Lisa Vanderpump just may be my favorite on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” due to her wry assessments of her mostly hysterical castmates, so I was thrilled to see she’d be hoofing it for “Dancing with the Stars” this season. If anyone can find the humor in being tossed around or criticized for floppy hands, it’s Vanderpump. Today I got a chance to talk to Vanderpump and her partner Gleb Savchenko about their experiences on the show, dirty dancing (kind of), and whether we can expect more Giggy in the future. As expected, Vanderpump was funny, dry and supportive of her newbie dance partner (this is his first season on the American version of “Dancing with the Stars”), who was just as big of a fan of hers. Who ever said a “Real Housewives” star can’t play nice?
The answer to whether we get more Giggy is yes, probably. After showing up at the beginning of Vanderpump’s first dance, he sat out this week’s jive, but just for safety’s sake. “A lot of people have requested Giggy,” Vanderpump said. “He was sitting in the audience this week, as the jive is just a little too fast, I think, and he was in the routine the first week. I’m not sure how he’ll be involved as we go on.”
“We do want to involve Giggy,” Savchenko said. “We have to see what works.”
What hasn’t worked, at least initially, for Vanderpump was the physical closeness ballroom dance required. “That is kind of strange at first,” Vanderpump admitted.
“She’s getting used to it, though. She comes to rehearsal now and says I want to do a little bit of that this week,” Savchenko said.
“He’s actually laying on top of me right now,” Vanderpump joked. “Get off of me, come on now!”
But Savchenko explained that, even though his emphasis is on Latin dance, it’s not the only style that requires dancers to get up close and personal. “In all of ballroom dancing, you have to have close contact to create that proper shape. In the Viennese waltz, what we’re doing this week, we don’t have that much contact, which I actually really miss.”
“I’m just trying to get through this,” Vanderpump countered. “I mean, my God, the first week it was, connect your groins!”
Both admitted that the show has been challenging in ways both expected and unexpected. “Oh my, there’s so much. The physicality of it, the time constraints when you have businesses to run. You can’t just throw everything aside. There’s also this tremendous comradary amongst all of us. And Len really does make me laugh. You know me, I see the funny side. And I’m covered in bruises, but otherwise, I’m fine.”
“I’m the new guy on the show, so there’s a lot of pressure for me. I have to prove that I’m worth it.”
“You’re worth it, baby,” Vanderpump purred.
“And there was double pressure, because Lisa had never seen me before and the fans had never seen me before. When we began, I had 200 fans on Twitter. The other dancers had thousands of fans.”
“Can you please ask people to follow him on Twitter?” Vanderpump asked. (If you do want to follow Gleb, he’s at @Gleb_Savchenko, though I doubt he’s had just 200 followers for a long time. He’s now above 6,000. You’re welcome, @LisaVanderpump).
Savchenko had watched “The Real Houswives” franchises before he knew Vanderpump would be his partner. “I was super excited to find out it was Lisa, because I didn’t know. I knew it would be a Housewife, but I didn’t know which one. But I was super excited about dancing with her, because I didn’t want the other ones.”
“You can’t say that!” Vanderpump cut in.
“But she’s the most beautiful and the nicest and the funniest one. So I’m glad.”
“He was just glad to get one with a sense of humor,” Vanderpump said.
As fans of Vanderpump might expect, her equally witty husband Ken is perfectly fine with his wife of 30 years dancing with a studly young man (after all, he has a jokingly flirtatious relationship with Vanderpump’s friend Brandi Glanville). “He’s thrilled,” Vanderpump said. “I said to him yesterday, are you alright with this, and he said, I’m okay with you guys doing all this as long as there’s a camera present when you do it.”
When asked if there was any particularly dance style they were dreading, such as hip-hop (“I don’t think we’ll be getting any hip hop, to be honest,” Savchenko said), they agreed that every dance style had the same learning curve. “We’ve never really learned any of these together before we get them, and we have just four days to learn the whole routine. It’s all going to be new. But it’s not like they give me something I don’t know, so it’s not scary for us.”
“They’re all different for me,” Vanderpump said. “The challenge this week was that the give was so swift.”
“We got through that and that was maybe the toughest,” Savchenko said.
Though Kellie Pickler and Zendaya are both becoming the ones to beat this season, Vanderpump isn’t letting that concern her. “A lot of people have a lot more experience, absolutely, but I don’t really think you’re competing against other people. You’re competing against yourself. People just want to see what you can do, and people don’t expect me to do what a 16-year-old can do.
Vanderpump suspects that she and Savchenko may have lost some of their fan base temporarily due to “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” also airing on Monday night. “I don’t think a lot of my fans saw me because of ‘Housewives,'” she admitted.
That being said, she’s happy with this reality TV experience. “I think ABC has really shown me true to life; they’ve shown the frustrations and the high points, too.”
But Savchenko, who also appeared on the Australian version of “Dancing with the Stars,” does have one minor complaint. “I’m a true performer. I feel natural on stage and in front of cameras, so I don’t get stressed or terrified by that. But when I hear my voice, I wish it was deeper, that it was sexier and cooler. Maybe I’ve got to get a sore throat this week.”