Q&A: Amber Riley of ‘Glee,’ Bill Nye the Science Guy, Compete on ‘DWTS’

Q&A: Amber Riley of ‘Glee,’ Bill Nye the Science Guy, Compete on ‘DWTS’

Actress and TV personality preview Season 17 of the dancing competition

By Lie Shia Ong

The stars return to the dance floor for Season 17 of “Dancing With the Stars” on Monday, Sept. 16.

This season, the show will be one night only each week, instead of carrying over into a second night of elimination results.

MSN TV spoke with two of the stars competing for the coveted mirror-ball trophy— “Glee” actress, Amber Riley and TV personality and scientist, Bill Nye—on what they’re doing to prepare for premiere night and the season ahead.

MSN TV: We’re just a few days away from the premiere. What can you tell us about how you’re feeling?

Bill Nye: Have you ever had a freight train coming at you and you’re tied to the tracks?

[Laughs]. No, I can’t say that I have.

Bill Nye: Well, it’s like that, it’s like that.

Amber Riley: But you get saved right before the train gets there, right?

Bill Nye: Really? Well, that’s good news. If you’re not anxious, just quit doing it. So, I’m excited. We’re excited.

Amber Riley: Yes, very excited.

Bill Nye: It’s going to be cool.

How long have you been preparing for the show? Bill, I read you’ve actually been working with a personal trainer?

Bill Nye: Oh, yeah, but that was a coinkidink. I started that a few months ago when I was concerned about my posture, which is not every good. It duck tailed—merged—of doing both at once. I mean, my partner, you guys, Tyne Stecklein is amazing. She’s amazing and she’s constantly pushing my posture around trying tog et me upright. So, the other thing is, she clearly has some kooky ideas about me—you’re not allowed to pick her up off the floor, but supporting her weight in various configurations. It’s exciting.

Amber, you’re partnered with Derek Hough. How has he been training you and getting you ready?

Amber Riley: He’s been wonderful. I feel very lucky that he was chosen to be my partner. We didn’t know who our partners were when we walked into the door. There was this big reveal, and I was really, really nervous ‘cause I didn’t know who was going to be behind the door. I’m so glad that it’s him. We have such a great chemistry. We do really well in our rehearsals. We speak the same language. He knows how to get me to do something over and over again and keep rehearsals fresh and fun. That’s a great talent to have because this is something very foreign to me, and it could easily be scary and terrifying, but he’s making it fun. So, I’m having the time of my life right now.

Can you both give a little sneak peek of what your first dance routine is going to be on Monday?

Amber Riley: I’m doing the cha-cha.

Bill Nye: I’m doing the cha-cha.

So both of you are doing the cha-cha!

Bill Nye: Yeah, with different partners, I presume. At different times.

Amber Riley: And different songs, I think.

Bill Nye: Yeah, that’s right. The cha-cha is one of the passion dances. One of the Latin dances.

Amber Riley: A lot of shaking.

Bill Nye: There’s some stuff going on, and there’s the beat and you’re supposed to step on the foot on the floor with the beat and things.

Amber Riley: [Laughing].

Bill Nye: It’s exciting. I can feel the pressure, but it’s exciting!

So, Bill, of course you’re known as “The Science Guy.” Do you have any scientific tricks up your sleeves to try and win the mirror-ball this season?

Bill Nye: Scientific tricks—well, I’ll say we will use the scientific method to the extent possible. The stuff that does not work we will do our best to eliminate, and the stuff that does work, we will do our best to retain. And retaining all this new knowledge, these thousands of details, right?

Amber Riley: It’s not about the dancing so much, it’s about the learning what you’re supposed to do while you’re dancing. Like staying together and your posture. And don’t lean back and look this way.

Bill Nye: Ooh, that way?

Amber Riley: Yes, that’s a lot of steps that you have to remember, and you have to make it look seamless and like you’re not trying hard.

Bill Nye: [Breathes heavily].

Amber Riley: It’s definitely a task.

Bill, I also read you’re not opposed to getting a spray tan to try and win this mirror-ball.

Bill Nye: I’m not above what?

Amber Riley: A spray tan!

Bill Nye: What is with that? I have to say, my sister, who is a charming woman, is fascinated with the spray tan. I guess, I don’t want to shock you, but we’re wearing makeup right now! … the other day when we got our team photo—couple photos—Tyne had quite a stripe … so I guess that’s all part of the biz. But that’s all part of the glamour, part of the bling, and part of the need—the turn-up of the whole thing!

Well, good luck to both of you. We’ll be watching!

Amber Riley: Thank you! Team Roughly! Vote Roughly!

Bill Nye: Hot knowledge!

“Dancing With the Stars” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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