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TONY DOVOLANI , NENE LEAKES

Tony Dovolani is ready for the upcoming season of Dancing With The Stars, but is his partner NeNe Leakes

While Tony was fully prepared to end up in the middle of the pack for this season's eliminations, he says that after he started working with NeNe he believes they could go far. But it's going to take relying on NeNe's personality to get there!

"We know athletes have an advantage but I feel like personality takes you a long way," Tony explained. "As long as we can show NeNe’s personality in a positive way, we can have her connect with the audience at home.”

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Tony also isn't worried by the drama personality NeNe deploys on Real Housewives of Atlanta getting in the way of their chances. “I’m her dance teacher. There can’t be too much drama," Tony believes. "I don't do well with drama. There will be moments when we’ll be tested. As long as I remain a professional and make sure I’m the teacher, she’s the student, we’re partners, we’ll be good.”

Tony, does admit, that he's wary of NayNay, NeNe's shade-throwing, wildcard alter-ego making an appearance! Yes, Tony, you should be worried. And yes, Tony, you should expect NayNay to make an appearance. NeNe can only keep her other-half hidden for so long! 

Tony, who often gets paired with more challenging partners (Kate Gosselin, anyone?!), readily admits its because of his patience and coaching skills. So far, Nay-Nay and the drama have been absent and Tony says NeNe is fully committed to being successful on the show. “She practices when she goes home. She comes in with good questions and comes up with good ideas in terms of how she wants to look," Tony reveals. "I love it when someone is outspoken and knows what they want. It makes my job easier. My goal is to make my partner shine.”

And he is hoping to create dances that highlight NeNe's strengths. But he also feels NeNe is in much better shape than she pretends to be. Apparently she's been complaining of sore muscles which is a good sign to Tony. “If you go to the gym and don’t get sore, you didn’t have a work out,” Tony explained. 

Thanks to Atlanta Constitution Journal for the transcript! 

[Photo Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin]

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