'Dancing With the Stars': Tristan MacManus on dancing with Karina and Team (Paso) Shirtless

Ballroom dancing pro and amateur leprechaun Tristan MacManus will keep checking in with EW.com even after he and partner Gladys Knight were eliminated in their quest for the coveted mirrorball trophy.

On Monday’s rumba with Karina: Gladys sent me a message as soon as we’d done the number tonight with Jackie Evancho. In her own sweet and kind of genuine way, she said she was delighted to see me get to “dance with somebody.” I said I danced with you all those weeks! She said no really, to get to see you dance full-out with people….she liked it.

I’d been wanting to dance with Karina [embedded below] — I’ve never danced with her before so I was delighted. Hopefully I’ll get to dance with her again, at some stage. I’m lucky to dance with any of the girls on this show, they’re all such great dancers. But yeah, I was looking forward to dancing with Karina. We have fun, we get on with each other. We came up with this dance Saturday for about an hour or two, then we had blocking today. So a pretty short, quick one. But it was good, I got to choreograph another number out of it so that’s pretty cool.

Is the smoke machine annoying? I don’t know, I guess it looks all right. Makes the floor very slippy. The fog has to fall somewhere, know what I mean? I guess that was something they decided to use last minute. So it was what it was. They’re always trying to do different things, try and make it look as good as possible.

On Monday’s Classical Night dances: I saw a couple of them all right, didn’t get to see them all. Good competition tonight eh? Derek and Maria were really really good, so it’s nice to see someone get a full score I guess. Certainly after a difficult week, and at this point in the competition it’s good to see someone get those scores.

Donald Driver wants that 30! It’ll put a spark in him. If he can see now that someone can get them, then he’ll want to make sure they get the next perfect score. Donald’s great, he’s gonna be around for awhile.

Who will make the finals? I don’t really know! The way the competition’s going, you don’t really know what’s going to happen week to week. Might be easy enough to pick out one week who’s gonna be there, and then the next week, like I said, because the competition is so hard, next week someone turns around and has an unbelievable performance, know what I mean? Even if you look at the scores for this week — last week, people were saying well Maria, she didn’t do a great performance. And now she’s got perfect scores. I think Donald’s gonna be there, certainly. He’s been great from the start. I’d really like to see him do well. Mark and Katherine were superb as well. Maybe Maks and Melissa didn’t have a great night tonight, but as the weeks have been going on and on, she’s certainly been getting better. I thought they were quite good tonight. You never really know!

On William Levy initially shying away from Team Shirtless: Well, I guess if I think about it, had I been on that team, there would have been a team decision. It wouldn’t be just my decision. That’s what happens — if you’re dancing for yourself and your partner it’s easy enough to make a decision there, but when you’ve six people on a team, well…he didn’t want to take his top off tonight, and he ended up taking his top off. That’s what happens. Yeah, it was what it was.



Everyone there is clever, you know? They know that they have to give the people what they want to see. That’s what people expect to see from that team and what people wanted to see. I guess as much as people go on about it, people would go on about it even more if they didn’t take their tops off. You just have to give the people what they want, when they want it.

Ever feel pressure to give the people more nudity? Never feel that much pressure to do anything. I think if you’re confident enough in what you’re doing, well that’s enough. If it’s appropriate to take it off, if there’s a reason to take it off — well then take it off! If there’s not, well then what’s the point of doing it? I’ve certainly never been pressured into doing something I didn’t want to do, for whatever reason.

On meeting Katherine Jenkins back in season 12: Yeah, me and Peta got to dance with Katherine [embedded below], so that was good! When I met Katherine I reminded her of that and she said oh yeah, I remember, I remember. ‘Cause I was aware of Katherine — she’s Welsh and I’m Irish. I knew who Katherine was. It was great to get to dance for her. It’s really nice when you get to meet people you’ve heard of or who you know to a certain degree, and it turns out they’re actually nice people. Generally you get disappointed with anything you do, with anything else, know what I mean? Katherine’s a great girl.

As told to Annie Barrett. See Annie’s embarrassingly bad impression of Tristan here!

Read more:
‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: Orchestral Mirrorballs in the Dark
Tristan blogs Week 6, explains the temptation of his glasses
Tristan blogs Week 5, raves about Superquinn sausages
Tristan blogs Week 4: Tongue-wagging with Gene Simmons
Tristan MacManus blogs week 3, describes bounty of Irish tattoos

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