'Dancing With the Stars': Chaz Bono loving rehearsals, aside from 'wall of paparazzi'

chaz-bono-dancing-with-the-stars-week-1-performance.jpgTo say that Chaz Bono has had a typical "Dancing With the Stars" welcome probably wouldn't do him justice. Advanced coverage of Bono's Season 13 appearance makes the 2010 brouhaha over Bristol Palin seem like idle chatter.

But after nearly a month of excessive coverage and purported outrage over the competition's first transgendered contestant, Bono emerged week 1 a surprisingly strong competitor, paying little mind to the tabloid attention that preceded his performance.

"It's pretty nerve-wracking," Bono told Zap2it about waiting nearly two hours into the live premiere broadcast to take on his first dance. "I was having a good time. I came into this and have a good time, and that's the attitude I've kept."

Those nerves seem limited to performing in front a crowd, though. On other matters, Bono takes it all in stride. "It's kind of crazy," he says of the media attention, "but on the other hand, I'm really good at shutting it out. I don't probably feel it as much as others might."

The rehearsal bubble does a bit to shield Bono, and all the contestants, from the spotlight placed on the show. And with just five days to learn the dances from here on out, they'll be spending even more time inside of it.

"Dancing with Lacey [Schwimmer] and hanging out with the cast has just been a joy," says Bono, of the demanding schedule and new techniques. "I have to listen to Lacey and the other pros when they say [I'm] going to get to a point when I can just get it."

Bono suffered a minor setback in week 1, hurting his knee during a dress rehearsal -- but it's nothing he says will keep him from competing. "The whole process has been kind of hard on my knees and ankles," he says. "When things are aching, I have to enjoy it. And when I'm nervous, [I] fight against it."

Still the injuries and dance moves seem like a small obstacle when Bono notices the public eye just outside the rehearsals studio. "The most demanding thing is probably the wall of paparazzi in the parking lot," he says.

We'll see if he changes his mind after the Quickstep
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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