She may not have won the Dancing with the Stars disco-ball trophy, but Sabrina Bryan won something equally important: instant name recognition (not to mention a new love). In the most shocking elimination in the show's five-season history, Disney Channel's Cheetah Girl, an early favorite, was sent packing in Week 6, little more than halfway through the competition. "I know there was a lot more I could have pulled out of her if we had stayed in," says her pro partner and now boyfriend, Mark Ballas. "So I'm definitely going to be pulling out all the stops on the tour."
Well, almost all the stops. Ballas is still recovering from a dislocated left shoulder and has to carefully dance around it. Still, this happy twosome can't wait to partner up again and show off their happy feet. TV Guide caught up with the pair to talk about their tour plans.
First, we checked in with Sabrina....
TVGuide.com: Are you looking forward to the tour?
Sabrina Bryan: I am so incredibly excited to get back on the dance floor with Mark. You have no idea.
TVGuide.com: When they asked you to go on tour, did you say yes right away?
Bryan: I was like, "Oh, my god, I would love to." But at first, I didn't have enough time in my schedule to participate in it. The Cheetah Girls were supposed to go to India (to shoot their third TV-movie) the second of January. But the shoot got pushed back to Jan. 18. So that meant I could be there for most of the tour.
TVGuide.com: Why do you want to dance again?
Bryan: I am so infatuated with this style of dancing. It's just so much fun. I really grew to appreciate every aspect of it. Mark and I just keep watching films, looking out for stuff we could do. We're hoping to do dancing demonstrations.
TVGuide.com: You mean beyond the tour?
TVGuide.com: Are you looking at old Hollywood movies?
Bryan: No, more like video clips from ballroom dance competitions.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you'll be nervous dancing on tour?
Bryan: I don't think it's going to affect me. I love live audiences. Had this show been a competition on the road, I really would have felt at home — more so than I did with a smaller audience and a bunch of TV cameras — because I was on the road for six months with the Cheetah Girls. The Cheetah Girls audiences were, on average, 13,000 people. It'll be different not to have those girls with me. But I'm excited that Cheryl [Burke] will be there. I love that girl. And Derek [Hough] and Mark and Monique [Coleman]. When you're on the road, you start to rely on each other as a family.
TVGuide.com: Is there any dance you can't wait to repeat from the show?
Bryan: The only one I wouldn't want to do is the quickstep. Every other routine I absolutely loved. I love the choreography of the quickstep, but for me, it just wasn't that fun to perform. I just felt so stiff and awkward. Ugh. But I definitely want to do the cha-cha again. That's where it all started, with that dance. It was our way of saying: We're here, we're stoked, we're ready for this competition. It was our way of saying: Sabrina and Mark are on the dance floor.
TVGuide.com: You'll have to start the tour with Derek Hough because Mark is still recovering from his dislocated shoulder.
Bryan: It does feel weird. It doesn't feel so weird to do the new numbers. But to do the dances that I did with Mark — like the cha-cha — that's just hard.
TVGuide.com: He was watching you very closely when you were rehearsing with Derek.
Bryan: I know! I said, "Dude, stop staring me down! It's not my fault!" He just wants to dance again so badly.
TVGuide.com: What are you looking forward to on tour?
Bryan: You have chances to get it right if you don't get it right the first time, which puts you more at ease. But at the same time, this is 100 percent for the fans, so you want it to be as good as it can be. I'm also looking forward to watching the pros. It's so cool to get to see them really get to be pros — and not have to worry about us. We get to see them as they would be in a real competition.
And now, Mark Ballas' turn....
TVGuide.com: Sabrina looks like she's lost weight. She's very sleek.
Mark Ballas: She looks amazing. Look at those calves. That's what ballroom dancing does.
TVGuide.com: Do you still believe that Sabrina got robbed?
Ballas: She was by far the best dancer and no one can take that away from her. Sabrina and I are like best friends, so for me, it became very personal. It was my first season on the show and she was like my protégé. I was trying to make the best dancer out of her I could. I've never worked with someone who wanted it so bad and was clinging to every word I said. She worked so hard, she deserved it, and she was voted off too early. A lot of people said it was because she had dance experience. And yeah, she did a bit of hip-hop and jazz. But it's not ballroom and Latin.
TVGuide.com: But she looked like a pro.
Ballas: We came out swinging. People say she came too far too fast. But I say I would've done the same choreography with whomever I was given. I can't help it that she looked great. Some people just get it. It wasn't perfect. She's not world-champion status. But in six, seven weeks, I've never seen anyone, ever, come that far.
TVGuide.com: Was she wonderful right from the start?
Ballas: She was clueless. She can stand with her knees bent and go yeah, yeah, boom, boom, hip-hop. But as far as having your feet turned out, your hair in a wonderful beehive hairdo and a ballroom gown with feathers at your feet? It's a different kettle of fish.
TVGuide.com: How's your shoulder?
Ballas: I can move my arm again, and I'm doing my exercises. We have to be careful with it and stay off the left side as much as possible. But I'm going to make a full recovery. I'm hoping to join the tour on Dec. 27 in
TVGuide.com: Why do you want to tour?
Ballas: The whole Dancing with the Stars experience has been absolutely amazing. The chance to go on tour and see America and to do what I love doing? It's just great.
TVGuide.com: The pros say it's tough to stay healthy on the road. And it's tougher in the winter than the summer.
Ballas: I'm from London, so I prefer the cold. The kind of people that Sabrina, Derek and I are, we just get on with it. There's no question, no 90 percent. It's always 120 percent. You shine that light on me and I'm going to perform for you. I never do anything halfway. I don't believe in it. I don't believe in entertaining if you don't love it. I'm so excited about the tour because you always have to be on top of your game.
TVGuide.com: What does it mean to you to tour with Sabrina?
Ballas: My part in the tour is to show Sabrina's full potential. If we had had six more weeks on the show, I could have really shown America what she could do. I know there was a lot more that I could've pulled out of her if we had stayed in. So I'm definitely going to be pulling out all the stops on the tour — and show everyone what they missed.
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