NeNe shared that she's proud of herself for taking such a huge leap out of her comfort zone by joining the competition show. "I'm so totally out of my element. But after week one, I was actually proud of myself for doing something that is not of the norm for me. Some of the people who are currently on the show have previous dance experience and I don't, so I was actually proud of myself for just even getting through it."
This season NeNe is juggling two reality shows: RHOA, of course, and Dancing With The Stars. She had her first dance this week with partner Tony Dovolani and NeNe is more determined than ever to make her personality (and maybe even her background as a stripper) work in her favor. Despite Wendy Williams' prediction that they won't win!
NeNe is also not going to let the health issues she experienced earlier this year hold her back! And she's also hoping she'll be hit with the added DWTS bonus of losing weight. "I'd love to lose 15 pounds," NeNe confesses to Essence. "That's a lot. I can't see me at 15 pounds smaller. That would be a disaster, OK? I'll be wearing everything."
As always, the stars have three weeks to rehearse their first routine. They have only seven days to learn dance number two – and it usually shows.
NeNe told Tony Dovolani that she wants to bring personality to the ballroom. "We want to have fun, darling," she added. "I want to shake my bum bum. I've never taken a dance class before, but I've always had a lot of soul."
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.”
Below are photos of the remaining season 18 stars – Amy Purdy, Billy Dee Williams, Candace Cameron Bure, Charlie White, Cody Simpson, Danica McKellar, Diana Nyad, Drew Carey, James Maslow, Meryl Davis, & Sean Avery – with their pro partners.
I admit that I am not a sports fan and I don't know much about Erin Andrews, but I was hoping she would be a step up from Brooke Burke as co-host on Dancing with the Stars. The more I read, however, the more I think this will not be the case. Not even close.
First I read that Erin's worried about living up to Brooke's legacy. Huh? She's striving for vapid nonsensical chatter? Okay, then. Next I see that she's girl crushing season 18 competitor NeNe Leakes. I'm not really a fan of the Real Housewives of Atlanta star, so this pains me to read.
ABC revealed the season 18 cast of Dancing with the Stars yesterday. The cast consists mostly of athletes, pop stars, and uber popular 90s sitcom stars. Then there's NeNe Leakes. Then there's a real [movie] star. Bloop.
New this season are Erin Andrews, who has replacedBrook Burke as Tom Bergeron's co-host, and the Switch Up twist. For the first time ever, the stars will dance with new pro partners – chosen by America's votes – at some point in the season.
Personally, I'm not excited about either addition, Erin or the twist that reeks of desperation, but oh well. Also – noTristan MacManus. 🙁 Someone at ABC hates me. Anyway, check out the cast photos and bios below, as well as a few candid shots of NeNe and Tony.