TV Weekly: Bruno Tonioli tells us that week two is when "the pressure kicks in" on Dancing With the Stars

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25 March 2016

ABC, Monday, 8:00 PM ET


By Kellie Freeze

Last Monday, ABC’s Dancing With the Stars kicked off another steamy season, but judge Bruno Tonioli says that Week 2 is when the season really heats up.

“Then the pressure kicks in,” he says. “Then you start to see who will rise to the pressure and who will be fragile when the mistakes happen.”

Week 2 is also the season’s first elimination — something that Tonioli considers a necessary evil.

“That is the nature of the beast; but as a human being, you always say, ‘Oh, bless him; I wish he or she had another week.’ That is your human side, but this is a competition, so like any competition, that’s what has to happen.”

Tonioli calls Season 22’s cast “very current,” and is excited that the cast is sportier than ever, with current NFL players Antonio Brown and Von Miller, former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, and MMA star Paige VanZant among those vying for the mirror ball trophy.

“They work so hard!” Tonioli says of the athletes. “They are used to being coached and they want to win. They have that kind of determination to succeed, and great attitude.”

But Tonioli says not to count out any of this season’s other competitors, and carefully demurs when asked to pick a frontrunner.

He explains, “We’ve had so many surprises in the past when people come out of the blue and they amaze you, and people that you think would perform at a very high level who don’t do so well.” But once he’s seen a few performances, Tonioli starts to see the competitors’ personalities emerge. “I need two rounds,” he says. “I need to see them over a couple of weeks — then you get an idea of how somebody can develop or what is their potential.”

Tonioli admits that he marvels at Dancing With the Stars’ longevity, but isn’t surprised by it. “It renews itself every season,” he explains, noting that the show’s choreography — particularly in the last two seasons — is really pushing and evolving the art of dance. “If we keep that kind of passion and that kind of life to it, the show could run forever!”

And since this season is just getting started, Tonioli is gleeful about what is yet to come.

“Expect the unexpected,” he crows. “And as always, you’re going to have the Monday night fever!”
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