After Bill Engvall was eliminated on Monday night’s “Dancing with the Stars,” Corbin Bleu, Amber Riley and Jack Osbourne moved on to Tuesday’s grand finale.
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The three revealed their secrets to reporters backstage after they all scored a perfect 30 for their crowd-pleasing freestyle dances.
Corbin, who paid tribute to Michael Jackson with partner Karina Smirnoff in a dazzling “Smooth Criminal” number, told xfinityTV that he had actually met the King of Pop – and he had even praised the “High School Musical” kid’s dance chops!
“It was probably the highlight of my life,” Corbin revealed.
“One thing about him—he’s such a presence,” said the actor, speaking about Jackson in the present tense, although he died tragically at age 50 in 2009. “He’s extremely tall. He’s got big old hands when he shakes your hand.”
Corbin explained that Jackson came to the “High School Musical” concert in Las Vegas with director Kenny Ortega, who had also directed all Jackson’s tours. “When I did my bit in the concert, Kenny, afterward, told me that [Michael] leaned over and said, ‘Who was that?’ And Kenny goes, ‘That’s Corbin Bleu.’ And Michael goes, ‘He’s ugly,’ [meaning], ‘He’s good.’
“I still get goose bumps thinking about it. It was one of the coolest things for me.”
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Meanwhile, Jack was perhaps the most thrilled competitor backstage after pulling off a Fred Astaire-style routine with partner Cheryl Burke.
Fans were touched when the former “The Osbournes” reality TV star and Cheryl both got teary-eyed after finishing the magical top hat and tails ballroom freestyle.
“When you’re dancing, and it clicks, and it just goes, you’re like, ‘Okay, this is cool. I can do this.’ [Tonight’] it clicked!” he told xfinityTV.
Jack, who has openly discussed his struggle with multiple sclerosis this season, said he was feeling fine but joked to reporters, “My emotional health is a little up and down.”
Normally stoic Cheryl said of her crying jag on the show, “I don’t know what is wrong with me.”
“I’ve turned the hard Cheryl Burke into a big old softie,” Jack smiled.
He told Xfinity about his own tears after the judges praised his performance, “I can’t believe I’m that guy that cries on TV. Wow! That’s what it’s come to.” But he added, “I guess it’s a good thing.”
Jack said he doubted he’d win the mirror ball trophy, but if he did, “I might do the [movie] ‘Amelie’ thing and take pictures of it all over the world, just posed pictures, like, Great Wall of China! Paris! Milan!”
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Then Amber, who has been dancing on injured knees most of the season, told reporters, “I just didn’t expect to learn so much outside of dancing about myself. It’s kind of like this spiritual journey you go through. You’re purposely putting yourself in an uncomfortable position and you’re fighting through it every single week. I’m a fighter!”
The “Glee” star showed that in her freestyle, which featured her busting into a saloon and dancing with some rough and tough cowboys, including partner Derek Hough.
Amber told xfinityTV about her knees that she’d suffered “just the usual soreness but really, I make sure I have my knee brace on, make sure I’m stretched out, warmed up, but that’s not even a thought in my mind while I’m dancing. After? Maybe. But not during!” she laughed.
The “DWTS” season finale airs Tuesday night on ABC.