Now that you have been a DWTS Australia judge for a couple of weeks, what would you say has been the most challenging part of the job so far?
I guess the most challenging part so far is just to be conscious of being helpful and empathetic towards each individual. Sometimes it’s more important (in my opinion) to be more conscious of someone’s emotions on screen than their ability. For the show and for some audience members and viewers, they want me to prove I know what I’m talking about in critique but if I feel like it might be too much to take for the celebs in relation to what they have heard from the other two, I’ll go with making them feel good and maybe have a word off camera a little later. I know a live performance can go either way, so it’s difficult in a way to give criticism that can be taken forward to the next week as opposed to just pointing out mistakes they made on something specific they will never do again. When they know they made them, why should three of us point it out if it makes them feel uncomfortable and self-conscious? The point is to make them fearless. I see that as my role.
Have there been any surprises with regard to your judging responsibilities?
I don’t know if there have been any surprises. I just say what I see. It’s always been my way. I’m not really a typical dancer’s dancer kind of thing—haha. Sometimes I know what they should be doing and I know why they do it that certain way, but I just never liked it so I don’t comment on it, if that makes sense. For example, like the whole top off thing. Why dance with no top on? Why run your hands through your hair? Why make the noises and faces when you dance? I get it but it’s just not my style, so I have to remember that just because I don’t like it it’s not wrong!! There seems to be a thing now in everything you see that instead of just being happy with what you think or what side you take, it’s not good enough unless you bag out the other side. If one thing is good, everything else has to be horrendous to prove the point. I’m glad that this makes me look at things from a different perspective. I’m a little surprised at how guilty I feel after an elimination even though it’s not down to us!!!
We all know Craig as a judge and entertainer and Sharna as a professional dancer, but what would you say are the strengths of Craig and Sharna as far as what they bring to the judging panel? What would you say is your strength as a judge? The 3 of you work well together and provide a nice balance.
Sharna and Craig have been fantastic and the fact that we genuinely get on is a major bonus. We all know what the show is about and we all know what each other’s personalities and, to a degree, points of view are so I think the strength is in the full picture and, like you mentioned, the balance. We listen to each other and either back each other up or plug the gaps that are left open. Myself and Sharna have known each other for so long and have traveled and worked together for many years before DWTS even, so we have banter and she has a great presence and knowledge. Craig is just funny and so helpful with his experience. From the off he has been a great springboard. He is hilarious. No malice and great tv.
You’ve been a professional dancer on both Dancing With the Stars (USA) and Strictly Come Dancing, but how is it different being on the other side of the table? How does DWTS Australia differ from the other two shows?
I can’t compare the shows as my role is completely different and I’m in a completely different phase of my life now. A lot of the problems I had on the other shows at times were down to how I was feeling myself and obviously sometimes down to certain people doing my head in—hahaha. My priorities were what they were and they had their own priorities. On reflection, I had a great time and I can appreciate that now. At this moment, I love the role I’m in here. I hope I get to do it a lot longer and I hope I’m up to the task.
Now that you know the DWTS Australia couples a little bit and see how they can express themselves through their performing, what are some songs that come to mind that you would love to see used on the show? (just general titles, not necessarily connected to a particular DWTS team, pro, or celebrity)
I have no idea to be honest. People will be more comfortable one week and the opposite the next. The thing with the songs is that if it’s one you like, you can relax a little more and enjoy it. If it’s one that you don’t like or care for, it can be a nightmare but again that could just be me?! I want them all to do well. There will no doubt be a week or memorable year and we can get to know them a little more and that’s the fun part. Seeing people grow and enjoy themselves is always great. There is a bubble they can get lost in while the show is on but that’s okay. At the end of the day, it is a reality show but the hard work is real and the effort and emotions are real, so you can forgive the ‘be all end all’ feeling and drama that you see which I guess I never did when I was on the other side!
What has been the most unusual thing that has happened so far on the show?
Nothing as yet. Everything is pretty smooth sailing—maybe my hairstyles—haha. I forgot that when you are on tv you have to brush your hair and my head doesn’t suit a brush, so one week I look like my grandad and the next I look like Johnny Cash. The other two look how they look all the time. I do not—haha. I don’t wear suits unless I’m there or in court and I don’t brush my hair. Actually, I don’t even look at my hair unless I have to—haha. There is nothing like being on television and being in the public eye to give you a complex.
What have been some of the most memorable moments in your career as a professional dancer?
I’ve had some fantastic memories. I’ve done things I never would have dreamed of. I just wish that I looked after myself better. I got unlucky with my knees and ankles early on, but I could have helped myself more with proper treatment and recovery but I was living the life of Riley. You live and learn. I look after myself so much better these days and I have regrets but I have been so lucky with my career and the paths it has taken me and the lessons I’ve learned. For every mistake I made, it got me to where I am now with my family. I wouldn’t dare change a thing because I’m being the best me I can.
What’s next after DWTS finishes in a few weeks? (Other than your growing family, of course!)
I’m learning to live in the moment now. I don’t know what comes next. I know now I’m focused on this and in less than two weeks I will have another baby so that’s my own priority at the minute. The rest will look after itself.
How does Echo feel about being a big sister soon?
Echo can’t wait for her brother to come. She is gonna be the best sister and she keeps picking things she is gonna let him play with and things they can do together. No doubt she will want all the cuddles when he does come, but she is full of love this one is, so she will be great.
Lightning round (the first thing that comes to mind)
The last sporting event you attended
The last sporting event was a triathlon here in Sydney—just as a spectator this time although I want to get back into them.
The last sporting event you watched on television
Football is on here at 2 a.m. so I was watching Leeds, but the UFC was on yesterday so I watched the Darren Till and Tyron Woodley fight.
Favorite show on Australian television (not including DWTS)
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite U.S. city
Boston, although I’ve never been somewhere in the U.S. where I didn’t have a good time honestly.
The last book you read
I’m reading Positively Unstoppable at the minute by Diamond Dallas Page but I just finished Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and Face the Music by Paul Stanley.
The best movie you’ve seen during the last few years
Green Book was pretty good and Bohemian Rhapsody
A book you want to read but haven’t yet
I like documentaries when I can or biographical books and movies although we don’t have much time or energy recently to watch any.
Favorite thing about Australia during this time of year
Just being here!!
Since July, 2012, we have interviewed Tristan 75 times and each is posted here with the most recent first. All interviews are posted elsewhere on this website, including our forum.