October 13, 2009

My experience at Dancing With The Stars :)

We interrupt this typically jewelry based blog with a special report of Bead Up’s evening at Dancing With The Stars! (So if this doesn’t interest you, come back tomorrow for another DIY entry!).

One of the first things I did when I moved to LA over a year ago was sign up to be on the waiting list for guest passes to some of my favorite shows, namely So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars. I got to see SYTYCD in early July, and finally got called to be on the guest list for Dancing With the Stars last week! I went into work last Monday, and after lunch changed in the bathroom into a slick little black cocktail dress and new Bead Up funky chunky necklace and rushed to CBS in West Hollywood with my Hubs to be part of the fun. After waiting in line for 3 hours we were told we were just a few people shy of getting in. Though I should have been bummed, the complimentary VIP seats as consolation weren’t a bad door prize ;) So I took yesterday off of work to make sure we got there in plenty of time this time around, and at 2:30 the Hubs and I arrived (again) at the studio. We got to walk past the long time of people and had seats outside of the studio waiting for us. After sitting in the chilly gray weather for nearly 2 hours, we finally were escorted in at 4:30. When we walked in, one of the gals facilitating people traffic asked if we were a party of 2. The camera-shy Hubs knew what this meant but answered truthfully anyway – next thing we knew we were sitting DIRECTLY BEHIND the judges table! OMG! (all images from abc.com)

(here is an aerial shot of the floor and arrow pointing to the Hubs on the right and me on the left!)

I spent the next half and hour in awe of the studio itself. I have heard that it’s not as big in person as it looks on TV, and though I logically understood that, I was completely amazed with the small size of the studio (this was also the same studio in which they filmed So You Think You Can Dance, which was also small but felt a lot bigger than DWTS). The dance floor itself is about the size of a half-basketball court, and the “large” staircase is no more than an exaggerated flight of stairs. I made sure to see through the wife-angle camera lenses when they walked by me – those things were also catching fish-eye angles! The camera could be literally underneath an object in the air (like a chandelier) yet catch it at the top of its screen (my camera seems so ghetto in comparison). Having been placed directly behind the judges table, I was also amazed with how primitive the thing was. It was merely a series of 2x4’s and dowels painted up, with rickety chairs behind them and little leg room. Each judge got several bottles of water and a can of Red Bull, in addition to their score pallets and personal notebooks.

We of course could not see the dance floor in it’s entirety from where we were seating (we had prime views of the judge’s backs!), so from time to time I stood up to see who was making their appearance on the show. To my amazement, Sharon Osborn was sitting a mere 5 feet away with some of her friends. Next to her sat Latoya and Joe Jackson (dress in all black – still). Across the dance floor sat Iron Chef’s Mark Dacascos’s wife and three kids, next to (and chatting with) Gilles Marini from last season, who also sat next to a gal from the show Brothers and Sisters, in which he is co-staring this season. Down the row sat Marie Osmond and “all of” Donny’s kids and family. And for whatever reason, Joey Lawrence and Jason Biggs sat at the first row of the VIP section at the end of the set. He spent most of his time chewing gum and checking his phone.

In attempt to kill time but keep the audience involved, the emcee asked if any guys were willing to come forward to shake their groove things. One really flamboyant teenager gave us a show that will be hard to forget and left us all laughing. Then the emcee asked for any ladies who wanted to dance – and of course yours truly was the first gal on that dance floor ;) He had me do the Beyonce, and running man, and the Charlie Brown (though I did my best, I had to be careful not to fall out of my dress!). I returned to my seat with the realization that, though I will never be famous, I indeed just got to dance on the Dancing With The Stars floor! Wahoo!

With a few minutes before taping left, the emcee announced the judges. Carrie Anna InabaLen Goodman, who looks in person exactly as he does on camera and acts just as stuffy (in a loveable kind of way!). Then came Bruno – who literally shook his THANG on the stage until the emcee told him to stop and take a seat. He then finally came to his chair and I said “Shake it Bruno!” He turned around and gave me a little “What’s up?” look ;) It was going to be a long night for him with me sitting with a direct view of his tush ;) looks grand with a beautifully long and golden dress that suited her perfectly. She said hi and waved to us as she took her (double cushioned) seat. Next up was Len Goodman, who looks in person exactly as he does on camera and acts just as stuffy (in a loveable kind of way!). Then came Bruno – who literally shook his THANG on the stage until the emcee told him to stop and take a seat. He then finally came to his chair and I said “Shake it Bruno!” He turned around and gave me a little “What’s up?” look ;) It was going to be a long night for him with me sitting with a direct view of his tush ;)

