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CNN Larry King Live

"Dancing with the Stars" Finalists

Aired May 17, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight the three stars still dancing on the TV sensation, "Dancing with the Stars."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's "Dancing with the Stars."



KING: Olympic gold-medal skater Apolo Anton Ohno; boxing champ Laila Ali, the daughter of the legendary Muhammad Ali...


KING: ... and former boy band star Joey Fatone.


KING: Their partners are here, too.


KING: And we'll find out if that sizzling chemistry carries over off the dance floor.

Plus, the judge who thought Apolo and Julianne were too sexy.




KING: They're all here to tell all, answer your calls and e- mails, too, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

We begin with the finalists.

Apolo Anton Ohno -- he's the two time Olympic gold-medal winner in short track speed skating.

Laila Ali, the dancing finalist, as well, undefeated world champion female boxer and the youngest daughter of my dear friend, the sports legend, Muhammad Ali.

And Joey Fatone, who grew up one block from where I grew up, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, a former member of one of the most popular boy bands of all time, 'N Sync. He also starred in many dramatic films and Broadway musicals.

Did you think it would come to this, Joey?

JOEY FATONE, FINALIST, FORMER 'N SYNC MEMBER: No. It's just -- it's pretty scary. It's been a lot of fun, a great, crazy trip, as far as from even being with 'N Sync and now doing, you know, "Dancing with the Stars." It's been -- it's been amazing.

KING: Laila, are you surprised?

LAILA ALI, FINALIST, UNDEFEATED WORLD CHAMPION BOXER, MUHAMMAD ALI'S DAUGHTER: Oh, I definitely didn't know I would ever be on "Dancing with the Stars," but I'm glad that I've done it and I'm so happy. I'm having so much fun.

KING: Apolo, is skating -- is it an advantage in dancing?

APOLO ANTON OHNO, FINALIST, 2-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD-MEDAL SPEED SKATER: You know, I bring a lot of really interesting bad habits to the dance floor. I'm not going to lie to you. But the show is -- it's a lot of fun. And, you know, for what -- what I've come to realize is that it's more than just about dancing. And I think that's what attracts people to the show so much.

KING: We're going to see clips of each of them dancing and we'll get their dancing partners on later, have a judge on, as well.

Let's start with Apolo and watch him at work.



KING: Apolo, that -- this is not classic ballroom dancing, is it?

This is performance, isn't it?

OHNO: Performance.

KING: This is show business?

OHNO: Yes. Like if you watched, you know, a ballroom competition, it's a little bit different. There's...

KING: Right.

OHNO: ... they're dancing the entire time. But, obviously...

KING: Judged differently.

OHNO: ... for us -- it is judged differently and I'm not a ballroom dancer. But I'm trying. You know, but...

KING: So this is like the "American Idol" of dance?

OHNO: A little bit.

KING: Because that's not really -- Rick (ph), that's not singing as much as it is performance (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

OHNO: Yes. Yes, I'm not really singing too much. I try to stay away from that. But I try to move my hips as much as possible when I'm dancing out there. I'm doing OK. I made the final, which was good.

KING: OK, Laila, you were with the footworks -- jeans, footwork.

ALI: Oh, man...

KING: Your father had the best footwork of any heavyweight who ever lived.

ALI: In the ring. My dad can't dance, though. But...

KING: He danced pretty good off the ropes.

ALI: No. Yes, he did.

But you know what?

It's funny because I had a lot of bad habits, too, from boxing, because I'm trained to keep my weight in the middle. And with dancing, you have to end on either one foot or the other. So it's always a constant problem for me.

KING: Let's watch Laila and her take.



KING: Are you enjoying yourself?

ALI: Oh, definitely. It's so much fun. It's a lot of work -- a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. You know, it's a seven day a week job while you're on the show, so, you know, when you actually perform and you get those good scores and you continue to make it, it makes you feel really good.

KING: Why did you enter it?

ALI: Because it just seemed like it would just be so much fun. You know, I come from boxing, which is not glamorous. So to be able to be dressed up and be a lady and show a different side of myself was very appealing to me.

KING: Now, let's analyze the work of Joey Fatone of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, in a most unusual place on the "Dancing with the Stars" stage. (VIDEO CLIP FROM "DANCING WITH THE STARS")

KING: "Jump Jivin'," a great tune.

FATONE: That was fantastic. A lot of energy and -- very tired by the end of that performance.


KING: Have you danced much in your life?

FATONE: I've done a lot of hip-hop stuff, you know?

And it's just the same thing as what we were talking about as far as taking you out of your element of that kind of dance. And the same thing with, you know, Laila and moving her feet. It's a totally different feeling, because with ballroom, you know, you have to make sure your posture is correct. You have to make sure everything -- and on top of that, they're judging you.

