One of the best things about working in television is sometimes getting to interview the people you watch on the shows you love. I recently got to speak with Peta Murgatroyd, one the pros from ABCâ€™s Dancing with the Stars. Like all the dancers on the show, she is a World Champion. She is one of the newer dancers and I feel like we are just starting to know her. Last season, she was paired with NBA star Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest. Unfortunately, they were the first to be eliminated, so we didnâ€™t really have a chance to see her in action. This season, however, she’s paired with Green Bay Packer, Donald Driver. And they’re in the semi-finals. I had a short time to speak with the New Zealander because (hello!) she needed to rehearse so they can get themselves in the finals for next week.
TV Goodness: How did you get involved with Dancing with the Stars?
Peta: Well, I actually came over to L.A. to pursue an acting career in 2010, at the start the year. I just sort of fell into it really. Burn the Floor — I was involved in it. Itâ€™s a touring dance show and [we] performed on Dancing with the Stars. I think it was Season 9. And they actually liked me and then took me backstage and interviewed me quickly on camera. And from then on they were asking me to get involved with the show for a year and I couldnâ€™t do it because I was still on tour. And then I took them up on their offer.
TV Goodness: How is it working with Donald this season?
Peta:Â Itâ€™s amazing. He truly is a gentleman. And he really wants to win this thing. Heâ€™s the perfect partner: heâ€™s dedicated, willing to put in the hours and just wants to win. Heâ€™s so competitive.
TV Goodness: This is more for me because Iâ€™m curious, how do you deal with the height issue?
Peta: I had more of an issue last year with Ron Artest who is 6’7″. But Donald is actually, I think heâ€™s only 6â€™1″. It actually works out well because Iâ€™m 5â€™7″ and I put on 3-inch heels. Yeah, so it works well.
TV Goodness: What is the most difficult thing about being a part of the show?
Peta: Sometimes yes, itâ€™s rehearsal time, itâ€™s very strenuous and it shows up more on your body. Itâ€™s more mentally draining then anything because youâ€™re teaching all the time, youâ€™re not necessarily going full out for the whole day. Itâ€™s more mentally draining, constantly repeating yourself over and over again. Another thing I would say are music choices because sometimes you donâ€™t get your music choices. I havenâ€™t had any of my choices put through this seasonâ€¦sometimes itâ€™s difficult with what you get. And you have to work with it. You try to please everybody: the people at home, producers, that sort of thing.
TV Goodness: How are you guys getting ready for the semi-finals?
Peta: Putting in lots of hours. Iâ€™m at the studio now. Weâ€™ve worked from mid-day today, we are doing an interview now and then we are going to go back and finish up until about 10:00 tonight. Weâ€™re working hard and just making sure that everything is perfected.
TV Goodness: How many dances do you have this week?
Peta: Two, the waltz and the Samba
TV Goodness: And how is that when you have to do multiple dances in less than a week?
Peta: Itâ€™s really difficult because the first thing is to get the first one, which is Wednesday and then Thursday you do the second one. And Friday, hopefully everything is coming together. You have two more days left. It is stressful to work out how to prioritize the time to work on different dances. And the dances are so different too. Like waltz and samba are two completely different genres of dance; you can be all hyped up in the samba and then you have to calm it down and slow down waltz, which is difficult.
TV Goodness: In the future is there a celebrity that you would like to be paired with?
Peta: Hmmm, I would probably say Ryan Gosling or Kellan Lutz (laughs)
TV Goodness: Um, oh yeah I got it.
Peta: Yeah, I think you get it.
TV Goodness: What are you doing after the show wraps for the season?
Peta: I have some teaching things on. I have multiple shows, like events, some personal appearances. And just working with brands to create spokesperson deals and stuff like that. Iâ€™ve got a lot going on.
TV Goodness: Do you know if you are coming back next season?
Peta: You know, they donâ€™t tell you. You donâ€™t know until a couple of days before.
TV Goodness: Are you going to be participating at all in the show in Vegas?
Peta: I donâ€™t know yet. Maybe I will do like a weekend there, but I havenâ€™t been told anything yet.
TV Goodness: What has been your favorite moment of this season?
Peta: Um, let me see. There have been so many good moments. Itâ€™s hard toâ€¦.. there are so many expectations. The first week we did the Cha Cha and it was so amazing adrenaline rush when he and I went out there, it was the best feeling I had on the Dancing with the Stars stage.
TV Goodness: He [Donald] was great the first week…
Peta: Yeah, he was amazing Then with the Paso Doble when we gotâ€¦..that was pretty cool too.
TV Goodness: How did you like [last week] when they put in a third person?Â I like that as a viewer and was wondering how you felt about it.
Peta: You liked it or you didnâ€™t?
TV Goodness: Oh, I like it. I loved it. I thought it was really cool.
Peta: Oh cool! I loved it too. I think it was a great dynamic to the show. And to bring all the other ones back, all pros back to it was really nice to work with them all again. You know itâ€™s nice to bounce ideas off someone else as well and have a different energy in the room. I think it was a great idea. Everyone had so much fun to be in the group.
TV Goodness: Yeah, and everyone one did extremely well too.
Peta: Yeah, it was a great idea. I applaud the producers for thinking about that one!
TV Goodness: As you go into the semi-finals, who do you think is your biggest competition?
Peta:Â Hmm, you know I really think everyone. I know thatâ€™s a really generalized answer. Everyone has something to offer.
TV Goodness: Actually I was going to say, this is the first season since Iâ€™ve been watching that there wasnâ€™t one front runner, there were a few. I thought Donald was. I thought Sherri would be, but they voted her out so early, then Katherine blew everyone away. And obviously thereâ€™s William.Â Iâ€™ve never seen anyone scream like that for a person.
Peta: I know right? Itâ€™s going to come down to the fans at the end and really rally around their person. Itâ€™s really going to come to the fan vote.
TV Goodness: Is there anything you would want to say to fans about the show?
Peta: Yeah, keep watching, keep supporting. Vote for Donald and I.
TV Goodness: Youâ€™re so close to the finals, how do you feel about it at this point?…I think that Donald is doing amazing.
Peta: Yeah, he proves himself every week. And he can play every character that I throw at him. Heâ€™s amazing. I think he would make a great actor. Itâ€™s really going to come down to perfecting his technique at the end of the day. Because I know every time we go out there he performs. I really need to hone in on his foot work, his frame for the ballroom numbers. And I always let him be himself when he is out there. I think that is what people like. They can see the Donald Driver on the stage, not a waxed up character I try to put him into. I think thatâ€™s it.
Thank you to Peta and Dancing with Stars!
The DWTS semi-finals are this week with the finals airing next week — the performances are live on Monday May 21 at 8/7c and the Mirror Ball trophy is handed out Tuesday May 22 live at 9/8c on ABC.
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