Tristan’s time as a pro has spanned only 3 seasons (yes, troupe members are pros, too) but he has made a huge impact. He was Wetpaint’s “Fake Boyfriend” for Season 13 and has won poll after poll since then. He was Hottest Male Pro (September 2011), Best Newcomer (November/December 2011), and Favorite Male Pro (August 2012). He and Chelsie Hightower were Season 14 Design A Dance winners, and along with Kym Johnson, he was the featured dancer on the ABC Season 13 and Season 14 promotional posters. He was one of TV Guide's “Breakout Stars for 2011”, the fans’ pick for the Pro of 2011 (via Wetpaint) against some very stiff completion, and he was the highest ranking DWTS pro on Buddy TV’s “TVs 100 Sexiest Men of 2011." But those accolades just scratch the surface of the many reasons why we've chosen Tristan as our favorite. Of course, we don’t do anything the usual way. In our Henry Byalikov blog (see below), we list 16 reasons why we think that Henry should be a DWTS pro with a celebrity partner, but here we are going to give you 18.5 reasons why Tristan is our #1 favorite DWTS Pro. Yes. 18.5. It seems like a good number.
18.5. The Jive. Holy cow, the man knows how to Jive. After seeing his Mephistopheles characterization in The Devil Went Down to Georgia, the Upside Down Instant Dance with Nancy, the Don’t Stop Me Now Dance-Off, and his performance in Dance With Me Tonight, we began to consider the jive one of our all-time favorite dances. He doesn’t just dance the jive, he feels it. The man knows how to make a jive fun, sexy, flirty, and oh so exciting. Continued…
18. He knows how to sell a dance like no other...and he loves what he does. Case in point: Season 14 Broadway Group Dance – he took over the character of the young man seducing the older woman, and the complete joy on his face at the end of that performance shows his love of his craft.
17. Shallow Reason #1. The man is gorgeous. Now we know that has nothing to do with talent or ability to entertain, but you cannot ignore the obvious, so just consider it an added bonus. He’s simply sexy, handsome, and adorable.
16. He has a variety of experiences that have prepared him for this journey, including the fact that he was as passionate about football (soccer in our language) as dance. We’ve even heard through the grapevine (or he just said it) that he is a music enthusiast who loves to sing. That makes him multi-dimensional, multi-talented, and multi-faceted. He is passionate about what he does, quick to react, and a team player. He’s the consummate pro (and why we have this website.)
15. In addition to his ballroom and Latin dance training, he has performed all over the world in different productions: Burn the Floor, Floor Play, Simply Ballroom, and Dirty Dancing. The world is his stage. We call him a dance prodigy; he has the unique skill of being able to embrace any dance, take it over, and turn on the dancing charm which using impeccable technique.
14. He loves to teach (rewind to his experience as a teacher in Boston) a few years ago. Not only does he love to teach, but he’s a great teacher. That’s obvious in every dance with Nancy Grace and Gladys Knight, and each performance made us respect him a little more. One of Tristan’s greatest assets as a mentor and teacher is that he knows how to hone in on his partners strengths. He doesn’t just throw in crazy, flashy choreography to hide weaknesses, and he doesn't make costume decisions that involve the excessive use of fabric, feathers, and frills to hide less than perfect technique. He concentrates on where they excel, and he builds the choreography around that.
13. Shallow Reason #2. Any way you look at it, it is fun to listen to him talk. We realize that that isn’t a great reason to make him our favorite pro, but it’s one of the things that we find as an added bonus to an already delectable package. Just think of Tristan’s Irish Brogue as something that makes him more adorable.
12. He has a brilliant mind, and that translates into brilliant technique on the dance floor. We see his answers to questions as thoughtful and insightful. For instance, he knows how to balance performing with choreographing, and he’s most likely the dream partner for any celebrity. Why? Because he says things like this: “Everybody is different so as far as teaching goes there isn’t a formula that I stick to, but with everybody I try to just be normal - ask them how they are, what they like, what they don’t like, and try to relate everything to what I need them to do. It’s no different to me then meeting somebody new through a friend or on the street or anywhere in everyday life. You don’t try to make people your friend; you talk and then you relate and then you gain respect and start to work! You are both there to help each other so you can’t forget that you have to teach but you also have to learn.” The best and most telling part of this whole statement is “you are both there to help each other." It is not a one-sided event; it’s a partnership, and isn’t that how it should be?
