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“DWTS” Debrief: With Kellie Pickler

You don’t have to have the dance knowledge of Len Goodman to see that Kellie Pickler is one of the early standouts of this season’s Dancing With the Stars cast. Simply put, she has dazzled us with nearly every step. And her ridiculously in-shape body is as captivating as her fluid moves. In the first of our regular chats with Kellie, we check in with the country star to deconstruct this week’s Dancing action.

First things first: Contestant Dorothy Hamill shockingly bowed out this week because of a recurring back injury. Were you surprised?
I was devastated. She is one of the cast members that I feel l’ve gotten the closest to. When my husband [songwriter Kyle Jacobs] was out here we all had dinner. I just had so many intimate and sweet conversations with her and she’s so kind, endearing and such a strong woman. None of us had a clue that she was planning to leave the competition for health reasons. We were all completely shocked.

How has the experience been so far?
It’s been so much fun. But we rehearse every day and it’s very grueling. We have no say over our dance style; they tell us each week what we’ll be dancing next. They give us the music and [my partner, Derek Hough] creates the choreography based on the music. All the professional dancers have been dancing their whole life. And they’re trying to teach us everything they know in a week! Which is impossible. But I think that’s the thing that makes the show so great, watching everybody learn and struggle through it, and then get out there and do it anyway.

What was your own dancing background?
I was a cheerleader. I cheered when I was in seventh grade and in my sophomore and junior year in high school. It’s been quite some time, and cheerleading is a lot different than ballroom dancing. But the thing that has helped me the most, my greatest strength, is my flexibility.

Do you do yoga?
I have in the past. But I stretch all the time. I bounce all over the place. People that know me know that it’s not bizarre for us to be talking and I just start doing lunges or toe-touches.

How much do you contribute to the choreography?
I’ll goof off a lot and Derek will go, “Ooh, I like that. Let’s put that in there.” He tries to choreograph the routine based on what I can do. We’re going to try different things and then we’re going to pick whatever complements me the most. Because not everybody bends a certain way.

Are you and Wynonna bonding?
I’m so glad I have another country girl out here. She’s country royalty. She is someone that I admire and I look up to as well. She has an incredible story and is such a strong woman. I think she represents the women in country music and women in general. And she’s so funny.

What’s next week’s dance?
Jive, and it’s really fast. It’s not going to show my strengths, it’s going to show my weaknesses! But that’s part of the show.





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