DWTS' Mark Ballas Will "Avenge" Sabrina's Exit with One Last Dance
by Deborah Starr Seibel
How's this for a knight in shining armor? Dancing with the Stars pro Mark Ballas can't wait to come back to the show to "avenge" partner Sabrina Bryan's shocking elimination two weeks ago. "She was voted off too early," Ballas, who is now romantically involved with Bryan, tells TVGuide.com. "She's great, she's lovely, and she was by far the best dancer. No one can take that away from her. So I want to come back to avenge her."
In each of the past four seasons, all of the couples have been asked back to do a short turn on the dance floor during the finale, normally not more than about 10 seconds. But according to Ballas (although not yet confirmed by ABC), "What I'm hearing is that they want us to do a whole dance, whether it be paso doble or cha-cha."
That would be a Dancing first, and a highly charged moment for both the dancers and the audience. The danger, of course, is that emotional fireworks over Sabrina and Mark might overshadow the eventual winner. But in this case, the stars who are still in the running might be cheering loudest of all. Because what the audience doesn't know is that last week, when Spice Girl Mel B. and her pro partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, sported cheetah-paw-print tattoos — worn in solidarity with Bryan — they weren't the only ones.
"The whole cast was wearing them," says Bryan. "Jane [Seymour] had hers on her lower back. Marie [Osmond] had hers on her ankle. Helio [Castroneves] was wearing a 'We Love Sabrina' T-shirt in one of his interviews." Bryan adds, "I had no idea that I would come out of this with such amazing friendships and support — especially Mel B. and Jennie [Garth], who have really taken me on, almost like a little sister, someone they watch over and take care of."
Ballas is feeling protective, too. He says that Bryan is the best student he's ever had. "She was like my protégé," says Ballas. "I've never worked with someone who wanted it so bad and was clinging to every word I said. And so for me, it was frustrating because she worked so hard. It got very personal."
Ballas says he's heard rumblings that the voters might have thought that Bryan had an unfair advantage because of her background as a hip-hop dancer. "People say she came too far too fast," says Ballas. "But in the beginning, when I first met her, she was clueless. She could stand with her knees bent and go "Yeah, yeah, boom, boom, hip-hop.' But as far as having your feet turned out properly, your hair in a wonderful beehive hairdo and a ballroom gown with feathers at your feet? She didn't know how to do that. It's a totally different kettle of fish."
No matter what happens on the show, the good news is that Ballas and Bryan will continue dancing together. They've both signed on to do the third national Dancing tour, which kicks off Dec. 18 in Seattle. "It means a lot to us to be able to carry on performing," says Ballas. "And I want to show Sabrina's full potential. I really wanted to show America what she could do. I know there was a lot more I could've pulled out of her if we had stayed in the competition. So I'm definitely going to be pulling out all the stops on the tour."