All Things Dancing with the Stars

Backstage at Dancing: No Drama, Only Laughs

Dancing with the Stars by Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Right about now, the producers of Dancing with the Stars must be thinking, "I wish we had a little more of the life-and-death drama that surrounded Season 5." Marie Osmond fainting, Marie and Jane Seymour carrying on despite family crises, Jane and Mark Ballas being carted off to the emergency room for food poisoning and a dislocated shoulder.... There will never be a cycle like Season 5. Instead, what we have is the calm sense that stars are working really hard to dance really well, and then — given permission to let loose by comedians Penn Jillette and Adam Carolla — getting loopy with the judges. Take Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough, sitting on the floor (along with host Tom Bergeron) to catch their breath as they get their scores. "I had to sit down," Elizabeth shares after her jive. Her secret goal in life is to play Wonder Woman, but right now, she wouldn't have the energy. "I was so tired and so happy that it was over. I just wanted to get through this dance so... read more

Are Mario and Karina More than Dancing Partners?

Dancing With The Stars by Kelsey McNeal/

Things on the Dancing with the Stars dance floor get hot, but is the romantic beat going after-hours for Mario and partner Karina Smirnoff? The NY Post is reporting that the pair were seen smooching (!!) outside the Four Seasons hotel in L.A. A source says, "They were making out by the valet with their hands all over each other, and he was whispering in her ear. It was around midnight, so there weren't many people around."Smirnoff, who is publicly dating her former DWTS partner, Mario Lopez, denies the rumor. Her rep says that the two "have a completely professional relationship." Mario's rep also denied the claim, telling Us, "This did not happen." Mario, however, has hinted at his attraction to Karina, as well as at his view of Dancing as a potential hotbed for intra-cast hooking up. In this Mega Minute video, he talks about his fondness for Karina (at the 1:30 mark) as well as DWTS' propensity for backstage hookups (2:10):What do you think of the rumor? Is Mario and Karina's on-c... read more

Dancing Power Rankings: Kristi Tops the Top 10

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas by Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Uh-oh, is this season's Dancing with the Stars a one-horse race already? Following the first (double) elimination, polled readers on their favorites to win the disco ball this time around. And again, as she did during the first Power Ranking, Kristi and Mark are looking golden, skating past the rest with a dominating 72.4 percent of the vote. Only one other couple, Jason and Edyta, amassed double digits!Is it simply too soon to see who might gain momentum and challenge the Olympian for the title? Or perhaps Kristi and partner Mark Ballas have peaked too soon, and are subject to David Archuleta-style burnout? As you think about and discuss that, here is the complete chart:72.4% Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas12.1% Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska4.7% Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough2.8% Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez2.3% Mario and Karina Smirnoff1.9% Adam Carolla and Julianne Hough1.4% Steve Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya1.4% Priscilla Presley and Louis van Amstel0.5... read more

Backstage Report: Seles and Jillette Say Goodbye

Monica Seles and Jonathan Roberts by Kelsey McNeal/ABC

He predicted it even before the dancing started. Magician Penn Jillette said that if you looked at the big picture, booking him for the show — and then booting him out first — wouldn't be a bad move for the producers of Dancing with the Stars. "I like a little bit of game theory," Jillette said in his first interview about the show. "The producers could have me on and say: 'We're booking Sasquatch and isn't that funny? And then when he loses, it'll be funny, too.'" But once he signed on the dotted line, Jillette committed himself fully. He got a trainer in Las Vegas that he calls "the Nazi. He's a very, very bad man." He dropped an astonishing 48 pounds before the show went on the air. He got special orthopedic shoes for feet that have been battered by his more than three decades in show business, starting with circus training. "The producers made me promise that I would try as hard as I could," he says.And he did. "He did his best," said his wife, Emily, after Tuesday... read more

The Top 10: Who's Your Favorite Dancing Duo?

