One of our favorite members of the Dancing With the Stars troupe is Sasha Farber. In an exclusive interview with Wetpaint Entertainment, Sasha shared his thoughts on which couples are the strongest heading into the Season 15, Week 4: Performance show (October 15), and what to expect from Kym Johnson and Tristan MacManus’s highly anticipated return to the ballroom.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Which of the new styles are you most excited to see next week?
Sasha Farber: I think my favorite is going to be contemporary. That's going to be great. I love seeing people do contemporary, and especially when it's not one of the dances that a lot of people are familiar with. But I'm actually excited to see all of them, because it's really thinking outside the box for a lot of the pros and a lot of the celebrities.
And who do you think will have the hardest time with their style?
I think everyone is so on top of their game this season that its really hard to pick who's going to have the hardest time out of all of them.
My favorite would have definitely been the Broadway one. Unfortunately [Helio Castroneves and Chelsie Hightower] are out of the competition, so it sucks. He was so good. Every week I was looking forward to seeing him, and Chelsie's an amazing dancer. It's such a shame. People really have to vote to get people through, because the standard's so high. Even Kym Johnson and Joey [Fatone]. He was another amazing dancer, a great asset to the show. It's unfortunate people didn't vote, which is horrible.
We were so upset about Helio. We really wanted to see him do Broadway!
It would have suited him so well, because of his character, and maturity, and ability to dance, and the look of him. It would have been really, really exciting to watch.
It would be cool if they let him do it during a results show.
That would be pretty exciting. I think they should bring a lot of people back. I saw David Arquette the other night. We were just talking, I thought "ah, it would be so cool if they brought him back, did a number with the troupe." Or even bringing back — Joey's definitely going to come back, because he's such an icon. And the last Quickstep he did was amazing. That was like Broadway worthy.
Speaking of people coming back, we were bummed Tristan was out first. Will we be seeing him again?
You're definitely going to be seeing him. Don't know if I can say too much, but yes. He'll be doing an appearance coming up soon. It was just such a shame that Tristan and Pam[ela Anderson] left the competition. This competition is about seeing someone grow, and Pam just missed out; we didn't really give her a chance to see her grow.
Obviously, there have already been a number of shocking eliminations. How has that affected the mood backstage? Is it affecting the way the stars and pros are approaching the competition?
Mondays are their favorite days, that's for sure. I think everyone's such a tight group, and everyone's in rehearsals — everyone's always inside the studios working really, really hard. The eliminations are always the worst part. Everyone's so good. Week 3 — you take that back a couple of seasons, and that would definitely be a grand final performance. The dancing is so, so high. So that someone could go, and especially last week with the two eliminations, it's scary. In the middle of the [results] show, someone went home. But as they say, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
Who do you think is the team to beat this year?
Shawn [Johnson] and Derek [Hough] are pretty, pretty good. They're actually awesome. They used some of the troupe in their [Week 3] number. We were playing the saxophone, and Derek was like "listen guys, you've really got to get into it!" In dress rehearsal I got really into this saxaphone, which nearly took my eye out! But yeah, Derek and Shawn are definitely ones to beat.
Oh, and Apolo [Anton Ohno] and Karina [Smirnoff], they also did an amazing job.
He really brought his sexy.
That's what I mean! Everyone's at such a level, and everyone's doing these amazing ideas.
Emmitt [Smith] and Cheryl [Burke]’s another couple that's going amazing. He's such a nice guy, and such a down to earth guy. We always have so much fun. But he's such a hard worker. He's a sportsman. It's his normal life, coming into the studio, training, getting better each day. I guess some people who aren't sportsmen, when they go into the studio, it's hard for them to see themselves improving because they're like, they're not "awesome." But coming into a studio, and leaving sweating, saying "yep, I know what I did wrong" — next day, that's going to be better.
We've been really impressed by Melissa and Tony.
Oh, yes! That was another awesome, awesome performance. Melissa [Rycroft] is amazing. She was extra, extra nervous before going on [during Week 3], which was quite funny. The trick at the start that Tony [Dovolani] choreographed was a real crowd pleaser, and she is a phenomenal dancer. The way she uses her feet and the extensions of her body. She really, really tells a story with her body.
Oh, and Gilles [Marini] and Peta [Murgatroyd]. They really create chemistry together, because they're actually the perfect body size for each other. And the way he moves. His passion, his form, his extension, his lines, are spot on.
Another one, Kelly [Monaco] and Val [Chmerkovskiy]. They're also a couple to not miss out on. I mean, the passion that she had [during her Paso] was first class, really. You would see that on a major competition floor.
Given the eliminations so far, and the fact that this is the All-Stars season, has that upped the level of competition backstage?
Everyone's close, and they're all such good friends, but definitely the competition is lifted by a lot because everyone is so good. Everyone is trying to outdo everyone. It's a really healthy competition. Everyone is friends until they hit the dance floor, and then as soon as they get off the dance floor it's back to being one big happy family. Which is the best part. I love that. But the work that these guys put in is incredible. It really is sometimes a 10 hour, 12 hour day in the studio.
How do you think the addition of the .5 scores is working out?
I think it's definitely spiced things up. It's not an extra point, but it's just that little extra that could slip you over the edge to beat that next competitor. I think it's interesting, and it mixes things up, and it's different. I don't think any other show has tried that.
Is there anything exciting coming up for the troupe?
I can't say too much, but the troupe has done so many amazing things already this season. It was fun, we got to be part of so many numbers last week. We're getting to be a part of a lot of dances, which is awesome. They're using the troupe really, really good this season.
Is there any chance we'll see a repeat of the trio dances from last year?
I would love for them to do that, because it gives the troupe a chance, if the professionals chose them — I was lucky that Chelsie picked me last season. It gives another dimension to the partnership. They're just used to two people dancing, but when you add that third one you really make it involved between those three people.
And you were recently on DWTS in India. Can you tell us about that?
Emma [Slater] and I went, actually, and it was such an experience. We got there, and we didn't know what to expect. It was kind of amazing. We were pros there, and we choreographed a week's dance. When we walked in to meet our celebrity I was like "okay, so who is she, can I have a quick background?" and I got the email saying "Your celebrity is a comedian," and I was like "yes!" As soon as I walked in the room I loved it, because we had so much fun. My way of teaching is you always have to have fun, because if you're not having fun, there's no point in doing it.
And it went down really, really well in India. I couldn't believe the response that we had. I mean, the fans there are amazing. They still send presents, and a lot of them would email, and some of the letters they sent were just amazing. I really really really had a good time.
It's amazing how far DWTS has spread.
Well, it's amazing. It's in every country. It's such a big show, and it's doing so, so well. The greatest part is, America is the benchmark. But that I mean, if America changes the set, you see a lot of the countries change the set. I think America has it exactly the way it should be. It's got it so right, that everyone else wants to be, I think, where the American DWTS crew is. It's got the formula and equation perfect.
Catch a new episode of Dancing With the Stars Season 15: All-Stars on Monday, October 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.
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