The show must go on
Kym Johnson and Adam Garcia share some Dancing With The Stars mis- steps with Debbie Schipp
IN more than a decade as a Dancing With
The Stars professional partner in both Australia and the US, Kym Johnson has rarely put a foot wrong on the dance floor.
So it’s a little ironic that in her debut as a judge, a comical verbal mis- step became one of the funniest and memorable moments of
Dancing With The Stars’s 2013 Australian season.
The moment Johnson couldn’t hope would end quickly enough and which fellow rookie judge Adam Garcia still can’t stop laughing about came when Olympic gold medal pole vaulter Steve Hooker took the floor clad only in a business shirt, socks and underwear a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
As she began her post- performance judge assessment, Johnson unconsciously picked up a verbal shovel and started digging.
“It began with me congratulating him on having the balls to do it, and just got worse,” Johnson laughingly remembers.
“Everything I said after that was just a double entendre that just got me in deeper, and then of course Todd [ McKenney] and Adam were almost howling with laughter. “I just wanted to crawl under the desk.” As the likeable Garcia remembers: “Kym didn’t just put her foot in her mouth she swallowed the whole centipede.
“She was saying words completely normal for judging ‘ tackling problems’, ‘ performance package’ and it was just descending into hilarious,” Garcia says.
“Without Kym’s knowledge, the comedy stars had aligned over her and were beaming down.
“It was brilliant. It was hectic. I don’t think she can be beaten.”
Garcia and Johnson agree it’s a moment that sums up their experience in their first season on the DWTS judging panel alongside Helen Richey and Todd McKenney.
“It kind of sums up everything about why I wanted to be part of the show,” says Garcia – a former Tap Dog turned actor, who made his name in Hollywood for famously getting his gear off in a raunchy scene from the chick flick
Coyote Ugly almost 20 years ago. “DWTS is a bit of an Australian TV institution. Viewers love it because it features elements of the celebrities they like to read about, and the double- edged sword that it could either go horribly wrong or they could be great. It celebrates great stuff and has a laugh at the bad. It’s just in this case it was a judge they were having a laugh at.”
For both Johnson and Garcia, the move from professional dancer to judge was easy in terms of knowledge, but at times had them itching to get back onto the floor themselves.
“In the beginning I felt myself moving in the seat and felt like I was dancing every step with the contestants,” says Johnson, ahead of Tuesday night’s DWTS grand final.
“When they weren’t doing well I’d be moving, almost willing them to do better. I think I danced every move with some of them.” Garcia says it’s been a season of surprises. “The beauty of the show is the progress the celebrities make,” he says.
“I’m a professional dancer, so my brain’s wired to learn choreography quickly and, initially, the celebrities struggle with that muscle of retention – it’s like an actor learning lines.
“For these guys, it’s like learning a new language.”
Some have learned that language better than others.
“It was obvious from the first performance that Rhiannon [ Fish] could dance. With Tina [ Arena] I didn’t know what to expect, I know she’s a singing superstar but to watch her grow in confidence every week dancing was so impressive,” says Johnson.
“But Libby [ Trickett] was the ultimate surprise package.
“Normally female athletes don’t tend to do well but she broke the mould.”
Hopes Garcia and Johnson might ditch judging duties to perform as part of the DTWS finale have been ruled out, but the pair are working on “a little something” for a charity gig that will see them dance together before they head back to their respective UK and US bases.
“We’re putting something together for a charity function that won’t be on TV,” Garcia says.
“I’ve not done much partner dancing, but I’m happy for her to do all the work and then let me look like I’m leading.”