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Melissa Rycroft on 'Dancing' After Baby: 'I'm Working Through Feeling Selfish'
Although Melissa Rycroft’s first claim to fame was on Jason Mesnick’s controversial season of The Bachelor in 2009, she’s moved on in a big way. That same year, she finished third on the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars and married former flame Tye Strickland. In 2011, she welcomed daughter Ava, and now she’s back in the ballroom for a second chance at the mirror-ball trophy.
The 29-year-old has garnered solid scores from the judges this season (23.5 last week and 21 the week before) and avoided the bottom three. She talked to Parade.com about her plans for tonight’s dance, getting back in shape, balancing her role as a mom, and which All-Stars she sees as her toughest competition.
On taking creative control for this week’s dance.
“Having been an audience member for the past couple years definitely helps because you've seen things on the show that you like and you know what appeals to the audience. That's what I'm going for—things I've enjoyed seeing in the past, things that I know the audience responded well to and that the judges seemed to like.”
On the routine she has planned for tonight’s episode.
"We have samba, and the samba is the party dance of all the Latins. I want the audience to feel like they are in an underground salsa samba club with us. I want the routine to end and for people to go, 'What just happened?'"
On balancing parenting with a busy DWTS schedule.
"It’s more difficult than we thought. Things work out on paper, and then it's just harder in real life. The reason it's hard is because this is the first big thing that I've done since I've had Ava, and I'm working through the feelings of feeling selfish for going back to work. Even though I'm only gone for five hours a day and she's at the studio in the green room and she's with me all the time, it's still new."
On her daughter's experience with the show.
"She is getting quite the collection of sparkly bracelets from my outfits. There are so many other kids backstage that are around her age. Joey's little one Chloe was there, and Helio's daughter as well, so on show days, the kids can kind of hang out in the green room, watch the show live, and just kind of hang out in this Dancing with the Stars baby group."
On getting back into shape.
"This season has tightened me up. I don't want to lose weight throughout this process, but I love that it tones your muscles up. I've got triceps again and biceps, and those killer abs that come from this workout that I'm going to miss."
On the first two eliminations.
"I think the Joey elimination was more surprising [than Pamela Anderson] just because he wasn't in the bottom two [on the leaderboard]. When we saw who was in the bottom two, we all kind of freaked out. The game has now officially changed, where the audience has changed the outcome. It scares you a little bit. You don't know where you stand."
On who she sees as her biggest competition.
“I think Sabrina and Louis have the technical aspects of the dances down to a tee. I don't think anybody can touch Sabrina's technique. Shawn and Derek are just adorable to watch. You just watch them smiling. Helio is one of the nicest guys I know and then you've got the personalities of Emmitt and Gilles. There's going to be some tough competition to beat and our goal hopefully is to be there in the end, but it's going to be hard.”
On her strengths as a dancer.
“I think Tony and I have the personality package. I love that we go out on the dance floor and it's a different show every week. We've done the Chicago-esque Broadway foxtrot. Last week we did the fun 50's jive. And this week it's going to be the samba, but we want to bring the personality out and have a different performance every week.”
On what she things of Sean Lowe as the next Bachelor.
"I think it's a great choice. Oddly enough, I know Sean from about six years ago. He was dating one of the girls that I was a Cowboys cheerleader with. What a small world! I hope this experience works out for him, whether he finds somebody or if it catapults him into something else that he wants to do."
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