Inquiring minds want to know. Or at least we do. We want to know the answers to burning questions like: What the heck was Tristan doing in England dancing with Katherine Jenkins? What was rehearsal really like with Kirstie and Maks? What pro dances are particularly challenging? So we decided to ask the man himself. Tristan's responses were, as always, thorough and astute, but also wise and funny. Enjoy his answers to our latest round of questions.
You’ve been keeping busy this season! We saw tweets from Katherine Jenkins when you were in London, and she mentioned that you were rehearsing the Argentine Tango with her. Would you tell us a bit about that?
London was a blast. I flew over to dance with Katherine for her Christmas special she is doing on an English tv station there to be aired in December where Kat sings and dances. We did a reprise of her and Mark's Argentine Tango. We had to change a few things and the music was different but it was fun to dance with her again plus I got to see a lot of friends in London I hadn’t seen in a long long time. I also went home for a few days. I’m not sure when it airs yet but I’m sure you will hear about it through Kat when it does.
We were thrilled to see you back on the dance floor this season and we loved the fusion dance choreographed by Henry Byalikov. Tell us like about this dance with Kym, Anna, Louis, and the troupe and how it all came together.
Fusion week was cool enough. Yeah, I had just got back from London so I had missed the first couple of rehearsals, but I learned it on the Saturday and then performed it that week. It was a good number and it went down pretty well with everyone, so happy days! The troupe are getting to dance an awful lot more these last few seasons which is great. I don’t think they really knew what to do with us the first year round, and there is a lot more happening for the troupe now.
We knew we were all going to be in for a treat when you danced the Paso Trio with Kirstie and Maks. What was it like working with them?
Maks and Kirstie are great! I was just like everybody else on the outside looking in wondering what it would be like all day, but it was fun. It’s difficult with the trios I think because everybody is different at teaching and behaves in different ways while at the same time trying to make an impact so you sometimes have to be weary of stepping on people’s toes and contradicting things to get your point across. I tried to make it clear at the start that I was just a partner and that Maks was always the teacher, but he also gives you freedom to put your points across and certainly isn’t as bullheaded as some might assume - HaHa. I think it gives everybody a fresh impetus and perspective just having another voice or ear in the room. I really enjoyed it and was very interested to see how another pro teaches and how others learn. The score wasn’t the best but the experience was great and helped me to get to know people better. What I found though was a happy, fun relationship and a nice balance between hard work and play and a very honest couple.
You have done so many pro dances in your seasons on Dancing With the Stars, and we have to admit that last week’s “Locomotion” dance choreographed by Sharna is one of our favorites. Is there any pro dance that you have found to be more challenging than the others?
Em… I don’t know if I find them more challenging or not. I enjoy doing most numbers - maybe not so much the different styles sometimes when they try do hip-hop numbers and things - it’s not really my thing. I love to watch them but don’t feel comfortable doing them to be honest so that can be challenging, and I’m not a handstand flip barrel turn kind of guy either - haha - so usually when they come along, I’ll puff the cheeks out and scratch my head. Most people have their style and moves that you see them do in a lot of numbers where you can say they are great at that or whatever but I’m low-key, you know. I don’t have specific moves; I just move to the songs I like!!
We’ve all noticed how much you travel, and you’ve been to many parts of the U.S. performing and teaching. One of the questions that our site members keep asking is what parts of this country are your favorites, and is there a place you want to visit but never have?
I get to travel around America, yeah not as much as I’d like to, and there are still a lot of places that I haven’t been yet. When you are on tour like I was when visiting most of the places, it’s very hard to get to see them. You are usually just in the theatre and then on the plane or bus moving somewhere else so I’d love to do a lot of revisiting. I was always fascinated by Texas and the South in general. I loved the stories of music in New Orleans. I’d still love to visit. Louisiana. I really like the East Coast too. Living in Boston was always fun, and I love NY. I love Canada so I’d love to get to Canada a bit more if possible at some stage this year, but I just love to travel so anywhere I go hopefully I get time to enjoy it. I’ve been to Chicago airport more times than most places but never got to Chicago, so I’ll work on that.
It's kind of obvious why Tristan is our favorite DWTS pro, isn't it? We hope you enjoyed this Q and A with him. As always, he was gracious and willing to answer our questions. Thanks, Tristan.
Season 14 was magical for Tristan's supporters for many reasons, but we decided to narrow it down to just 14. Here you go!
