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Tony Dovolani has not made it to a Dancing With the Stars finale in seven seasons, not since the last time he teamed up with Melissa Rycroft.
And now that the All-Stars season finds them reunited, they’re not taking any chances on losing votes for anything but their performances. On a recent visit to the duo’s Los Angeles rehearsal studio, The Hollywood Reporter was clued in to their game plan: wooing older viewers with classic tunes.
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“I like the older stuff,” says Rycroft. “I feel like more of the audience can relate to songs that are more generational. My mom and my mother-in-law love them, and they have no clue of any songs that have come out in the last 10 years.”
Avoiding the bottom two thus far — with songs “Big Spender” from Sweet Charity and The Isley Brothers‘ “Shout” — while recent cast-offs chose very contemporary tracks from Amy Winehouse and Radiohead, the strategy seems to be working.
This week’s Samba will highlight another familiar tune, and Dovolani says he’s planned some new tricks for the familiar routine, first performed by season 13 champ J. R. Martinez.
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“For me, it’s a feather in my cap that I get to experience this,” he says of his willing partner. “Now I know what the other professionals feel like. Before I had to teach them how to walk, and now at least I get to teach choreography.”
Watch THR‘s complete interview with the duo above, including bits on Rycroft’s turn as artistic director for Monday’s week three Samba.
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