Today’s cuppa: Barry’s Gold Blend tea

In the last week or so, I’ve been busy writing stories for the From Inside the Box blog over at …

Click here for designer Mark Brunetz of “Clean House” talking about Niecy Nash on “Dancing With the Stars”

Tony_Dovolani_Kate_Gosselin_DTWS.jpgClick here for “Dancing With the Stars” pro Tony Dovolani talking about the elimination of his partner, Kate Gosselin (at left) …

And click here for, on an entirely “DWTS”-unrelated topic, an interview with host Thu Tran of IFC’s cooking/puppet show, “Food Party.”

I’ve also just written a profile of “DWTS” pro dancer Derek Hough, to coincide with the season finale on Tuesday, May 25 (no, that doesn’t mean I know whether or not he and partner Nicole Scherzinger will be in the finals).

Both Dovolani and Hough are fun to talk to and had a few more things to say than fit in the stories. Here’s a sampling:

Hough on working with Scherzinger: “She’s so fun to work with. Her dancing ability is awesome, and it’s fantastic, but the first and foremost thing you look at when you are waiting to see who you’re going to have as a partner, is the kind of person they’re going to be. You want to enjoy yourself during your time on the show. You can go all the way and win if you want, but if you don’t have a very fun experience. there’s no real point. For me, it’s all about the experience and having a good time, whoever I’m with.”

Dovolani agrees: “People focus on winning, they miss the journey. To me, it’s not really about winning. I won the world championships when it really mattered. This is ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ It’s more about personality and so on and so forth. It’s all about getting the best out of the person, and I know I’ve given it my all.

“For me, whether you last two weeks or go all the way on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ it’s a win. It’s such an incredible experience that if you’re bothered by a loss, then you missed the whole point.”

Hough (at right, with Scherzinger) on his biggest challenge this season: “The hardest thing has been trying to live up toNicole_Scherzinger_Derek_Hough_DWTS_2.jpg everyone’s expectations. Everybody expects a lot of Nicole. That puts a lot of pressure on me, because I feel if we don’t do well one night, it might be my responsibility.”

Dovolani on the pros: “My hat’s off to all the professionals. Season in and season out, we all get paired with different people, different personalities, and we really have to search to make sure we bring out the best of every single celebrity. We work our tails off. When the celebrity does well, cheers for the celebrity. when they don’t do well, it’s always due to the teacher.”

Hough on the celebrity he’d most like to dance with: “I’d say Jessica Alba.”

Dovolani responds: “Of course, he did (pick her). That is awesome. Whose list wouldn’t she be on? I have a whole list, but I’m not allowed to share because my wife would get upset at me.”

Hough on breaking the rules with Nicole in a nautical quickstep danced to “Anything Goes”: “The song was so theatrical and so good that I felt like I had to go with it, or I’d be doing the song an injustice. I went with that direction for that number. The judges did complain. They did, indeed. We dropped scores big time. But it was a lot of fun. It’s OK. As long as the performances are good, the scores and everything else are just bonuses.”

Dovolani on Hough and Scherzinger, and whether her strong start will work against her: “Nicole did come out of the gate strong, and she does have a dance background. The one thing about our show, it’s not designed around fairness. It’s designed around personalities and entertainment. I also look at our show as more of a variety show than anything else.

“Nicole definitely provides entertainment. She is a very good dancer, and Derek is doing a great job with her. I think she’s going to be entertaining week in and week out.”

(UPDATE: After tonight’s results show, looks like Dovolani was right about Nicole and Derek sticking around, at least for one more week.)

Posted by:Kate O'Hare