The following contains spoiler information regarding Tuesday night's results show.Dancing with the Stars truly kicked off the new season on Tuesday night by eliminating its first two couples. The celebs no longer shaking what their momma gave them are tennis champ Monica Seles and magic man Penn Jillette (who placed last in the first round of readers' Power Rankings). That leaves us with 10 couples heading into the next round.Who is your current favorite to win the shiny disco ball trophy? The time to cast your vote is now. read more

Cheryl Burke Addresses "Completely False" and "Absurd" Tabloid Tale

Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey by John Sciulli/

You can see the hurt written all over her face. Two-time Dancing with the Stars champ Cheryl Burke, 23, is battling her way back to normalcy after becoming the target of vicious print rumors that she and her married celebrity partner from Season 2, Drew Lachey, had an affair during this winter's national Dancing tour. "The story is completely false. And absurd," Burke quietly said after Monday night's performance show. "I'm just glad that I have friends that stick by my side and know the truth. They were with me 100 percent of the time on tour. I rode buses with [the other dancers, pro and celeb] and we hung out together 24-7."Some of Burke's peers know what she has been subject to. "I feel so bad for them because I know them personally and I know that nothing ever happened between them," says Tony Dovolani, who himself was the focus of tabloid rumors after his third-season partner, country singer Sara Evans, left the show in the midst of an abrupt divorce from her husband. Dovolani... read more

Backstage Report: Kristi and Mark Get Down 'n' Dirty!

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas by Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas had just performed their down-and-dirty mambo, gotten another set of near-perfect scores and headed backstage. As Monday's show closed in on a commercial break, Season 5 spitfire Sabrina Bryan bounded out of her chair and crossed to another section of the audience, where Season 4's John Ratzenberger was sitting. They high-fived."They nailed it!" says Bryan, proud of her former ballroom partner and real-life boyfriend, Ballas. "I'm so excited."That was just one slice of the great celebrity-watching the audience was treated to on Monday night. Ratzenberger, an alum of Cheers, sat in one section; a star of Happy Days, Henry Winkler, sat in another. Ratzenberger says he was impressed with Yamaguchi, Jason Taylor and Shannon Elizabeth. Winkler was there to cheer on an old family friend, Marlee Matlin, as was Flashdancer Jennifer Beals, who shares the cast roster with Matlin on Showtime's The L Word."It's all very friendly," says judge Carrie Ann Inaba, wh... read more

Behind the Scenes of Dancing at Paley Fest '08

So many dances, so many stars and so little time. With so much to cover in the Dancing with the Stars canon, it was hard to imagine how the cast and producers would pull off discussion about it in just one hour. But at the Paley Fest Friday evening, the attendees and moderator — ET's Mark Steines — offered myriad behind-the-scenes war stories, details of how they make the magic happen and their personal perspectives on the Dancing experiences. Their combined comments gave us spectators in the Cinerama Dome a little behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show, as well as a warm, feel-good vibe about its unique ability to appeal to people of all ages and demographics. Did I get warm fuzzies? Maybe....Here are some of the best moments of the evening:Participants: Cristián de la Fuente, Cheryl Burke, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Derek Hough, Kristi Yamaguchi, Julianne Hough, Drew Lachey, Jane Seymour, exec producer Conrad Green, judges Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli, and hosts Samanth... read more

Kristi Skates to Top of First Dancing Power Rankings

Dancing With The Stars by Kelsey McNeal/ABC

With Dancing with the Stars' first elimination night scheduled for this coming Tuesday, gold-medalist Kristi Yamaguchi is looking utterly golden, at least judging by's first Power Rankings reader poll of the new season. Kristi and pro partner Mark Ballas took an early lead and held onto it to come away with 31.2% of the votes. Placing a distant second were Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke.Facing an uphill dance going into Monday's performance show are Penn Jillette and Kym Johnson, who came in last with less than two percent of the vote. Can the illusionist work some magic and overcome that rough start?The complete rankings:31.2% Kristi Yamaguchi and Mark Ballas 11.5% Cristián de la Fuente and Cheryl Burke 10.0% Mario and Karina Smirnoff 9.7% Jason Taylor and Edyta Sliwinska 8.5% Steve Guttenberg and Anna Trebunskaya 7.1% Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez6.2% Shannon Elizabeth and Derek Hough5.3% Marissa Jaret Winokur and Tony Dovolani 3.2% Monica Seles an... read more

Dancing Partners Didn't Play Footsie on Tour

Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey by Barry Brecheisen/

A story in Star Magazine positing that former Dancing champs Drew Lachey (who is married) and Cheryl Burke canoodled during the latest winter tour has been shot down by Lachey's rep. "The story in Star is completely false," says the spokesperson. "It couldn't be further from the truth." (I know, right? Star publishing a whopper? I half expect the sky to be orange this morning.)More Dancing coverage:• Marissa Jaret Winokur to Have a Tiny Dancer of Her Own• Video Q&A: Steve Guttenberg and Monica Seles• Backstage at Dancing with the Stars: Ryan Seacrest?!• Poll: Vote for your favorite couple! read more

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