The Welsh mezzo-soprano gained a much larger American fan base as the runner-up in last spring’s season of the ABC contest, undoubtedly a reason the network invited her to participate in its annual “CMA Country Christmas” special Thursday, Dec. 20. She doesn’t mind that the job only involves singing, and no fancy footwork, for her.
“They did not ask any of the Season 14 contestants,” Jenkins tells Zap2it about not being on “Dancing” now. “They felt it was too soon … and to be quite honest, had they asked me, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I’d have had to make a big gap in my schedule to do the season, and last time, my poor manager was having to reschedule tours for later in the year.
“I also think that it’s such an intense experience, you need time to step away from it. In five years’ time, if they did another ‘All-Stars,’ I would absolutely love to do it then, but I feel that I used every single bit of me in that show. And I need to refill.”
Which doesn’t mean Jenkins isn’t keeping an eye on the current Monday and Tuesday “All-Stars” airings. “I’m watching and supporting, of course,” she confirms, noting her particular interest in the team of Shawn Johnson and Derek Hough.
“I think that he may dance next week,” Jenkins says of Hough, who was sidelined this week by a bulging disc. “I think it’s great that Mark (Ballas, who was Jenkins’ ‘Dancing’ partner) was able to step in, because they’re like brothers. I’ve been speaking with Derek, and he’s doing everything to mend as quickly as he can.”
That she got as far as she did on “Dancing” still amazes Jenkins: “I thought I would go out first, because unless you knew classical music, you didn’t know who I was. I thought that would go against me in a competition where people have to vote, and I was really taken aback by how supportive America was. People here seem to know me more as a dancer than a singer.”
Jenkins returned to “Dancing With the Stars” last month as a musical guest, along with opera icon Placido Domingo. “It was brilliant,” she recalls of going back. “Once I was finished on the show, I went back to the U.K. and went on tour to various countries. The difference is that when people like Derek and Maria Menounos — who are very dear friends of mine now — are having withdrawal symptoms from the whole process, they can just meet up in L.A. and have coffee together.
“I’m so far away from everybody, I really went through moments of missing my ‘Dancing With the Stars’ family. Some have come over to visit, and that’s been great, but it was just lovely to be back with everybody at the show again. And to take Placido, who’s another friend, with me was very special. I was bouncing off the walls with excitement.”
Soon to start a U.S. concert tour with Andrea Bocelli in support of her new holiday CD, “This Is Christmas,” Jenkins is pleased by the recognition she’s received during her various trips back to America. “People are just so sweet,” she says, “and I’m happy to talk about ‘Dancing With the Stars’ with everyone. It’s really, really nice to be in a country where everybody’s making me feel very special.”