“Dancing With the Stars” will return for another hip-shaking installment in 2016. But for those of you who can’t wait until the hit ABC series airs its Season 22 premiere in March, we have a holiday treat for you! Two-time Mirror Ball champion Mark Ballas is giving fans of the long-time dance competition an early Christmas gift: scoop.
The two-stepping pro revealed to International Business Times his thoughts on good, ol’ grumpy Len Goodman’s reprisal (the fan favorite judge took a break during Season 21 due to personal reasons) as well as what he thought about his shocking Season 21 elimination.
International Business Times: First off, congratulations on another amazing season of “Dancing With the Stars.” I have to say I was extremely surprised when you and [your partner] Alexa [PenaVega] were eliminated from Season 21 of the competition.
Mark Ballas: So was I.
IBT: The two of you had some of the most innovative dances of the season.
Ballas: Thank you! Which ones were your favorites?
IBT: It was when Alexa shared her story about her struggle with bulimia through dance. That was chilling.
Ballas: Oh, yeah. Thank you. “Make It Rain.”
IBT: What was the most exciting moment for you while competing on Season 21 of “DWTS”?
Ballas: I had a couple. I had a lot of cool moments. I would definitely say turning into Edward Scissorhands was one of them. And then, also, when we did the “Breaking Bad” dance with the bald cap. It was just cool to watch special effects work prosthetic skin on my head. It took like two or three hours. It was incredible.
IBT: I’ve always been curious about the preparation behind “DWTS.” What goes into it?
Ballas: It’s very much a full week process. We begin choreography on Tuesday, we’re shooting out rough-camera packages on Friday, fine-tuning Saturday, we’re practicing on the stage Sunday and then Monday is usually the time for the band. Then we see the final set, costume and wardrobe. So, it comes together Sunday or, the latest, Monday morning.
IBT : I don’t think audiences understand how much time and effort goes into the show.
Ballas: Oh, yeah. It’s a full time thing.
IBT : It must be exhausting. I don’t know how you’re not sick from being rundown!
Balls: Right? (Laughs) Lots of vitamin C!
IBT: For me, one of the most memorable moments from Season 21 was when Len Goodman announced he’d be returning to the judges’ table for Season 22. Did you know prior to the finale that he’d be returning?
Ballas: We didn’t, we didn’t. I mean, I think it’s good. Len brings something to the show that I felt was a little bit absent this season – his grumpiness and his attention to tradition and you know, we need that. He’s such a staple of the show, he was definitely missed.
IBT: How do you think his return will affect Season 22?
Ballas: I don’t think it will affect anything drastically. I think it will be great to have him back. It’ll be nice to see him at the judges’ table – I never thought I’d ever say that (laughs).
IBT: You broke out your guitar during the Season 21 finale so I’m hoping we’ll get to see you perform in the upcoming season! Perhaps with Val [Chmerkovskiy] on violin and Julianne [Hough] on vocals?
Ballas : I can’t speak for everybody else but I went to music college in England. I’ve been classically trained. [Music] is a big part of my life.
Fingers crossed Ballas will serenade audiences once again during Season 22 – that is, if he competes. During a previous interview with IBT, Ballas revealed that his participation in the upcoming installment of “DWTS” will remain unknown until the pros are unveiled.
“[ABC will] probably announce [the pros] end of February or early March,” he stated.
“Dancing With the Stars” will air its two-hour Season 22 premiere on Monday, March 21, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.