Before we knew it, the lights dimmed and Samantha Harris and Tom Bergeron took the floor. Samantha wore a BEAUTIFUL navy pearl necklace and chandelier looking earrings along with a long blue cheer dress. She glowed as if it was her wedding day (how does she do it?). Tom looks as ordinary as ever, but he had some great one-liners when put on the spot during the evening. The footage of last week’s show began playing on the side screens as the heads of the dancers poked out behind the staircase. The light came back up and we were forced to cheer our lungs out (and thankfully I still have a voice today!). The celebs and their dancing partners strutted down the stairs as the band played loudly. I still could hardly see them with the judges booth in the way, though figured it was worth it. Each dancer took the floor as footage of last week’s individual dancing playing on the side screens. It was especially interesting to see how they prepared for their dances. Some people were totally focused and didn’t interact with anyone (Chuck, for example). Others, like Chelsie Hightower and Louie Vito, watched the footage on the screen and laughed at what they said. Aaron Carter and Karina interacted with the crowd (Aaron LOVED the attention). (to watch the first half of the show, click here).

We could only see the tops of the dancers heads during the performance, which was kind of a bummer but totally worth it (I mean, come on, we get to be on tv!). The gal sitting next to me, who knew nothing of the show and kept asking me who everyone was and what they were famous for, kept complaining that she couldn’t see and wanted to switch seats (are you kidding me? We are going to be on TV!). She therefore took it upon herself to CRAWL to the side of the judges table during each performance in order to see the dances from the floor. If you watch closely, you can also see her standing up during most of the performances, as if she had special access and privileges that none of the rest of us had (another case of LA narcissism). I made a point to try to lean over toward my husband, who had a better view than I did, during the judges’ critiques in order to at least get my necklace on camera. Of course, my husband, who was having a near panic attack when we were first seated in fear of being on TV, was the one who was seen on camera in nearly every shot of the judges. All you can see of yours truly is the side of my hair. LAME! (here are some of the MANY shots of the Hubs on the right).

During one of the commercial breaks, the emcee walked toward us and mentioned how he feels for us since we can’t see. I told him it was OK since we had a prince view of Bruno’s butt ;) As if I hadn’t embarrassed myself enough (who am I kidding? I love this stuff!), he then had me say that into the microphone for everyone in the audience to hear. Bruno turned around and said that they should charge me more for the show, and proceeded to do a little dance of some sort for me. He then blew me a bit of a kiss and said thanks. Later on, during the next dance after Mya performed, Bruno again started moving his butt, which of course induced a shrill on my part. You can barely see it on camera, but Bruno turns around and gave me a little lick of the finger and wink afterward ;) I guess that was my 2 seconds of glory (see it at 32:30 and on the second clip). (Here he is looking back at me... I love Len's confused face!;)

Other noteworthy moments included waving to Sharon Osborne, having model Joanna sit behind the judges booth before her performance and say “hi” to us (that girl is literally the size of a 10-year old around the waist – I can’t image her ever being to bear children with those itty bitty hips!), and watching Marie and Donny Osborne sign dolls of their 80’s selves that someone in the audience brought out of adoration (creepy!). Oh, and during Donny and Kim’s dance, he flipped her around and I was the first to shriek “AH!” You can hear it at the 9:50 mark on the second part of the episode ;) (on the right are the few shots I did manage to find of my face popping out from the side).

Before we knew it (at least me, anyway, I am sure the Hubs was ready to go!), the show was over and the whole cast was standing in front of us again. They had us stick around for a few extra minutes after to get some additional crowd reaction audio footage, during which Melissa Joan Hart stood right in front of us for it's duration (I loved Clarissa Explains It All as a kid!). We were herded out of there (involuntarily for me, I wanted to try to make my way backstage!) and back in the gray and cold LA evening. Our phones (which we had to leave in the car) were loaded with messages asking “Was that your Hubs on DWTS?” We rushed home to see that, indeed, Hubs had a better seat (albeit against his wishes) than I did and made nearly every camera shot of the judges. I guess Bead Up’s TV premiere will have to wait until another day...

If you live in the LA area or are willing to travel out here to see a taping (seriously, there was a lady in the audience who flew in from Pennsylvania just for the show!), you can sign up for tickets here.


  1. How fun!

    Sounds like you had a blast & how cool is it that you got to flirt with Bruno, haha.

    We live about an hour from LA but havent gotten around to seeing any live tapings. We were supposed to go watch Wicked at the Pantages when it was there but I put it off for too long & missed it, Darn!

    Thank goodness LA always has something going on :)

  2. Oh, my gosh, what a great post and what a great evening. Sounds like you had an absolute blast! Yay for you.

  3. How lucky are you?! That sounds like a blast! It would be fabulous to go and see it live sometime.

  4. Just found your blog. I have tickets to the 3:30 show today and I am excited....hopefully I get there soon enough to get seats.