14. The Empress of Soul is also the Queen of the Cha Cha.
13. The Design a Dance Samba proved to be a religious experience for many.
12. For some strange reason, Mark and Tristan handcuffed together proved to be really sexy. We’re not sure why.
11. Any Cha Cha involving handcuffs should probably also involve having an extra key.
10. Tongue-measuring contests are pretty funny – especially when Gladys Knight is doing the measuring.
9. Tristan probably could moonlight as a fashion designer because he came up with some great looks for Gladys – the purple for Rumba, red for Cha Cha, pink for Foxtrot, gorgeous blues for Quickstep, sassy teal for Samba, rocker black for Tango. Not a feather excess or explosion of sequins in sight.
8. Dancing across a virtual piano is way more fun and much easier than trying to dance across a real one.
7. Gladys Knight can do a wicked jive and if you have to go out, you might as well go out by dancing to “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.
6. Nerdy glasses and grape/lavender/whatever color of purple and used car salesman white shoes look great on Irish ballroom dancers.
5. Other pros should be so lucky (and brave) as to choose Bohemian Rhapsody for the Tango.
4. Any dance by Tristan and Karina needs to be longer than 45 seconds.
3. The biggest smiles, the best attitude, and the most frequent flier miles accrued awards go to Tristan and Gladys.
2. We wish we could move half as well and with half as much energy as Gladys. Oh yeah, we wish we could sing like her too.
1. We really, really, really like watching Tristan MacManus Samba.
To be honest, we don’t remember a single Trio Dance from Season 14 with the exception of the best one of the night, and that honor goes to Mark, Katherine, and Tristan who did a very memorable Cha Cha – wardrobe malfunctions included – to “She’s A Lady” by Tom Jones. It was sexy, fun, flirty, and perfection. Season 15's Trio Dances could bring us almost anything, but this is what we expect to see, and what the heck, we’re going to even predict the scores, just because we’re never right anyway, and we want to see how off base we probably will be. You know that our esteemed panel of sometimes clueless and hormonally challenged judges will score them in a ridiculously inconsistent manner, so we decided to do the same. Are we objective? Probably not. Are we consistent? Nah, but we do like to have fun, so all that matters on here is what we think will happen. We’re all about the fun and about not taking things overly seriously.
1. Shawn, Derek, and Mark – Samba - They could stand around and tap their feet and still pull in 8s, and not for a minute do we think that Mark was the last pro chosen or preferred by the other pros. This was obvious – Derek wanted Mark on his team and that's what he got. But that’s okay – here’s the thing: Shawn and Mark have good chemistry, Shawn and Derek are technically good but missing the chemistry, and the three of them together will mean frantic, frantic, and more frantic. We probably won’t see a Samba roll, and we boldly predict that somebody will be wearing yellow with feathers, somebody will have on black guyliner, and somebody will wear spats – Samba or no Samba. It’s a given. It's also a given that this will be a very strong dance. The judges will go 10, 9.5, 10.
2. Apolo, Karina, and Sasha – Jive – This will probably be the best dance of the night because Karina is a jive pro, Sasha has endless energy which is perfect for the jive, and Apolo has been severely underscored time and time again. Since Sasha has the energy, and Apollo has the Mr. Personality card in his pocket, we're thinking that this can only be fun, fun, and more fun. However, the judges will pick on them and whine about some non-existent something they aren’t doing when the bottom line is, they will nail it. The judges will be naughtily off base and give them 9.5, 9.5, 10 because they will be wearing their cranky pants, and this one should pull 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, and another 10. But that’s just us…
3. Kirstie, Maks, and Tristan – Paso – We could be way off base on this one, but since drama and acting are second-nature to Kirstie, this seems like a win-win situation. Assuming they don’t try to make this a Maks/Kirstie/Tristan sandwich (which wouldn't be too much of a disappointment, but we like to see more substance), this could go very well. It also depends on whether or not Maks choreographs so that Tristan gets to be a leading man which would mean higher scores and plenty more votes from the voting machine known as MacManiacs. To be honest, we are kind of scratching our heads on this one and not in a bad way. We just don't know which direction Maks is going to take this, and we all know that Tristan is basically willing to try anything. The fact that it keeps us guessing and isn't predictable like the rest of the trios makes this one a complete surprise. We think we’ll see good scores in the range of 9, 9.5, 10
4. Melissa/Tony/Henry (tie) – Paso – This could end well, although we remember back in Season 8 in the Paso relay dance in the finale, Melissa and Tony seemed to use a lot of tricks, and we felt something was missing. On the other hand, this could be a really great dance with Henry bringing the charisma and passion that is missing in some Tony/Melissa performances. Henry is also a choreography genius so this one could be a very unique Paso. 9.5, 9, 9.5 just might be a little low for this trio because they could also potentially be right at the top.
