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One of the first competitors to admit she was there to win — and not just have fun — Gladys Knight took a big step in the right direction during Monday’s Dancing With the Stars premiere, bringing the entire audience to its feet and pulling in one of the night’s strongest scores.
And at 67 years old, she’s also the most seasoned contestant by more than a decade.
“I don’t think about it,” she told The Hollywood Reporter after the show. “I don’t think in terms of age, per se. We sort of categorize ourselves. It’s what we feel in our hearts and our spirits and our minds that makes the difference.”
It would appear Miss Knight feels like a dancer. She and partner Tristan MacManus earned a cumulative 23 with their Cha Cha, tying for the night’s third highest score.
Of her first time out on the floor, Knight would only say that she’s sad the experience was already over. “Now that we’re done, it’s kind of a letdown,” she admitted. “You want to do it again. It’s just overwhelming.”
A veteran of live television and touring, Knight also said the nature of the broadcast didn’t faze her.
“It’s still a stage,” she said, “But what they’ve done with the theater, you can’t over look that. I’ve been watching from the beginning, and when I first came here it was just a floor and a few chairs. I’ve been in many theaters in my life, and this one doesn’t fall short.”
She and all of her fellow contestants will have a second chance to take that stage next week, as the series is holding its first elimination for week two. And up next for Knight and MacManus? The Quickstep.
“That’s the one we’re looking forward to,” said MacManus. “The thing about Gladys is that she’s willing to try anything.”
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