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'Dancing With the Stars': An injured Misty May-Treanor, and a chat with Lance Bass

October 6, 2008 | 12:59 pm

Fans, this seems already to have been a perilous season for "DWTS" dancers. First, Jeffrey Ross sustained a scratched cornea, forcing him to wear an eyepatch during his brief stay on the show. Second, pro Karina Smirnoff twisted her ankle and had to sport an Ace bandage that was at least two shades lighter than her spray tan. And now comes word that Misty May-Treanor suffered an ankle injury -- not a broken ankle, as some reports claimed -- and her status is uncertain. We'll get an update on tonight's show.

In happier news, today I interviewed Lance Bass during a break between his rehearsals.

K7f33mnc 1. How did you end up on 'Dancing With the Stars'?

They asked me this season, and because Joey [Fatone] had been on the show in the past, I’d thought about whether I’d say yes if they ever asked me. I have no idea why they chose me, but I knew from Joey that it would be so much fun. If I hadn’t seen Joey’s experience, it would have scared me, but I knew it would be a lot of fun. Also, the guys in the group ['N Sync] always thought I was the worst dancer, so I guess I wanted to prove I could do it.

2. How does the show go about pairing the stars up with the pros? Why do you think you were paired with Lacey Schwimmer?

I’m not really sure how they do it. The producers have their ways of choosing -– maybe it’s height or personality or whatever. I think part of the reason I ended up with Lacey is that she’s new. Through Joey, I’d gotten to know some of the pros, so this was probably the fairest arrangement. And she’s new and fresh and fun, so it’s been great.

3. Going into the first show, what were you most afraid of? Excited about?

In terms of fears, definitely blanking on live TV –- you don’t want to look like an idiot in front of 20 million people.

The best thing has been getting to know the celebrities and dancers -– they really do become like family. You use different rooms in the same rehearsal space, so you get to see them and spy on them. The hours are long, and then we all hang out after hours –- going out to clubs and dinner -– so you really do become very close.

4. What has been the most surprising thing about the show so far?

I knew it would be long hours and a lot of work, but it is really 24 by 7. You get up early, do interviews starting at 7 in the morning, rehearse, do camera blocking, rehearse again, do more interviews. You never have an early night.

5. Now that you’re three weeks and four dances in, what do you worry about before each show?

Oh, I’m still afraid of looking like an idiot. There’s no room for mistakes, and that can get to you since it’s live and in front of 20 million people. I just try to think of other things before each performance.

6. You and Lacey have distinguished yourselves so far by performing less traditional choreography than the other contestants. How do you approach each dance? What is your overall strategy?

Lacey looks at it on a case-by-case basis and tries to choreograph to the words and the music. On Tuesday nights, you get assigned your dance and your song, so you know what you’re working with. We think about what story we want to tell. This week, we’re doing the Viennese waltz, and we were assigned our first ballad, so we toned it down to show that we could go 100% traditional.

Len [Goodman] is obviously more traditional, whereas Carrie Ann [Inaba] and Bruno [Tonioli] tend to like newer styles more. You have to interest three very different judges, and it can be a hard line to walk.

7. Lacey is new this season. How do you think this affects her approach to the show?

I guess one thing is that she doesn’t know the insiders’ tricks that some of the more experienced pros know in terms of appealing to the various judges, like including just enough traditional parts of a dance. There’s a lot of trial and error. This week we’ve tried to tone it down a bit while keeping the razzle-dazzle that fits our personality.

8. If you had to name one or two things, what do you most need to improve on in your dancing?

Definitely my frame –- I’m not a skinny guy, and keeping my shoulders back and my elbows up in the more traditional dances is tough. After 10 minutes of that, my arms fall asleep.

The hardest dance so far has been the Viennese waltz -– I’m so out of my element. I’m used to more up-tempo and modern dances, and the Viennese waltz requires that everything be slow and precise.

9. If you had to narrow it to two or three couples, who do you think is going to be the toughest competition and why? Is there a dark horse who could surprise us all?

It’s so hard to tell because it’s still so early. The competition is really tough. Warren Sapp is doing great, especially for someone of his size. And Toni Braxton looks amazing.

I think the dark horse would have to be Cody Linley. He’s so young and getting better and better each week. Julianne [Hough] is doing a great job teaching him.

10. What are you working on professionally these days, and how do you think your experience on "DWTS" will affect your career?

I’ve been producing TV and film for the past couple of years, so I’ve been behind the camera. The show has made me realize that I’ve missed being in front of the camera, so it might be fun to see if I could find a sitcom or something else to attach myself to and have a more 9-to-5 job where you go to sleep in the same bed every night. I also plan to continue writing and to keep being creative.

11. Why do you think "DWTS" is so popular?

People love to watch things that are almost impossible. You start out with a group of people who have hardly any experience with dancing, and most get to the level of a professional in a matter of weeks. It’s a blank slate of contestants being taught by the best of the best, and I think people like to watch that.

-- Sarah Rogers

(Photo courtesy ABC)

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