Andrew G steps up
Idol host has a US gig, writes Colin Vickery
ANDREW Gunsberg has the opportunity of a lifetime — and he knows it. Gunsberg, or Andrew G to Aussies who remember him from Australian Idol, has landed the hosting role on US talent show Live to Dance.
Live to Dance’s claim to fame is that it is the new TV vehicle for Paula Abdul, who quit American Idol in 2009.
CBS expects big things from the show. It has programmed it in the prime 8pm Wednesday time slot.
Gunsberg has undergone an image makeover for his new gig: expensive three-piece suits, cropped hair and designer stubble, and not a sign of those blonde tips that were his Idol trademark.
‘‘ It doesn’t get much bigger or more adventurous than this. It’s unreal,’’ Gunsberg says from Los Angeles.
‘‘ Being picked by her (Abdul) to do it (host Live to Dance) — those things don’t come along in one’s career more than once, mate.’’
Live to Dance has got off to a solid, but not spectacular, start in the US. It debuted to more than 10 million viewers on January 4 but dropped to 7.7 million viewers in its second episode.
The show, which is a US version of the UK’s Got to Dance, features Abdul, choreographer Travis Payne and former Pussycat Dolls singer/ dancer Kimberly Watt as judges.
Live to Dance includes dancers of all ages, solo and groups. It features everything from ballet to break dance, tap to tango and urban hip hop.
The winner pockets US$500,000 prize.
‘‘ It ( Live to Dance) is really uplifting to be a part of,’’ Gunsberg says. ‘‘ You want the contestants to succeed. This is what will set it apart (from other talent shows).
‘‘ We have filmed all the audition episodes and after the first couple of hours, when we were getting everyone up dancing, we realised that we were on to something special.
‘‘ The people who are the most successful are not the ones who are so technically proficient — it’s more the people who are going, ‘ my soul is on fire and through my dance you are seeing my pain or joy or love’.’’
Gunsberg is married to Israeli actress and producer Noa Tishby ( In Treatment) and has been based in Los Angeles since the demise of Australian Idol in 2009. The 36-year-old has been hosting The Hot Hits From LA radio show.
‘‘ I was as focused (on getting a US television job) as I’ve ever been on anything in my life,’’ Gunsberg says.
‘‘ The opportunity came up (to audition for Live to Dance) and I was the one who had done seven years of Idol in another country and had everything they needed.
‘‘ I don’t feel any pressure (hosting Live to Dance). I’m just trying to stay focused on doing the very best job I can. If I can do that I’ll be fine.’’
Gunsberg looks back on his time hosting Australian Idol — much of it alongside James Mathison – with great pride.
‘‘ Some people don’t get to do seven episodes of a television show but I got to do seven seasons working on the biggest production values show that existed in Australia.
‘‘ How often in someone’s TV career do they get to host a live national concert spectacular on the steps of the Sydney Opera House?
‘‘ It was a gigantic opportunity. It was like going to school every day.’’ Live to Dance, Fox 8, tonight, 8.30pm Tapping away: Andrew Gunsberg has landed a plum role on US talent show