THE LAST WORD... ‘… If we crit­i­cise some­body who’s got one leg un­der­dog’ we look like we’re bash­ing the

WITH DANC­INGWITHTHES­TARS JUDGE TODD McKEN­NEY

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - TODAY'S PICK - WithAn­drewFen­ton

“THERE have been some dif­fi­cult times [judg­ing on Danc­ing With The Stars] – we had to re­ally think a cou­ple of times on how we ap­proached things. Like [Par­a­lympian) Ger­rard Gosen, the blind dancer was one ex­am­ple of that. He is do­ing some­thing ex­tra­or­di­nary as a blind man tak­ing on danc­ing, hav­ing never seen danc­ing in his whole life. “We had to dis­cover how hon­est we can be about some­body who is ob­vi­ously coura­geous and that was re­ally dif­fi­cult. It put us in a bet­ter po­si­tion, cer­tainly He­len [Richey] and I, to judge [Par­a­lympian] Kelly [Cartwright] this se­ries who is danc­ing with a pros­thetic leg. It’s re­ally hard [to judge fairly] be­cause ev­ery­one does have to be judged by the same guide­lines. [Both celebri­ties] said they didn’t want any favours. (But] you’ve got peo­ple in this se­ries like [ My Kitchen Rules con­tes­tant] Ash Pol­lard who is just an in­cred­i­ble dancer up against some­one like Kelly who’s got that mas­sive chal­lenge of danc­ing with only one leg that can bend and point and all the things we need in danc­ing so what we tend to do now is to sep­a­rate each con­tes­tant and judge them in their own – and I hate the word – but … jour­ney, rather than one against the other.

I’m abun­dantly con­scious of [the so­cial media army]. We are in a hard place be­cause our job is to cri­tique and we un­der­stand that if we put any level of crit­i­cism on some­body who’s got one leg … we are go­ing to look like we’re bash­ing the un­der­dog, no mat­ter what we do. And that army comes out in full force, but I would chal­lenge them to sit in our po­si­tion and have to do it them­selves, live on na­tional tele­vi­sion.

I do get wind of how dif­fi­cult it is [to find celebri­ties for the show]. The celebri­ties around town know how much work it is if you want to come out of it look­ing great and I think that narrows down the pool. You can’t fake it. You can’t learn it sit­ting in a plane, in a cab on one job to another, it’s hours on the dance floor. So I think word is out it’s a re­ally hard gig.

Fun­nily enough [ Danc­ing With The Stars] is one of the eas­i­est gigs of the week for me be­cause I can’t pre­pare for it ex­cept know what songs they’re danc­ing to. I’ve got no rea­son to leave, I love it, I think it cel­e­brates dance and also what it does for what I call my real job is enor­mous in get­ting au­di­ences to the theatre to ba­si­cally see if I can re­ally do any­thing.

With that comes the added pres­sure of hav­ing to pull out a good per­for­mance be­cause I’m well aware of be­ing in a glasshouse on a Sun­day night crit­i­cis­ing peo­ple’s favourite celebri­ties so I’m go­ing to have to be pretty sharp when I hit the stage my­self. I can’t af­ford to slack off.” DANC­ING WITH THE STARS SUN­DAY, 8PM, SEVEN

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