-cha. It's really fun doing the team dance. It brings everyone closer and it's fun working with the other celebrities and pros. We have Kirstie [Alley] and Kendra [Wilkinson], so our team is very good at shaking their butts — we're going to focus on that. We're Team Booty-Shakers! ... We don't have a name yet, but I'm going to suggest that one!
This is the first week with two dances. How has Hines been handling it?
Johnson: He's really been great with it. He always steps up to the challenge. It's hard, but he's getting there with it. Athletes definitely know how to handle the pressure and he's great with dealing with the pressure. I'm not too worried about him, honestly.
The last time you had a football player, Warren Sapp, you went to the finals.
Johnson: I was so lucky with Warren. He was great and Hines is definitely up there with Warren. I hope we could at least make the final. I'm already thinking about [the freestyle]. I've got something up my sleeve. You've got to plan ahead just in case.
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What did you think about Chris Jericho leaving last week?
Johnson: Aw, we're really going to miss him. It's really horrible at this stage because everyone's so good. Cheryl [Burke]'s a great friend of mine, so we miss them. From this point, there are no bad dancers. Everyone's deserving of being in the final. It's a really close competition this season. It's very open. I like that. There are no Nicole Scherzingers or Evan Lysaceks. It's more of an even playing field and it keeps it exciting every time someone gets out on the floor.
Speaking of the floor, why is everyone falling? Is it cursed?
Johnson: Oh, I know! This season there have been so many stumbles. It's so strange. I'm hoping it doesn't happen to me! I don't really think about it, but yeah, when you see so many people taking falls, it's a little bit jarring. It's usually injuries. I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't happen to me, although I know Hines will catch me and pick me straight back up again!