We already know Mark Ballas can teach everyone from Kim Kardashian to Bristol Palin how to samba. And on October 17, viewers can catch the shirtless wonder help a Wisconsin family on a Dancing with the Stars-themed episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC, 8 PM). "This is the show that makes me cry," says Ballas, 24, who was joined by cohorts Derek Hough, Tony Dovolani and Chelsie Hightower. He talks to UsMagazine.com.
US: What's your connection to the Arboleda family?
MB: The father is a big dance fan and he's highly involved in motivating his five kids to dance. They're big fans of the show too. They freaked out when they found out that all of us were there helping out and were just really pumped and really grateful. We got to dance around like idiots in crazy '80s gear too.
US: Did you pick up a hammer at any point?
MB: Well, I took part in taking it down. I had a crowbar and I was tearing down walls and knocking stuff down and then removing glass. We were hands on. Growing up, I moved around a lot. When we got to England, we moved eight times alone! So I'm by no means a handyman, but I used to help my mom around the house.
US: Let's talk Dancing With the Stars. Are the judges being too harsh on Bristol?
I think they're being tough on everybody. The scoring is all over the place. I don't know if it's the traveling back and forth for the judges or maybe they're just not seeing what they want to see. But they were way too hard on Bristol last week. Especially Carrie Anne.
US: Well, that rumba was a little risque for a teenager…
MB: It wasn't that it was too sexy. The judges just thought that when I took off my shirt it was a distraction. I've danced the rumba with Shawn Johnson who was 17 and it was not a problem. It's like if you don't wanna see a risque dance, then don't watch it. You don't like horror movies? Don't go to one. I was doing the rumba when I was nine!
US: Here comes the requisite question about Sarah Palin. Your thoughts?
MB: Oh yeah, I went to their house in Alaska and Sarah came to the show twice. She's lovely and we had a lot of fun with her. I got to meet her and I got to meet the family and see how supportive they are of Bristol and how proud they are. Bristol is very eager to learn, she tries her best and she's doing really well.
US: Do you still keep in touch with your old partners, or do you just take the discoball trophies and run?
MB: Not at all! I talk to Sabrina [Bryan] every week and she's always at the show. Kristi [Yamaguchi] is a dear friend of mine. I also talk to Shawn [Johnson] all the time, and Kim all the time. She is a doll. I have a blast with her.
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US: Your dad, Corky, is partnered with Florence Henderson. Any side wager as to who's going to last longer in the competition?
MB: My dad and I have a very close relationship. It's always scary when one of us gets saved first, waiting for the other one to get saved and we're nervous for each other. At the end of the day, he'll always want me to do the best I can.
By Mara Reinstein for Usmagazine.com
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