What is it about the ever-popular Dancing With The Stars show that entices 29 million viewers each week? Is it the ongoing dramas between the professional dancers and the unpredictable stars? Could it be the skimpy costumes that barely stay on with the help of gravity and a prayer or the grumpy judges when they dislike a routine? My guess is the show's formula of showcasing actors, actresses, athletes, comedians, and reality show stars is successful because it offers something for everyone and allows viewers to interact by voting for their favorite stars. I've been dutifully watching, voting, and yelling at judge Len Goodman for years, which is why I jumped at the chance to be on the show on March 25 as a member of the studio audience.
Just a few weeks earlier, we learned that one of our Garden of Life sponsored athletes, Ingo Rademacher, was going to compete on the show with professional partner Kym Johnson. Ingo is an avid paddle board racer with our friends and partners at YOLO Board, but he's also an actor who is best known for his role as Jasper Jax on daytime's General Hospital. I watched him on the soap for 15 years, named my son after his character (Jax, not Jasper!) and saw pictures of his paddle board races, but I had never seen him dance. Needless to say, I didn't have to be asked twice. When Ingo's manager invited me to come to the show and cheer for "Team Ingo," I was on the first plane smokin'!
When I received a list of do's and don'ts for the show, I saw that cocktail attire was required and that no jeans, ball caps or tee shirts with slogans were allowed. I pulled out a pair of five-inch high heels, a sparkly blouse, and frantically googled "extreme makeovers." I ended up with a few fake eyelashes and a spray tan, which was all I had time to do before heading to the West Coast.
At 3:30 p.m. I headed to CBS Television City in Hollywood where the show is taped from 5-7 p.m. Pacific Time. I was given a wrist band at the door and watched in dismay as security guards confiscated everyone's cell phone. We were told we'd get them back after the show, but I suffered intense separation anxiety nonetheless. The mere thought of not being able to text, tweet, Instagram, or pin anything was sheer torture, so I tried not to think about it.
At 4:15 we were ushered into the studio and told that anyone with a wristband had reserved seating. I looked everywhere for a chair with my name on it, but didn't see anything. I finally asked an audience coordinator for help and he pointed to a chair in the front row and said,"there's your seat." I stared at it in disbelief, as it was two inches from the dance floor and next to the stage. At that close proximity, I'd be able to smell the dancers' deodorant! There had to be a mistake, so I asked the coordinator again about my seat, even suggesting there was probably another Rhonda Price. He patiently asked if I was Ingo's guest, so I snapped out of my daze and claimed my spot next to Ingo's friends and family members. His lovely wife, Ehiku, and his four-year-old son, Peanut, were excited because Ingo and Kym were slated to dance the first routine of the night with a quick step.
Finally, the orchestra started playing the show's theme song and the judges and hosts filed out to wild applause. Ingo and Kym looked great in matching black and white costumes and the crowd went crazy when they started the quick step routine. I couldn't believe how many people were jumping up and down and screaming, until I realized I was screaming louder than anyone! Even worse, when Ingo and Kym danced over near my section, I got so excited that I pitched forward in my five-inch heels and realized there was nowhere for me to fall...except the dance floor. I made frantic circling movements with my hands so that I could balance myself and was super relieved to regain my balance. A co-worker watching the show later e mailed me that I looked like I was doing a spastic, Tina Turner Rollin' On a River dance. Whatever. At least tragedy was avoided!
Ingo and Kym received decent scores for week two, with 7's from Len and Bruno and a disappointing 6 from Carrie Ann. They were jubilant at completing their routine with very few flaws and relaxed in the sky box afterwards to watch the other dancers. I enjoyed the other routines as well, from the outrageous Andy Dick dressed as the Mad Hatter to Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler's magical jazz number. Actually it wasn't as magical to me since I watched a stage hand set up a fog machine next to my feet. I did not even think about moving for fear of knocking it over!
The show sped by way too quickly and we had a few minutes to chat with Kym and Ingo before they went through the press line. Ingo admitted he had problems keeping his hat on, but overall they were happy with their performance. Worn out from hours of rehearsing and a YOLO paddle board race earlier in the week, Ingo mentioned several times how much he and his wife were loving all of their Garden of Life supplements. I was so happy to hear this that I immediately wanted to tell the world--but first I had go reclaim my phone!
Dancing With The Stars airs on your local ABC affiliate on Monday nights at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm. Check your local listings or www.ABC.com for more information on the show and how to vote for Ingo and Kym!