The ex-'N Sync'er tells us how doing the cha-cha on ''Stars'' could improve his sex life, what he learned from Jerry Springer, and where he was when he heard a threat from Justin Timberlake

By Shirley Halperin
Updated March 19, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: James Sorensen

Just before the season 4 premiere of Dancing With the Stars (ABC, debuting on Mon., March 19, at 8 p.m.), gave ex-‘N Sync member Joey Fatone a call to see how he’s holding up…

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So… starting to feel the pressure?
JOEY FATONE: A lot of my friends and family really are the ones that are rooting me on, so I think that’s where the pressure is. It’s more or less not that my family is going to be like, ”Yeah, you’re going to do a good job!” It’s like, ”You better freakin’ win, or you’re disowned from the family!” [And] a couple months ago I was in Tampa watching [ex-bandmate] Justin [Timberlake]’s concert, and I went back and told him what I was doing. At the beginning of the show, after a couple songs, he says, ”Hey, welcome everybody… My buddy Joey Fatone’s here!” [And then he says to me], ”You better not screw up — you better win Dancing With the Stars!” in front of everybody. So I felt like such a dork. But it’s been good, I can’t complain. Everyone’s supporting me.

You did dance a lot in ‘N Sync — was that an advantage?
A lot of people say, ”Oh yeah, you’re probably going to have an advantage and dance circles around them.” I mean, yes, I know my left foot from my right foot, but it’s [about] the technique, the posture, different kinds of tempos… The cha-cha, I’ve learned it already, but I’m still finagling through the quickstep. You basically have to be very light and dainty on your feet. I am not at all dainty or light on my feet. I get yelled at by my partner Kym [Johnson] because I have a problem — instead of being on my toes I’m pounding and stepping on my heels.

Kym danced with Jerry Springer last year, right? He wasn’t so light on his feet either.
Yes, she did… But what was actually interesting about them was they stayed around for a long time. I think obviously because of Jerry’s fan base, but also they used a lot of props and a lot of costumes and a lot of vignettes or stories, so to speak, in the music. I loved that so much and I was like, ”Let’s keep that! Let’s do what you did with Jerry, but obviously we’ll do the dance steps.” So she was excited to do that, and she was excited that I was able to move around quicker than Jerry.

How long have you guys been practicing?
Um, it’ll be almost two weeks now.

So what hurts?
If I put any pressure on the balls of my feet, yeah, it hurts. My arms get sore as far as holding the position… they’re not sore right now, but when I’m doing a dance, and trying to practice a couple of hours and holding my arms up in that position, it’s very uncomfortable. A lot of people say, ”Oh, he can dance,” but it’s a lot of hard work and people don’t realize what it takes to memorize those steps. And some of them are so similar — you can screw up so easily.

How are you sizing up the competition? Who are you going after?
Um, I’m going after everyone, kicking ass and taking names…To be honest, I’m in it to have a really good time, [but] I mean, of course, who wouldn’t want to win? You start to see people’s game faces and its pretty funny. Like Laila Ali: She’s an athlete and she’s got her game face on like there’s no tomorrow… I don’t know yet how good the competition is, because I haven’t seen anybody dance yet. Then I will know what the bar is, if it needs to be raised or if we are at that level and everybody else needs to get where we are, or we need to get where they are.

What did you think about Vincent Pastore dropping out of the competition?
It is what it is. He was honest and truthful about the whole thing — he said it was very physically demanding and he just couldn’t do it. Instead of him coming on the show and all of a sudden dropping out in the middle, he pulled himself out of it from the beginning.

Have you lost any weight while doing this?
Why yes, I have… I weighed myself before I started and I weighed 233, now I’m about 219, which is pretty amazing…. Am I psyched? Yeah — my wife is probably going to make love to me more often.

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