11. Shallow reason #3. He has great hair. Sexy bed-head anyone? (Most of the time anyway).
10. Shallow Reason #4 (our last episode of shallowness). He looks gorgeous in costume. Do we have to spell this out for you folks? We’ll give you a few examples to jolt your memory in case you’ve found yourself temporarily brain dead. The True 'Rebel Without a Cause' Rumba costume. The Sir Duke blue-lined tails Quickstep costume. The boyfriend suspenders, The Flash Gordon matador jacket (no shirt in case you forgot), The Disturbia straight jacket (yes, for Tristan, even a straight jacket is sexy), the teal Fiebre Samba ensemble...the list is endless. Basically we could name every single costume he’s ever worn and say great things about it but we are sticking with these for now. We all know that he’s a DWTS fashion plate.
9. He has enormous respect for his fellow pros, and he has enormous respect for family. Remember when he was asked during Week One of Seson 14 how he felt about having Gladys as his partner? The first thing that he said was how thrilled his mother would be. It’s never been about his own personal success, but what his success can do to help others. He’s always willing to help out a fellow pro. Remember when he stepped in to help an injured Ralph Macchio and danced with Karina during camera blocking? He has respect for his colleagues as well as his students and that spells class. It's always positive, all of the time.
8. Every single dance tells a story. He draws out emotion from not only his partner, but from the audience as well. Why else do you think he’s become a fan favorite so early in his DWTS career? It’s because he’s been able to seduce the audience into loving the stories that he tells through dance. He goes where some of the other pros don’t.
7. The man can Rumba. Not only can he Rumba, but he makes that love/lust struggle a delicious adventure. He tells a beautiful story in his Rumbas which have been both smoldering (Kym and Peta) to mildly sensuous (Nancy and Gladys). Do we really have to elaborate here? We thought not.
6. He never, ever showboats, he never overdances, and he never makes the dance about him instead of his partner. We like that he doesn’t have an enormous ego, nor does he try to take the attention away from his pro or celebrity partner. As he said in a recent interview, "I know that the show is about my partner and not me so I don’t get carried away with myself." We will just leave it at that.
5. The Design A Dance Samba with Chelsie Hightower still takes our breath away. It was sharp, edgy, and sexy without being so crammed with crazy moves that you didn’t know where to look first. In fact, that dance was so smooth, sexy, and scintillating (yes, we love alliteration), that we couldn’t tear our eyes away. That, DWTS, is just good television.
4. His Cha Chas are the things history books are written about. Starting with the Cry Baby Cha Cha of Season 13 where suspenders became iconic and continuing on to the Best Of My Love Cha Cha where he threw in that brilliant Temptations move, we knew he was going to be a superstar. His Cha Chas are always memorable – those with the troupe, the pro dances, and the Trio Dance with Mark Ballas and Katherine Jenkins. We filed those dances into the category of “watch on youtube about a thousand times.” Each week.
3. He has no fear of dancing with any of the MacManiacs, something we find incredibly endearing. In part 2 of his Q and A where he answered questions from members of this website, he was asked about that very thing. When it got right down to it, he proved to be very brave, and said, “It doesn’t frighten me at all.” Whew. We were worried about that for a while, and we also momentarily questioned the state of Mr. MacManus’ sanity. At least he didn’t turn and run.
2. He treats his fans right. He may not use Twitter [or at least he didn't until September 10,2012], but we don’t mind. We like the personal approach. He has sent us a number of thank you emails, he has mentioned this site personally in a number of interviews, and he is appreciative of his support as shown on Facebook. Tristan MacManus respects his fans, his family, and his profession. What more could we possibly ask of a DWTS pro?
1. He has a wicked sense of humor. Remember Dance Center and “I’m sick of dis place”? Then there was the opening to Season 14 with Gladys – “I’m the hot one on Dancing With the Stars.” Don’t forget Paso rehearsal with Nancy when he said, “...It’s about as kicking as much ass as possible, so I mean you should be all right with that one…” When Nancy asked, “Why do I have to be the bull to get stabbed in the end?” His snappy response? “Because you have more bull than me.”
Any questions? We didn’t think so.
Tristan MacManus is here to stay. And so is this website.