When the Dancing With the Stars 2013 cast was announced, many fans were shocked at how many experienced dancers are competing in Season 17. Among the buzzy names was Glee’s Amber Riley, who has sang and danced on the hit Fox show for four seasons, though isn’t notorious for being a dancing queen.

When Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with her co-star Harry Shum Jr. at the SEGA Go Dance video game launch on September 5, we got down to the nitty gritty of her skills. Though he says she’s a “natural” and that “this girl can dance,” it doesn’t mean she has a big advantage. As he explains, she’s still “taking full force” in rehearsals, even calling on him for some advice!

Read on for our chat with Harry, then hit the comments with what you think about Amber and pro partner Derek Hough!

Wetpaint Entertainment: Amber is on Dancing With the Stars this season. How excited are you for her?

Harry Shum Jr.: I’m so excited! She told me a while ago and was like, “Keep it hush-hush! Don’t tell anyone! They haven’t announced it!”


Credit: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Photo: Harry Shum Jr. at SEGA Go Dance Launch on Sept. 5, 2013 in NYC

I’m surprised you didn’t spoil it on Twitter!

I know, I should have tweeted it to everyone! But I’d get her in trouble. I’m so excited for her. She’s been one of those, even during the span of the show, she’s been one of those cast members who I’m like, “This girl can dance.” It’s a matter of the show that some choreography doesn’t allow people to showcase certain things, and I’m so glad [she can now]. She has a great partner; Derek Hough is the perfect partner for her.

Derek is a four-time champion!

Exactly! So, I’m just foreshadowing that she can do that. I always said — and I even wrote on Twitter — that she can utilize how she is able to sing and what she has been able to do with singing and use it in dance. She has the natural ability to sing, but I think she also has a natural ability to dance, too, and she’s going to surprise herself. So, I’m really excited! I’m going to be there to watch, so it’s really cool.

Have you helped her prepare for the season at all yet?

I haven’t. I know that she has been going and taking dance classes and stuff, and she calls me and texts me about some things and shows me little video clips, like, “What should I work on?” I say like her hands and all that stuff. So it’s great. She’s really taking full force with this and trying to get all the details before she starts competing.

Do you think Amber and Derek could win DWTS? Sound off below!