Kellie Pickler on ‘DWTS’ Vs. ‘Idol’: ‘It’s A Whole Different Type of Scary’

by | March 20, 2013 at 12:03 PM | Dancing With The Stars, Interview

"DWTS": Derek Hough and Kellie Pickler (Photo: ABC)

Pick Pickler!

That was the rallying cry of Kellie Pickler to fans when she competed on “American Idol’s” Season 5 in 2006. Although Kellie only finished 6th on “Idol,” on this season’s “Dancing with the Stars,” the country singer already looks like one of the celebrity front runners!

On Monday night, Kellie stunned “DWTS” viewers with her strong performance of the cha cha cha with partner Derek Hough. Dancing first, Kellie and Derek got Season 16 off to a rousing start. Kellie’s score of 21 put the country cutie in a tie for second place.

After the show, here is what the happy golden couple (who look like they could be brother and sister) had to say to reporters about their first night’s dance, body aches, and her glittery hairdo!

How was performing first on the season premiere?
Derek: I’m not a big fan of it. Did we dance tonight? It felt like five hours ago, but I will say she did fantastic and I’m so proud of her. Going first is tough.

The producers knew you could pull it off!
Derek: Going first you always expect a certain type of score but for me like I’ve said time and again three 7s on the opening night is a perfect place to start.

How did you feel about your first dance, Kellie?
Kellie: It’s so crazy because your adrenaline is going and the audience was unbelievable, too. They were so great and so into everybody.
Derek: I think they were going Kellie Pickler, holy s— balls.
Kellie: Oh hush!
Derek: Look at that dress, look at that hair. Woo hoo!
Kellie: It was so much fun. I kind of wanted to do it again.

Listen to the way you’re talking, Derek. Is Kellie is rubbing off on you?
Derek: No it’s not. That’s just me. I’m just more of a free spirit nowadays.

What’s been the most challenging thing about the experience so far?
Kellie: I think just learning the technique in such a short amount of time. I’ve never done the cha-cha before in my life, until now.

Can you compare the nerves of “American Idol” to “Dancing with the Stars”?
Kellie: It’s a whole different type of scary. When you get in line for “American Idol,” I was doing that to pursue a music career and I wanted a record deal, and everyone in that competition wants a record deal and no one is guaranteed anything except the winner. But for “Dancing with the Stars” it’s just a whole different ballgame because I’m really stepping outside of my comfort zone. I kind of approach this more as an extracurricular activity, like when you’re in school and you have your job and the profession that you are going after, but you might play a sport on the side like baseball or cheerleading, but I love this and I told Derek that I want to find someone in Nashville just to dance for fun when I’m off the road, to be able to go into a studio. I love this. I just had so much fun [but] I get frustrated because I’m so hard on myself.
Derek: [joking] We will talk in a couple of weeks and she’ll say I’m done with this dancing crap.
Kellie: I’ll be saying please don’t vote for us, I’m so tired [laughs] but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and to complain about anything would be completely ungrateful so I’m very blessed and grateful to be here, hopefully we will be here a lot longer.

Is your body sore already?
Kellie: Oh yes. Everything hurts, all of the above.
Derek: I will have to teach her icing [down the body] because even I am bad at icing. Ever since my injuries, I take care of myself but I’m going to take her to a spa and push her into freezing cold baths. And then you can sit there for a couple of minutes and you can’t get warm again, you have to stay cold.
Kellie: Brrrrrrrrrrrr.

How do you think the judges here compared to the judges on “American Idol”?
Kellie: They are two completely different things. I had Simon Cowell on my season and he was a tough cookie, but this is a whole different ball game and like I said two completely different sports.
Derek: From Simon Cowell to Bruno [Tonioli]!
Kellie: There’s still a communication barrier there and I don’t know what they’re saying.

What about Len Goodman, he’s pretty tough also?
Kellie: I can take constructive criticism. I feel like if you take constructive criticism you know what to apply and be better at things the next week and know what to work on.

Are you tougher than you look?
[Kellie flexes her bicep]

I’m really liking the glitter in your hair!
Derek: So is she.
Kellie: They literally put a shield over my face and just totally sprayed my head. I love the glitter and all the costumes and all the fun things that come along with it.