4. Emmitt/Cheryl/Kym (tie) – Salsa – We love Salsa, and Cheryl choreographs great Salsas and we think this dance would even go up one or two more spots in our rankings if everything comes together. Emmitt is fun, Kym is fun, and when Cheryl is with Emmitt, she's a ton of fun as well. We think Cheryl is going to choreograph this one to play up Emmitt's cheekiness, but don't think we won’t see a technically sound Salsa. Emmitt is going to have to shake it like never before to get high scores on this, but we think in this case, Cheryl is going to show off Emmitt in a big way - and Kym will be there to make it even better. We think we will see similar or identical scores to Melissa’s – 9.5, 9, 9.5.
6. Peta/Gilles/Chelsie – Salsa – We know Gilles can Salsa, because his Salsa with Cheryl back in Season 8 is one of those dances that we always considered to be one of our favorites. We have to say, however, that this season he doesn’t seem to have the same panache, moves, or elegance. He seems predictable. But that's just us. We see where they were going with this – two blondes and Gilles. This one will be interesting. Maybe. It will probably also be overscored just because Carrie Ann likes to propel herself off of furniture when Gilles dances so....we think we’ll see 9.5, 9, 9 but it could just as easily get the highest scores of the night. Who knows?
7. Kelly/Val/Louis – Jive – The non-stop sexy isn’t going to cut it any more. Time to move on. Our prediction is that Val will have his shirt off or fully unbuttoned within 20 seconds, maybe Louis too, but at least Louis doesn't prance around half nekked every week. All kidding aside, we think Kelly might be a little out of her element here, and this dance may very well be overscored (like some others). But we could be wrong; it's not the first time! The judges will praise it or criticize it and still give high scores. Our guess is 9, 8, 9, but then most of the scores will be bunched together this week, and the difference between 1 and 7 will not be significant in these dances.
Going home Tuesday night after all is said and done? We have no idea. Probably Kelly and Gilles regardless of scoring and all those crazy unknowns, but it could be any of them. Scoring and dance skill don't seem to matter much this season. All that said, however, we love the Trio Dances – as long as we don’t see crazy manipulation of the rules, pushing the boundaries so that the dance doesn’t resemble a jive, samba, salsa or paso, and that Tristan is always dancing. That’s good enough for us. In fact, we think he should be in all of the Trio Dances. But alas, that is not to be. Last season he received his first 10s. Who knows? Maybe he will get some more this week.
13) Straitjackets just might be sexy –but only when you’re dancing the Tango to “Disturbia” while thus adorned.
12)The waxed look is out. Chest hair is in.
11) 007 stepped aside for MacManus. Tristan MacManus. He will forever be known as 0014 because he is twice as sexy as 007.
10) “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” is just a tad too fast for a Jive, but holy moley, it was fun watching Mr. MacManus and his lightning fast feet create the dancing Mephistopheles – in full costume, crazy top hat, spats, and wild makeup.
9) Spamalot has drop dead sexy knights who fall to the feet of damsels in distress, but the damsel wasn’t really in distress; she was feisty, strong, and in full control. We likey.
8) Nobody, and we mean nobody, creates a better storyline through dance than Tristan. Every single dance tells a story and every single story has a beginning, a middle, and an end with plenty of rising action and falling action in between.
7) Suspenders are sexy. Really, really sexy.
6) Women all over the world collectively went THUD when those famous words, “I’m sick of dis place” were uttered.
5) Bedhead is sexy. Really, really sexy.
4) When a group dance happen, Tristan MacManus takes over. It was Broadway, and the man is a natural. Performer, entertainer, actor. Oh yeah, and dancer too. That was his dance.
3) Tristan and Kym Johnson know how to set the place on fire with their unbelievable chemistry.
2) Dancing bad boys look really hot in fuchsia.
1) The camera loves Tristan MacManus.