Ballroom dancing pro and amateur leprechaun Tristan MacManus will be checking in with EW.com each week as he and partner Gladys Knight go for the coveted mirrorball trophy.
All done now, just gettin’ home. Everyone did a great job tonight. I think Jack Wagner really stepped it up as well. The last three weeks now, the people who have gone first have really set the tone for everyone. I think it’s great to see. It’s going to be a very difficult elmination tomorrow. It’s very strange to get three 8s and still have the possibility of goin’ home. It’s gonna happen to somebody.
Are the judges’ scores too high too soon? I don’t know if there’s any agenda, but you can certainly only judge it on what you see. They weren’t so high last week! The scores are the scores — we’ll take the comments and we don’t have to worry about the scores, know what I mean? We just have to worry about whether we’re staying or not.
On “memorable year” night: We were celebratin’ Gladys’ first tour — I think it was the first time she went away from home as well, when she was 13. Just shows how much times have changed now, but yeah, she went on tour at a very young age, and she’s basically been a professional since then. So that’s pretty inspirational. From the way she described going on tour with icons like Sam Cooke and James Brown, it sounded like she would have been goin’ to see them even as a fan — like how fans of hers must feel, you know? She would’ve been the same. But at the same time she had a job to do as well, had to learn from ’em.
We danced the foxtrot to Sam Cooke’s “Cupid,” a song Gladys has a big connection with — it’s just real typical of his style of song, I guess, and it’s real smooth. Certainly it was a simpler time, with love — that’s what she says. You know, the way people used to talk to each other on those kind of simple terms. It’s different now, you know what I mean? It was very romantic and stuff then. I guess that’s a big part of why we chose that song. I’m a big Sam Cooke fan anyway, so it was delightful that we got to dance to it.
On staging the foxtrot with the door and window: Yeah, it was basically tryin’ to tell a story of some sort. I guess it was, from that point of view, it was the courting situation, you know, where you go to their house and you court someone and you pick ’em up? I guess the idea behind the window was that at the time, people were excited about goin’ on these dates. You would’ve been by the window waitin’ for someone to call on the door, I guess?
Don’t your dates always wait by the window? They should! No, don’t know about that one! Probably hidin’ behind it and I’m knockin’ on the door for hours.
New haircut? Cut me hair! Got it cut just before the show in the hair trailer. I don’t really care what it looks like. I don’t like to have to spend time fixin’ my hair, you know? I just let it be how it is. It’s never been ponytail-long. Just kind of longer, I suppose.
What are your tattoos? I’ve got one on me left arm that’s Irish writin’ that says “My family, my friends, my heart.” And then I have my surname down my ribs. On the other side then I have half a bull — that’s from an Irish tale — and that goes along with the other ones I have on me arm there. They’re all mythical characters, I guess. They’re all Irish literature. So I have one… two… three… I’ve got four on me right arm. The one on me forearm isn’t finished yet. I need to get that finished when I go back to Ireland. That’ll all tie it together.
So you’re like the embodiment of Ireland. I’m Ireland. It’s just Irish mythology and history I guess. And then the ring on me hand is a history of Ireland ring that has all sorts of symbols of Irish things.
On the crowd’s uproarious reaction to William Levy: It’s unbelievable! But he’s doin’ a great job, know what I mean? He would’ve been gettin’ those screams anyway. Certainly if they weren’t screamin’ for his looks they’d be screamin’ for his dancin’. He deserves it all.
The open shirt this week helped. Yeah, I think a lot of people were waitin’ for that one all right. I can’t follow that one!
On Jaleel White crying in the celebriquarium: It was an emotional week. I think the thing that we miss a little bit is that these are personal stories to whoever it is, whoever’s tellin’ em. Just because we might not find ’em that emotional — people tend to compare the stories, you know? People tend to say well he’s crying, he’s not crying, he’s crying. That’s their own personal story — only he knows how much it means to him and what it means to him. So yeah, it’s not a case where anyone was surprised. He’s done a great job, and it’s kind of up to himself how he’s reactin’. I kind of only heard part of what he was saying at the time actually — it’s always hard to hear the whole thing with all the noise.
Do the pros actually use the term ‘celebriquarium’? I don’t know! It’s just a big room sittin’ in the clouds, know what I mean? It is what it is.
As told to Annie Barrett — more next week!