What’s ahead and whether he would ever compete on the show himself
By Lie Shia Ong
“Dancing With the stars: All-Stars” is going into its fourth week of competition, and this upcoming week promises to be an interesting one with couples performing a dance selected for them by their peers.
In addition to that new rule change, a celebrity guest judge will be joining regular judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli on Monday night.
MSN TV spoke with Tom Bergeron, the Emmy-winning host of the show, about what’s to come and also about the other show he hosts and the milestone it’s about to celebrate next month.
MSN TV: Congratulations on your recent Emmy win.
Tom Bergeron: Thank you very much.
Did you do anything to celebrate?
Well, my wife and I met up with some of the gang from the show outside the Nokia, one of the restaurant-bars, but I had to make a reasonably early night of it because we had the premiere of the all-star season the very next day, and there’s nothing worse than a hungover live-TV host.
The competition has really been elevated this season. What have you enjoyed most about watching the all-stars compete?
That very thing. This past week was a really good example of what these people bring to the part. It was Week 3 and as I said on the show, it’s more like a finals. I mean, you watch the quality of the dancing and the inventiveness of the productions, but it makes an even tougher situation on Tuesday nights when we eliminate a couple, because you’re looking at such a high standard.
What are your thoughts about the eliminations so far? There have been a couple of surprising ones, wouldn’t you say?
Yeah. Absolutely. This past week in particular was surprising because we said goodbye to two former champions [Drew Lachey and Helio Castroneves]. People who won their seasons gone in Week 3 was certainly a surprise.
There have been some twists and rule changes that have been put into place this season. Do you know of any more that you can tease ahead to?
I do know of others that I cannot tell you about, but good try. Of course, we’ll see how the picking dance style for the other couples plays out Monday when Paula [Abdul] joins us as a guest judge.
How do you think that will turn out? She’s been a judge on “American Idol” and on “The X Factor.” How do you think the transition will be for her coming to ABC for this show?
I don’t know. With Paula you never know, and that’s one of the really exciting things about having her come on board for a week. She was my neighbor. When she was doing “American Idol,” we shot on opposite stages, so her dressing room was right across the hall from mine. We have a long history of giving each other a hard time, which she has promised publicly to continue on the show Monday.
Some of your fans sent in questions they wanted me to ask. Tim wants to know: Do you come up with your own material, or do you have a writing staff?
No. I mostly ad-lib everything you hear. What is scripted on “Dancing” is the stuff that takes us to a commercial and brings us back—things of that nature. But my reactions to what’s going on in the moment are all my reactions.
On that note, Karen wanted to know if you have any tips on ad-libbing because you’re such a master at saying things that are right in the moment.
Thank you. I think listening is key. Look, even I screw up. We tried something new on Tuesday to kind of give different pacing to the who’s in jeopardy and who’s safe. So instead of reading off a card I was just kind of paraphrasing things in my mind, and I wanted to paraphrase a quote from Carrie Ann to talk to the next couple, and as I was thinking of that as I was going to toss to Brooke [Burke], and so I called Brooke Carrie Ann, so there you go! [Laughs] So to the best of us these moments happen, but I think being present is key and listening. It’s sort of like acting. Either you act or react, and I think that’s important.
Lyly wants to know: You’ve been the host of the show since the beginning. Would you ever consider competing yourself?
No. Way too much work.
Are you naturally a good dancer, Tom?
I can be taught. I think if I were to compete, I have enough of an ego to think I could last maybe three or four weeks, but I certainly don’t think I have a chance at winning.
Terry wanted to know how you got into hosting.
I was introduced to radio by a public speaking teacher when I was in high school who worked at the local radio station in my hometown who introduced me to the station manager. So, I was a senior in high school when I got my first radio gig.
“America’s Funniest Home Videos,” the other show you host, is celebrating quite the milestone next month: A record-setting 500 episodes. Is there anything special planned?
Yes, I believe as luck would have it—as luck and questionable math would have it—that show will also feature our 1 millionth groin hit, and at that moment that that milestone video is rolled into the show, we’ve got the confetti cannons. We’ve got, I think a former Miss World. We’ve got a trophy presentation. We’re gonna do it up!
Since you are the host of the show, are you allowed to say who you would pick as the winner of this all-star season?
Yes, I am allowed to say that.
Who would your choice be if you had to pick right now?
…but I choose not to say that!
I knew you were going to say something like that!
“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” airs Mondays and Tuesday nights on ABC.