Joey Fatone just has one request for Week 2 of Dancing with the Stars: "Don't make me go first!"
The Season 4 alum kicked off the All-Stars season with Kym Johnson last week and does not want to be the opening act again. "I better not!" he tells TVGuide.com. "When they told me I was first, I was like, 'Oh, crap!' Then everyone says it's an honor. It's not an honor! People might forget about you and you might get voted off first. It was cool to kick off the show, but there was a lot of pressure."
The 'N Sync star is feeling good about his next dance, the quickstep, though. See what else he has to say about coming back, who he thought he might be paired with and how he's targeting Drew Lachey.
How's the quickstep going?
Really well. We have a great, fun number that I think people will like. We got the number together fairly quickly, which we're happy about. It's going to be good.
Did you hesitate at all in coming back for All-Stars?
Well, I had known about it for a while. I got asked actually a really long time ago — maybe not asked formally, but they initially put it in my ear, like, "Hey, we might do an All-Stars season. Would you be interested?" I thought, "That might be kind of fun. Keep me posted." That was about a year or so ago that we first heard about it. Finally, I got a phone call saying, "Hey, we're gonna do All-Stars. You wanna do it?" And I said, "Yeah, that sounds cool." I was one of the first people they called, which is very flattering. [Casting director] Deena Katz literally said, "Hey, we got out of a meeting and we'd like for you to do All-Stars if you would do it."
I have to say, I am really bummed that Lance [Bass] didn't return too. I wanted an 'N Sync showdown. Why isn't he back?
Well, because I'm better than him. I came in second; he came in third. [Laughs] You can't have everybody, you know? Actually, I don't know if they even asked him. I didn't even talk to him about it. Maybe they wanted a different boy band rivalry and that's why they got Drew. We've been battling it out.
You guys are talking a lot of smack.
I know. It's funny. We're friends, so it's all in good fun.
Are you giving him a hard time for being in the bottom two?
Yeah, but I felt bad, so I kind of shut my mouth! [Laughs] Before the results, I was like, "You know what? It's gonna be really sad to see you go, buddy." And he made a joke, like, "Imagine if I was." I was like, "Yeah, it would be pretty funny." Then he was in the bottom two! And I was like, "Oh, crap!" I didn't say anything else. I just jinxed the poor guy!
Do you have a secret Drew voodoo doll?
Yeah, yeah, I do. I look at it and I squeeze his ankles and feet so they hurt and he can't dance anymore.
Was it hard getting back into the rehearsal routine?
Fatone: Well, my attention span is a little shorter nowadays. The rehearsals go from like four-to-five hours. As far as rehearsing like that continuously, you would lose your mind. I would rehearse hard for 45 minutes and then I'm like, "Let's take a break." I think if you practice too, too much, you start to make mistakes or if you get too tired, you could get hurt. I'm like, "Let's not kill ourselves. Take a break and figure it out if something's not coming together."
What was your reaction when you found out Apolo [Anton Ohno]'s in the cast too?
Fatone: I was like, "Son of a gun! Give the Mirrorball to somebody else!" It was frustrating. [Laughs] No, Apolo's awesome, but, man!
Do you have a voodoo doll of him?
I should get one, right?
I talked to him and he said he was happy he beat you last time because you had so much dance experience from 'N Sync, so he wants to beat you again.
[Laughs] I've always said, as long as he doesn't win again, it's fine. I don't want any of the six winners to win again! How about that? They have their trophy. They're happy. Let's give the trophy to someone else.
Do think it should've just been non-winners in the cast?
No. I wasn't opposed to [winners returning]. It was just interesting to me there were so many back. It makes it much more challenging and makes an even greater cast. The winners deserve to be here. People have voted for them and they're great dancers and the judges like them. All-Stars is anybody and everybody who stood out in some way, shape or form.
What did you learn from being judged on Dancing that you applied here?
I look for the overall entertainment value. We have certain criteria. I'm still not 100 percent sure how it's judged on Dancing with the Stars, believe it or not. For me, it's the execution, costumes, their personalities in the dance, the story. Laurieann Gibson judges really hard on the technical aspect. We're looking at people who've never danced before.
What kind of judge are you?
I'm a fair judge. If something's terrible, I will tell you, but I'm not going to be like, "That sucked!" You want to give criticism, but you want to help them out.
So you're not mean like Len [Goodman]?
Exactly! [Laughs] No one can be Len though!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c and Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.