‘DWTS’: Cher on Guest Judging: ‘I Have No Idea What I’m Doing’

Cher (Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

The legendary Cher will be judging the remaining seven celebrity competitors and performing her hit songs on “Dancing with the Stars” on Monday night. It’s sure to be a memorable time in the ballroom and on Friday, Cher promoted her “DWTS” guest gig in a press conference with reporters.

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Here, the “Sonny & Cher” star, Oscar-winning movie actress, and “Believe” singer riffs on her fear about judging ballroom dancing, what she’ll be wearing, and how her son and former Season 13 “DWTS” competitor, Chaz Bono, will help her through the experience:

How do you feel about the technical aspects of judging ballroom dance?
I’m so not qualified to be judging on a technical basis because I don’t really know anything about ballroom dancing. I don’t want to be responsible in any kind of way for—just the fact that someone happens to be there the night that I’m there. I don’t want anyone to not have all the breaks they would have had with someone with expertise. That’s a little frightening. I was talking to Chaz about that and I have a huge notebook that they gave me but I know that people take this seriously and about all the rest of it, I feel great. I’m confident and l know where it’s going to be and see where it’s going to be. We’re dong rehearsal on Sunday and so that I feel really good about. I just don’t want to be responsible for someone getting a different mark than a professional would give them so I am a little bit worried about that part.

How is your son Chaz helping you?
He’s coming [over] tonight to give me tips! He’s [like], ‘Mom, you don’t understand how seriously people take this! I’m going to tutor you.’ And I thought, okay, great. Obviously I’m going to need all the help I can get. But I didn’t really know that [judging] part of it. I knew the other part about the singing and the songs I was going to do and all the kids were going to be dancing to specific songs [of mine] and so I was quite aware of all that. Being a judge kind of came as a surprise to me but the thing is, I don’t like to do anything halfway or in half measures. I was even nervous when I did The Voice and then I realized I was absolutely more than able to do that even though it was unbelievably hard work. I feel a little bit nervous about this because I actually have enjoyed ballroom dancing. I’ve seen it on television. I saw it when I lived in England and I enjoyed it and actually my uncle and my aunt were ballroom dancers. But I don’t know how you judge it, you know what I mean? That makes me feel a little bit frightened. I don’t want to do anything that would hurt anybody in any way.

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Are you nervous that you’ll judge a dance too harshly?
No. I’m not that kind of person. I don’t know if you saw me on The Voice but I don’t come from that place. If you’re a professional, I come from that place but if you’re not, I don’t. I don’t even know enough but I would never come from that place because I was there when Chaz was doing it and I saw how difficult it was. I don’t even think I could do a proper job of it. I don’t want to miss a fabulous thing that that one of the contestants are doing. That would be a big deal and wouldn’t even know it. I wouldn’t want to go ‘Oh, I didn’t even see Jack [Osbourne] do that. What is that?’ That part I’m a little bit nervous about because, as I’ve been reiterating, I like to know what I’m doing and do it really well and in this particular instance, I have no idea what I’m doing. What I think is they’re just going to have me commenting on what I thought of it, the entire thing but not really be able to judge anyone. Did I think it was beautiful? That I could do in spades but I couldn’t tell you—and I’ve seen how intricate it is and know that every little movement means something. It’s so complicated, as any beautiful dance is. I notice it when I’m watching my dancers and I see every amazing thing they do. But we don’t grade in rock and roll!

Do you feel nervous about the couples dancing to your own music?
I don’t feel nervous about it. I think it’s going to be great. That part I’m very excited about. I’m interested to see how the musical director arranges everything.

Do you have an outfit picked out for Monday?
What do you think? I have three of them! It’s not all beaded and stuff like that. That’s going to be well taken care of by everyone else there [at “DWTS”].

What are some of your favorite “DWTS” costumes?
What I notice about it—it really reminds me of Bob Mackie in the best possible sense because you don’t see those kind of beautifully beaded orchestrated gowns. Those are constructed things that have a purpose and need to have a strap here to hold this when the dancer is doing that. They’re very complicated pieces. Besides being beautiful, it’s like a drawbridge. It has to work. It has to be small but it has to know what it’s doing, the dress.

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Are you going to take any cues from the dancers for your upcoming tour?
I don’t think there will be any ballroom dancing on our show, but since people like it—I say no, but that would be kind of cool!

Do you like the journey of the contestants on “DWTS”?
There are so many things that are involved in it. First of all, it’s overcoming your fear and then going into a place where you’ve never gone before and actually finding that you’re able to do something. You’re astounded that you’re able to do it. I look it, and think, my, God, I don’t think I could do that. And conquering fear in front of a gazillion people is more than terrifying. They’ve done studies on one of the most frightening things to people and performing or speaking in front of a large crowd is right up there with being terrorized or kidnapped. Being able to go out there [on “DWTS”] and have the sheer guts; you have to have a strong sense of yourself. I think they just want to see what they can do and try to grow. I can’t applaud them enough because it would be terrifying.

Catch-up on Last Week’s Shocking Elimination on “Dancing with the Stars”:

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Would you ever compete on “DWTS”?
I think I wouldn’t do it because I would just be too frightened.

Can you describe more about the binder book you’re using to judge “DWTS”? Or will you use the other judges to help with the technique of the dances?
First of all, it’s a huge binder with bios in it and it tells me what they’ve done so far and then at the end, there’s something that looks like math, which is always scary to a dyslexic person and it just says, ‘judge master scorecard’ then I’m looking at it, going oh, my God, all I can say is ‘that is beautiful.’ Someone is really going to have to do some cramming with me.

And it’s going to be nostalgic because it’s at CBS Television City where you had your variety show for so many years.
That’s true. I know that place like the back of my hand! I was there when Chaz was doing [“DWTS”], too, and it was so exciting. I kind of wish I was in the audience for most of it to watch it but not do any damage, just to enjoy it and clap. It is thrilling, I have to say. In person, it was amazing. Like any live event, the energy is just palpable.

“Dancing with the Stars” airs Monday at 8/7c on ABC.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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