Ballroom dancing pro and amateur leprechaun Tristan MacManus will be checking in with EW.com each week as he and partner Gladys Knight go for the coveted mirrorball trophy.
On Motown Night: This was a reuinion of sorts for Gladys. Berry Gordy came, which was unreal. I got to meet him tonight, and Duke, the one who’s left in the Four Tops. The Temptations then, some of the Supremes, and of course Martha Reeves and Smokey Robinson. Such a good tribute to Motown. It was unreal to dance to the real artists singing the songs. Everyone has fond memories of Motown and dancing to Motown. It’s inspired so many people.
On the “My Girl” rumba: We were hoping for a faster dance but the rumba’s what we got. We got a great song, and we got to dance to the Temptations. I was annoyed by some of the comments the judges made. They put me in a fierce bad mood afterwards. What Bruno said about wanting a more steamy dance — I thought that was stupid. It wasn’t about being steamy and hot, and no one wants to see me steamy with Gladys.
I don’t think it was appropriate. They said, well maybe you’re not the best dancer, and things needed to be more steamy. Being steamy doesn’t make anyone a better dance either, does it? That’s just a gimmick. I think a lot of it is about performance. That’s what really annoyed me. It was a tribute to Motown and that’s what we did. So the way we took the rumba was that the passionate side and the love that you’re supposed to portray in rumba, that was directed towards Motown. It should have been marked on the dance and not marked on flamboyance.
Chelsie and Roshon were underscored immensely for what they’d done. I thought they were great, know what I mean? There just needs to be consistency somewhere and there definitely needs to be a bit of common sense in places as well. So as much as people are saying about Len, he’s this and he’s that — he knew that the appropriateness of what should have happened tonight, and Bruno and Carrie Ann should have known that as well.
On that purple suit: The funny thing was, I wanted to try to put Gladys in as many colors as possible, and she really liked purple. The Temps wore purple all the time. So that’s how I stole that costume. If you put in “The Temptations My Girl” it goes to the song on YouTube [embedded below] — you can see even from the movie that they have purple suits. The whole look itself was, again, part of the tribute. My look was David Ruffin’s, the lead singer on this song. That was the look that he had, they were his glasses and stuff.
Have you ever worn glasses? No, no, never worn glasses before. I hate wearin’ sunglasses, to be honest with you. You don’t need sunglasses in Ireland. People wear ’em here, at night, like in clubs. What’s the point of wearing glasses if you don’t have to wear glasses?
Why were you cracking up like a maniac after Maks danced? I’ll tell you what happened — we were messin’ around and they tried to get us to come over and sit on the other bench. And we made it onto the other bench just as Maks came up the stairs and the bench nearly went down over us. So I nearly fell on me ass. The whole thing went backwards so that’s what we were laughing about. And Maks always has a crack with Gladys anyway. I think Maks heard me say “ass” and he must have started shaking it. I think Melissa’s getting better each week. They’re having some great dances.
On their chances of staying: I guess there’s a strong possibility we’ll be in the Dance Duel. But it doesn’t really matter. Think of it this way: Gladys opened the show, so if we end up in the Dance Duel Gladys will close the show as well. I think that would be a tribute in itself. The Motown legend would open and close Motown week. I love dancing for people and Gladys loves dancing for people. It’s not a stressful thing. It’s something to enjoy. It would be worse if tonight’s dance ended up being her last one. At least with this Dance Duel — even if people don’t like it — it’s a chance to say farewell, then. It’ll be a jive. So we’ll go in in the morning and do that.
Reader question from Laura: How many times did you climb Bray Head as a child? Oh, all the time. Almost every day. My mom lives just down the road from it [in county Wicklow, Ireland]. The very end of me mom’s road is the back entrance to Bray Head. Usually climb it when I get home. Funny, last year we were away at a USO tour in Germany and Chelsie came over to Ireland for a couple of days. She was on the show with us, so she actually climbed up Bray Head as well. Bray is where I live, it’s a seaside resort. It’s a nice place to walk up there and stuff, on the coast. There’s crosses along on top of it. Put Bray Head in google now, it’ll take you there. That’s where I live.
Reader question from Christy: Do you have any idea how smoking hot you are? (Laughs) Cheers.
Reader question from Daniella: What would you be if you weren’t a dancer? I don’t really know, ’cause I am, you know? I know when I’m not dancing and I go home, I usually work with my dad, who’s an electrician. So I do stuff like that. I used to be a landscape gardener. I loved that job. But I’d like to be involved with entertainment. Singing or something, I guess.
Maybe you and Gavin DeGraw can start a crossover reality show involving dancing AND singing. That’d be unbelievable. I was trying to convince him to let me sing with him. He’s a good bloke, Gavin. We’ll keep in touch now and see. Who knows?
As told to Annie Barrett. See Annie’s embarrassingly bad impression of Tristan here!