In the summer of 2005, former “Seinfeld” star John O’Hurley — most recently the host of “Family Feud” and a Broadway performer — competed in the first season of ABCs “Dancing With the Stars” with pro partner Charlotte Jorgensen, finishing second in a disputed finale to “General Hospital” star Kelly Monaco and her pro partner, Alec Mazo.
ABC brought the two back in the fall for the show’s only dance-off so far, which O’Hurley wound up winning.
He was on hand in the audience for the recent 200th episode celebration for “Dancing With the Stars,” and he shares his picks for the final three with Zap2it: Kyle Massey, Jennifer Grey and Brandy.
(That would mean that Bristol Palin would be the next to be eliminated during the results show on Tuesday, Nov. 16.)
“I think that’s going to be your final,” he says, “those three.”
Asked which of the trio would get his vote, O’Hurley echoes the comparison made by judge Carrie Ann Inaba on Monday night’s performance show, “Kyle, and here’s why: he reminds me a little of [former winner] Emmitt Smith, in a way, in the fact that he represents the best of what the show is about.
“He’s not a dancer, but he just said, ‘I’m just going to go in there with a smile and put my best foot on the floor and just see what happens.’ He says, ‘I’m just going to give it 110 percent.’
“That’s the spirit of what the show was about. The other two are wonderful dancers, and they’ve picked up the elegance of what they’re doing beautifully.”
O’Hurley, though, didn’t approve of judge Bruno Tonioli‘s comments about ousted contestant Michael Bolton‘s “Hound Dog” jive routine back in late September, in which the excitable Tonioli called it “the worst jive in 11 seasons.” Bolton demanded an apology, but did return to sing on a results show.
Another dispute erupted the week after the 200th episode performance show, on Nov. 8, in which pro dancer Maksim Chmerikovskiy objected to Inaba’s criticism about the slow start of his “Instant Dance” routine with partner Brandy.
“I take Len [head judge Len Goodman] out of this,” says O’Hurley, “but [the other judges] have gotten their wrists slapped a couple of times. Bruno’s comments to Michael Bolton, saying it was the worst jive in the history of the show … for him to go archival on Michael Bolton, when I’m sure every agent in the world was looking at that moment, thinking, ‘There’s no way I’m going to take my high-profile star and put him on the show and risk having somebody tear him down because of his dancing ability.’
“That show has to thrive on the ability to get high-profile stars, or it falls flat on its face. There’s a way to be encouraging, given the margin of what people are able to bring to the show. And for him go to, as I say, archival, saying it was the worst ever, it’s so wrong to do that.”
O’Hurley also has a personal reason to feel uncomfortable with Bolton’s on-air dressing-down.
“I was the one who convinced Michael to do the show,” he says. “Oh, God. Well, I said, ‘I’ve also got some stock tips for you. I’ve got a lot of money with this Madoff guy …'”
If “Dancing With the Stars” ever has an alumni show, O’Hurley says he’d “do it in a second,” provided he could block off the time necessary. But in the meantime, he’s turned his ballroom experience into a fund-raising machine, asking quite a bit more than a dime a dance on behalf of charities.
“In many of the live auctions I do,” he says, “the last auction item will be a dance. … Usually these things go for between $10,000 and $15,000, and sometimes I’ll do two, just to say, ‘If you’ll take it for 15, and you’ll take it for 15, we’ll do two.’ The audience goes nuts.
“If not for ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ there’s probably a couple hundred thousand dollars that wouldn’t have been raised.”
O’Hurley can next been seen on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, in his annual role as co-host of the “National Dog Show” on NBC.
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