This is the point in the competition — just past halfway — where people start to unravel. There are so many things for the stars to worry about: the fear of failure, of falling, of forgetting your steps, of looking like a fool. If you get past those hurdles, inevitably, the adrenaline wears off and the exhaustion sets in. The demanding schedule — which includes up to six hours a day of rehearsal — is tough enough for stars like Seymour. But combine that with a second job that requires getting on airplanes — as it does for Cameron Mathison, Sabrina Bryan, Marie Osmond, Helio Castroneves and Mel B. — and it's a wonder that these people can even stand up.
Consider Mathison, who is traveling cross-country every week to compete on Dancing in Los Angeles and then returning to his day job in New York as a heartthrob on All My Children. His pro partner, Edyta Sliwinska, is plenty worried about the wear and tear. "After last Tuesday's [results] show," says Sliwinska, "we went to practice. Then all day Wednesday, we had a group dance rehearsal, then our own practice. On Wednesday night we flew to New York. Right from the airport, we went to practice. And from practice, Cameron went right to work on All My Children and worked for 11 hours."
"The flying back and forth," says Mathison, "is really starting to wear on us a little bit."
Sabrina Bryan is another one who does the job of 10 men. Earlier this week, she did a video shoot for the Cheetah Girls, which took 15 hours. And there was no downtime, since during every break she had to grab her pro partner, Mark Ballas, to learn the fox-trot. "I owe the Cheetah Girls big time for allowing me to skip all the promotional stuff and not be there as much as I should be [in order] to be on this show," says Bryan. "Yeah, it's a lot of hours. But that video was something we've worked for five years to do."
Granted. But is it any wonder that both Mathison and Bryan flubbed their steps tonight? Mel B., who returned last week from England, where she was in rehearsals for her Spice Girls reunion tour, may have gotten a perfect score tonight in part because her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, put on the brakes. "I go into panic mode and I want to practice, practice, practice," says Brown. "But Max is really good. He'll say, ‘No, you've got it.'"
As for Marie Osmond, nothing but a real bull let loose on the dance floor could have stopped her from making her comeback performance. "Jonathan [Roberts, her pro partner] and I were laughing that we got the paso doble," she says, which is the dance of the bullfighter. "I mean, how funny is that? And we did all the standard moves where she's the cape and gets thrown on the floor."
Osmond says that there was only one other time when she passed out during a live performance, but the audience never knew it. "I was on QVC with my dolls," she says. "And I guess I just fell out of my chair." Did the shock of collapsing last week make her want to pull back or pull out of the competition altogether? "Absolutely not," she says. "I actually feel great. It was just the air quality because of the fires. What did they do, evacuate a million people? I remember that when I flew back into L.A. [she had gone to New York to perform in Niagara Falls with her brothers], I started choking."
Osmond says what really worried her was the reaction of her children watching from home in Utah. "After it happened, I hurried and called home because I knew my little ones would be worried," says Osmond. "And I said, ‘Mommy's fine.'"
Osmond's partner agrees. "When Marie and I first started together," says Roberts, "we'd do three steps and she'd be gasping for breath. But now, we can do the entire routine and she's hardly breathing any harder than I am, so she's in much, much better shape."
But Osmond admits that she has to be careful from now on — her allergies can easily get the better of her. "Even with my dolls, I can't sculpt them because of the dust and the particles," she says. "When you sculpt and it dries, you sand it. And you wear a mask. But even with the mask, I can't do the sanding because I literally can't breathe."
As for Seymour, she's had the wind knocked out of her. "I don't have the doll thing going," she says, referring to Osmond's fans. "And some dancers [like Mel B.] can come out here and just walk around. You get higher scores in this competition if you just walk around. Or you go up to the judges and you go pat, pat, on the cheek and you get ‘10s' for that."
What really disappoints her is that sinking feeling that she won't make it to next week, when they're set to dance to a tune by Johnny Cash. "June [Carter Cash] was my closest friend," says Seymour. "They asked us [she and her husband, director James Keach] to make the movie Walk the Line. They're the godparents to my children. And for us, emotionally, it would mean a huge amount to come back and be able to do that."
The irony is that Seymour isn't working two jobs. But it's still taking a toll because she's putting everything she has into this one. "I've never met anyone who loves dancing as much as Jane," says Dovolani. "But it's hard to come back from them slamming us."
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