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.
On Gladys hip-checking him in the samba: Yeah, that was the idea — She’d been waiting for a dance like this. I wanted to give her a chance to really enjoy it then. She turned around and she smashed me out of the way and then the focus was on her and she got to bust away that way. I wanted her to take the applause at the end for how well she’d done it. This whole journey is about Gladys learnin’ how to dance, and me dancin’ with a star.
I think this dance itself was the perfect dance for her, maybe like the cha cha was the first week. The song (“Fever” in Spanish) — it’s a great song all right, but when we got it first, the edit that we got, it wasn’t something that we liked in the sense that it was just a really bare song. There wasn’t too much in it instrument-wise. So the fact that we were out of town made it a lot more difficult as well. When we got there this mornin’ was actually the first time we heard the song as it was. So it was a nice surprise when we got in to see the meat behind it. The way we’d heard it, it wasn’t a song that made you want to dance.
On touring in the South all week: Last week, in all fairness, it was a bit of a nightmare. I think I was in the air more than I was on the ground. I had like eight or nine flights last week. It was a lot of travelin’ around on both of our sides. It was a tough one but it was an obstacle put in our way — just like everybody else having the injuries they have. To get to watch her perform her show and know that she’s just had whatever amount of hours of rehearsin’ or travelin’ — to see it not affect the way she does it is a credit to her professionalism. That’s something that I as an entertainer, as a performer, want to learn from.
On Thursday — it may have been Friday — I had two flights in the morning and then we had a two-hour bus journey together, then we rehearsed and then I had two flights that night. That was the worst day of the week. But like I said, when you finish the dance after tongiht, and you see her reaction to the dance, and you see everyone else’s and the judges’ reaction as well, it’s all worthwhile, know what I mean? You don’t think about all the travelin’. So we got through it.
Big plans for Motown Week? First of all, it’s going to be a great night. It’s excitin’. I mean, Motown is superb, know what I mean? To be part of Motown Week in itself is great, but to be part of Motown Week with a Motown legend, for me, is even better. My plan would be to hopefully get somethin’ along the lines of this week. I want to dance to somethin’ fast. Everyone’s sayin’ well you’ve’ done a lot of ballroom dances, stuff like that — maybe we have done a lot of ballroom dances. So there’s a method to that madness, ’cause the tree is fallin’ down now. So what you want to do is get through all those ballroom dances and get to this stage of the competition. Well then you have your fast dances and your fun dances you want to perform. That’s what I want — another fast one where we can entertain people and where Gladys can kind of let loose a little bit. Unfortunately we can’t pick ones out and which songs we want. We’ll probably get a slow one!
Thoughts on spray tanning? Uhhhh, no, no, I don’t like getting ’em done. I tell ya, I did get it done once, on my very first show with the Troupe. We came in, they were like all right, spray tan person’s here. Oh my God, a nightmare. I got it done because my naivete said you have to do everything you’re told when you’re here. So I got it done the first week, and then — can’t remember who it was — told me “Are you serious?” So I haven’t had it done since then and I have no intention of gettin’ it done. It already annoys me that they put makeup on you for the show. But that’s television, I guess. Yeah, spray tans are not for me.
Maks claims he doesn’t do it. Is he for real? He’s always complained about them as much as I have, so. He just might have a really white body, so they need to put makeup on him. That’s what it is!
Reader question! What do you miss most about Ireland, the Superquinn sausages or the Tayto crisps? –Christine O’Mahony Ohhhhhhhh. For me, the Superquinn sausages are the best. Tayto crisps are beautiful as well. But funny, I don’t actually eat Tayto crisps until Christmastime. You know what, I don’t really know why that is. But I always remember when I was small, we’d go out for like Stephen’s Day and stuff, we’d have a box of Tayto crisps. It reminds me of Christmas. Tayto crisp sandwiches. Yeah, just like bread, butter, and Tayto crisps. Yeah, Tayto crisp sandwiches. Unbelievable. Tayto cheese and onion crisps!
But you can’t beat Superquinn sausages. Ohhhhhhh, Superquinn sausages are unbelievable. I love ’em. You get yourself a batch loaf, put a bit of butter on that and just go to town on it. Superquinn sausages.
So, I miss both of those. But I mean, if someone was like, here, you can pick one thing — and you’re stuck somewhere and that’s all you can eat — it’s definitely Superquinn sausages over Tayto crisps. I don’t know if the person who’s askin’ is from Ireland or America, but if they’re from Ireland they know about Irish milk as well. Totally different. I miss Irish milk. Probably not as much as Superquinn sausages. Irish milk is unbelievable. I was thinkin’ about it the other day because someone gave me this skim milk, it was like water.
Good question! It makes me want Superquinn sausages right now. I’ll get me Mam to bring some over. Ohhhhh, she won’t be able to smuggle them into the country, will she?
As told to Annie Barrett — more next week!