'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars' Interview: Melissa Rycroft Talks About the Challenges of Her Return
'Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars' Interview: Melissa Rycroft Talks About the Challenges of Her Return
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
You have to figure that every celebrity finds it a challenge to be back on Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars. What if they don't do as well as before? Can they handle the chance of losing again? How can they possibly win with such good dancers?

We talked to Melissa Rycroft this week about these challenges and about the fun of being back on Dancing with the Stars. Find out what she says in this interview!

BuddyTV: How does this season of Dancing with the Stars compare to when you were on the show before?

Melissa Rycroft: Unfortunately, there's no comparison. In any way, shape or form, the competition is so much tighter from day 1. And the people, you automatically come in, you know these guys and you like them, so it's immediate camaraderie. Back in season 8, there wasn't the Academe -- and the Academe is the dance studio that we all practice at. And there are seven dance studios in it, so there are seven couples there and it's great to see them and talk and stuff.

We didn't have that in season 8. We had no way to get to know anybody on our season except for Monday night! And so it's been great. Everybody fully supports everybody else.

But, at the same time, you can't practice long enough and you can't practice hard enough to get yourself ready for what you're going to see Monday night. Because everybody comes out and shocks you in the first week!

BuddyTV: It's really impressive this season!

Melissa Rycroft: Believe me, I know! I'm watching in dress rehearsals, and I'm going, "How did they do that?"

BuddyTV: What is a typical week for you when you're on the show?

Melissa Rycroft: Let's see... Typical week... Wednesday is our starting point. So Wednesday is when we get our new music and our dance and we choreograph and I attempt to learn it. Thursday is me really learning it and getting it in my head. Friday is perfecting it. Saturday is going over it. Sunday is stage practice. And Monday is the show. So, quite a busy week.

BuddyTV: So about how many hours per day do you end up dancing and preparing?

Melissa Rycroft: Right now, Tony and I are doing about five-hour-per-day practices. At the end, you then go to wardrobe for 30 minutes. Then you go run and do an interview for your package before your dance. So it's not too crazy-bad.

It hasn't been too bad... Yet. But this is only the beginning of Week 3.

BuddyTV: What can you say about what's coming this week?

Melissa Rycroft: Well Tony and I are going to be dancing the samba. On one hand, I hate double elimination. On the other, I look at it going, "You know, if I'm going to have a dance on the double elimination, I'm glad it's something like samba." We're just going to make it as fun as can be.

What we learned last week is how big the audience vote is. The audience is the outcome of the show, actually. And so if we can get the audience behind the dance and make it a memorable dance for them, hopefully that gets us on to week 4.

BuddyTV: How is it dancing with Tony Dovolani again?

Melissa Rycroft: It's so great! And we both, every once in awhile, take a step back and... It's almost like we're different people dancing together.

Tony, this season, has such a more relaxed approach to practice and the show. You know, season 8 -- we were just thrown into it so quickly that we were just running our feet to keep up with everybody week after week after week. And this time, he has this great mentality, and he always says, "You can't control what you can't control." And you know, it keeps me sane. All I can do is the best I can do. And if it somehow doesn't compete anymore, then you hope the audience is there. But you can't beat yourself up. You can't control the judges' scores. All you can do is go out and do the best dance you can do, show the best personality that you can, and hope that that's enough.

BuddyTV: Do you think that having the same partner as in your original season gives you any sort of advantage in Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars?

Melissa Rycroft: I think the only advantage that we had was the initial advantage. We walked into practice day 1, and we knew each other. We didn't have to get to know each other again.

But I do think that we have the challenge of every week our dances have to be so different from the dances before. You know, people have already seen Melissa and Tony do a samba. So we have to make this All-Star season samba that much better and that much different than last season. And that's kind of been a challenge. It's been testing Tony and his choreography. I think he has been doing a great job.

BuddyTV: Definitely. So on a show like Dancing with the Stars, where the fans are deciding everything in the end, what do you think it takes for a celebrity to go far?

Melissa Rycroft: I think ultimately, the winner of this competition is just going to have the perfect package. I don't necessarily think it will be the best dancer. I don't necessarily think it'll be the one with the biggest personality. I think it's going to be the couple that's extremely likable. They go out and they perform solid routine after routine after routine. And it's going to be interesting.

Again, I think the audience vote is much bigger than what they think it is. And if they didn't learn last week that they have a say... It's unbelievable. And so the audience can definitely make or break the champion of this for sure.

BuddyTV: What is your favorite dance style, and is there any dance you're particularly worried about?

Melissa Rycroft: Fortunately, I got the one that I was really worried about out of the way -- the jive. That is... Yeah. Probably my weakest dance out of the entire line-up all season. So I'm so glad we got it out and we passed that week and we can move on.

I really love the Latin. I love salsa and samba and Argentine tango. So I hope I get a chance to do all those, because those are strong for me.

(Images courtesy of ABC)