'N Sync's Fatone joins new season of 'Dancing With the Stars' on ABC
Joey Fatone hasn't danced since an 'N Sync concert in Orlando five years ago. The singer, who lives in southwest Orange County with his wife and daughter, described himself as "technically, not the greatest dancer." He twice rejected an offer to join Dancing With the Stars, but he will compete when the contest returns March 19.
"It looked more and more fun as I watched it," Fatone said Wednesday. "The popularity is huge. There's a bigger demand for celebrities to do it. I said, 'Why not?' "
Fatone, who is 30, cited another benefit of training to do the pasodoble and the waltz.
"I was probably 15 to 20 pounds lighter when I was dancing," Fatone said. "Hopefully, that sheds off in the process."
Past Dancing participant Jerry Springer announced the 11 new celebrity contestants Wednesday on Good Morning America. They include country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, boxer Laila Ali, former basketball star Clyde Drexler and model Paulina Porizkova. The biggest surprise was Heather Mills, who is going through a bitter divorce from Paul McCartney.
ABC noted that Mills, who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, will be the first contestant with an artificial limb. "She may be a sentimental favorite," Springer said.
Fatone said her inclusion could mean good television. "If she can do it, that's awesome," he said. "I give her a lot of credit for doing it. She may be better than Jerry Springer."
Kym Johnson, who was Springer's partner, will team with Fatone. She arrived at his home Wednesday morning, and they planned to start rehearsing that evening.
"She basically came and knocked on the door," Fatone said. "They never said who the person was. They set up the cameras. I was hanging out in the backyard. My daughter opened the door."
Fatone said the biggest challenge would be the crash course of dances that competitors must learn. "I heard in the other season they had longer to rehearse," he said. "We have only a month."
Dancing With the Stars scores some of its highest ratings in Central Florida. His message to local viewers: "Let me know if I suck, and if not, vote for me."
And will there ever be an 'N Sync reunion? "Who knows? Everybody is still doing their own thing," Fatone said. "It's great to take a break. Maybe one day."