Full Name: Carrie Ann Inaba
Dance Style: Unknown
Choreographer, Japanese pop star, and Fly Girl — Carrie Ann Inaba could be entertainment's ultimate Renaissance Woman.
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Carrie grew up dancing the hula, singing in the school choir, and playing the piano and violin. Overachieve, much?
When she was just 16, Carrie Ann was discovered by a talent scout to appear on Japanese television's Teen Idol singing competition. Inaba waited until she finished high school and then left Hawaii to pursue her career as a musical artist in Japan. During her time in Japan, Carrie Ann released three singles with Pony Canyon Records while attending university in Tokyo.
After two years living in Japan, Carrie Ann returned to the United States and relocated to California. She studied choreography at the University of California, Irvine, but soon moved to Los Angeles to study with Alexandre Magno at the Debbie Reynolds Studios in North Hollywood, California.
Count J. Lo among her past co-workers! One of Inaba's first jobs was as a Fly Girl dancer for the Emmy Award-winning television comedy show, In Living Color. She's also danced alongside Madonna, Ricky Martin, David Copperfield, Chayanne, and appeared as a dancer on several shows such as The Creative Arts Emmys, The SAG Awards, The NAACP Awards, The MTV Awards, and The Oprah Winfrey Show among others.
As a judge, Carrie Ann is known for being "refreshingly blunt and sassy with her dancing critiques."
Controversy surrounds Inaba's qualifications as a judge on Dancing with the Stars, though. DWTS pro Tony Dovolani told People magazine that Inaba is ill-equipped to call out the illegal lifts which the former Fly Girl frequently criticizes: "She does not understand what ballroom dancing is. She’s never done it herself. She’s the inappropriate judge to pick on the lifts," says Dovolani. "She does not have a ballroom background. She really comes from the hip-hop world. While we have the utmost respect for her as a dancer—it's not as a ballroom dancer." Yowza! Well, we still love you, Carrie Ann!
In addition to her current role as one of the three main DWTS judges, Carrie Ann was also a co-host for Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann, alongside fellow judge Bruno Tonioli.
Inaba appeared briefly in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, and was later cast as Fook Yu in the sequel, Austin Powers in Goldmember. Much to our dismay, Inaba later reprised the Fook Yu role with Mike Myers in a commercial for Motorola. Inaba has acted (usually as a dancer) in the movies Monster Mash: The Movie, Lord of Illusions, Showgirls, Boys and Girls, The Flintstones II, Freak, and American Virgin, and the television series Jack & Jill and Nikki. Other TV appearances include Inaba as guest and co-host on The View, and the FOX special Breaking the Magician's Code: Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.
Inaba has choreographed several television series, including American Idol, American Juniors, All American Girl, He's a Lady, In Search of the Partridge Family, Married, and the he short feature film, Black Water. She also appeared in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance during the audition stages where she provided choreography for the choreography round.
Aside from her choreography, Inaba also owns a digital video production company, EnterMediArts, Inc., which has produced two of her documentaries and a short film to date.