Dancing's Dovolani: "People Were Rooting for Me to Get a Good Partner — and I Got One"
Rumbas are supposed to be sexy, sensual and romantic. But funny? "Ours will be! We'll break the mold," Dancing with the Stars' Tony Dovolani tells TVGuide.com. The pro will debut his chuckle-worthy routine with The Hills' Audrina Patridge Monday as part of Dancing's TV Theme week. Their song? Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten" — the Hills theme, of course. "We do a little nod to The Hills. It's going to be funny and hot," he says. "It represents what her show is about and her transformation from that show to our show." Find out what else you can expect from the duo's routine, why the Dancing pro thinks they can go all the way and how his waxed legs are doing.
TVGuide.com: You guys have been doing great and I think have surprised a lot of fans with how well you're doing.
Tony Dovolani: Yeah, definitely. Well, if you think about it. Before the season started, Audrina had no dance experience and she's from The Hills. You don't know if she's going to be likeable or not and she turns out to be the girl next door who happens to be hot. She works harder than anyone else I've been with. We could schedule the studio for five hours and we'll be there for seven and a half hours not even realizing it. I feel like some people are looking over their shoulders like, "We didn't count her as a contender! What the hell?"
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TVGuide.com: After last season, with all the hate and negative publicity Kate Gosselin got, how does it feel knowing that fans are cheering you on?
Dovolani: It makes me feel really good. I feel like people have gotten to know us. I feel like people were rooting for me to get a good partner — and I got one! The fact that I got a good partner this season who wants to work this hard is great. With her, I'm able to do what I've always wanted to do, which is to train somebody to be a dancer. As teachers, you don't truly get the credit until you get somebody like her and transform her into a dancer. I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds, somebody who never danced before and wants to work that hard.
TVGuide.com: It paid off. You're the only couple to have dethroned Jennifer and Derek.
Dovolani: We were so involved in that story of the waltz and paying tribute to the soldiers that we didn't even realize we were the leaders. The next day, Jennifer said to me, "How does it feel being at the top?" Honestly, I didn't think about it because it meant so much to do that for the soldiers. I come from a war country [Kosovo] and American soldiers are the reason why I'm able to go back home and to come here. That's just my way of saying thank you. I didn't care about the score.
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TVGuide.com: How's your rumba coming along?
Dovolani: Great. She's doing an amazing job. It is weird to dance a rumba to the Hills theme. It's a sexy dance and the song is so upbeat, but we're both very happy with what we came up with. You better watch the beginning of it! We're really working her using her soles, having hip action and finishing her lines. If she does that, she's gold.
TVGuide.com: The judges commented on her not pointing her toes last week. Are you working on that?
Dovolani: Yes. She's probably the best student I've ever had. I never have to tell her to do something twice because she's already beaten me to it. She worked on her toes for the 50th time today and I said, "You know, you've done this 50 times." She goes, "I know, but I've got to get it!" That's what I love about her.
TVGuide.com: I did the math and you guys have the third best average behind Jennifer and Brandy. That could very well be the final three.
Dovolani: Yeah, I would love to be back in the final. Everybody's doing well. It's hard to see who the end couples are going to be, but I'll be honest. Based on the work ethic and her attitude, I truly feel like we have a really great chance of going all the way. I think anybody can take it. Jennifer is the front-runner. I can't say nobody else has a chance. It's a marathon. We have to save up our energy to sprint at the end. And Maks [Chmerkovskiy] and I would love to be in the final together.
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TVGuide.com: Maks said in his blog that you guys have really rallied around him after his grandmother died.
Dovolani: I was supposed to go to an event that night but canceled it to be with Maks. He's my best friend and I had to be there for him. It wasn't so much cheering him up, but just being there next to the boy. My heart goes out to him. It's hard enough to lose anybody, let alone your grandma. We're all going through it together.
TVGuide.com: We have to talk about your leg-waxing. Is the hair growing back yet?
Dovolani: It is! It's not that bad. I used Sally Hansen (hair remover). I went to the salon, did one leg. All of the sudden, my wife calls me and goes, "No, no, no. You're doing the other leg at home because that's what every woman has done. You volunteered, so you have to go through the full experience." She got me the Sally Hansen kit, I did the other leg as a joke and she made me give the hair to Audrina. It doesn't itch at all. The hair is growing back fine. It was a good laugh and everyone got a kick out of it.