So it's really a -- a tough thing. And they did a really great job as far as casting and putting us together, because it's something that takes us out of our element. And I think that's different, obviously, for "American Idol." You want people that are aspiring singers. This is something that we're not aspiring -- you know, aspiring dancers. We just want to be able to compete and have fun and see if we can do this.

KING: we have e-mail questions.

From Rachel in Medford, New Jersey: "Laila, I know you're getting married soon. How do you find time during your busy week to plan a wedding?"

ALI: Hire a great wedding coordinator who's been handling that for me. And I would not be able to do it without her.

KING: We have an e-mail from John and Sue in San Clemente, California for Apolo: "Considering your training schedule for speed skating, do you see yourself doing any of the dancing tour when the season ends?"

They go on tour, right?

OHNO: Probably not. Just -- I mean, this, in itself, has been totally time consuming and -- not -- life consuming. And it's been pretty intense.

So, you know, my training schedule is all day anyway. So trying to balance the two would -- oh my god, I'd love to -- I'd love to try, but...

KING: Another e-mail from Kayla in Texas: "How is the music for each dance selected? Do the powers that be decide, OK, these are your songs for the week? Or do you have any say?"


FATONE: We actually -- they tell us to just submit some songs. And whether or not they pick it, that's basically, you know, their discretion. But a lot of times -- usually Tuesdays we'll get the song and they'll give you the type of dance. And you have to go, basically, on Wednesday, and start and do it from -- basically from scratch.

Now if the finals were going right now, they would basically, maybe, prior to a couple of days before, to say hey, what song would you like to do and let's see if we can clear it.

KING: Skating is of no advantage?

OHNO: I think I bring some things, obviously, from sports.

KING: Balance?

OHNO: Balance. But, you know, I'm basically in this tough position with full-time skating. And that's what I've been molding my body to for the past 12 years. All of a sudden I've got to be in this very upright, you know, very proper position. And any time I ever slip down, that's a point gone. So that's different.

Plus, you know, being in sports, we're used to having this stone cold face, not having any type of expression -- a poker face. You don't want to give any, you know, your opponent any kind of advantage or anything knowing what kind of emotion you have inside.

Whereas this, no matter what's going on, you have to have that performance face and you've got to be having fun and it's hard to do.

KING: When we come back, our surviving celebrity dancers talk about those who got the boot earlier this season.

As we go to break, more of the Apolo dance that Bruno, the judge, called raunchy.

Stick around.



GOODMAN: For me, and I can -- I can understand all these people thinking it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But to me, it was too raunchy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, come on...




TONIOLI: He's not going for the priesthood.


GOODMAN: I realize that. But I'm...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a Latin dance.

GOODMAN: I know it's a Latin dance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it's a sexy dance.

GOODMAN: And it's the cha-cha-cha.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a fun dance.

GOODMAN: It's a Latin dance, the cha-cha-cha. And what I want to see, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), is a little bit more cha-cha-cha. I saw a couple of basics, a few lops (ph). You did that New York. Oh, but the Latin -- it was gyration and raunch. And that's not (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...



















KING: Our three finalists are our guests on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Let's get their thoughts on some of the other contestants.

Apolo, what did you think of Heather Mills?

OHNO: I thought it was very interesting what she kind of brought to the show and I think that, obviously, she did a pretty tremendous job dealing with all the obstacles, you know, outside the U.S. and everything that she was doing with the show, because it's -- it's life consuming. I know she was even going back and forth from Europe sometimes.

KING: I'm amazed that she only has one leg.

OHNO: Yes. Oh, absolutely. I mean that was crazy.

FATONE: She gave so much, you know, of that ability for people with disabilities to do something like that.

OHNO: Yes.

FATONE: It gave them hope.

KING: Laila, what did you make of Ian Ziering?

ALI: Ian was great. I thought that technically he was always very sound. He worked so hard. He practiced so hard and he just had a hard time, you know, letting loose on the dance floor. That's what the judges kept complaining about.

But he got his three 10s before he went home, so I was happy for him.

KING: What did you think, Joey, of Billy Ray Cyrus?

FATONE: Billy Ray is such a great guy.

OHNO: He was.

FATONE: I mean he's so sincere when you talk to him. And he's just like man, how -- with that Southern hospitality.

KING: Yes.

FATONE: You know, he's such a great guy. It was just, you know, it was amazing to see how -- the strong following, obviously, he has with his fans, because obviously he wasn't necessarily getting the steps. But he has such a great in saying hey, I'm going to do the, you know, the chicken dance or whatever, you know, the bubba chicken dance and make these dances up. And people love him for it. He's so daring.

KING: Apolo, what about Leeza Gibbons?

OHNO: Leeza was awesome. And I just saw her at my birthday party on Monday, last Monday. She -- I think, for her, it was an experience in itself, you know? And I was impressed with just how far everybody has come, literally, just with the show and how far you advance.

I mean it -- it brings out some -- some interesting personalities.

KING: What about the old man, John Ratzenburger, Laila?

ALI: John did great. I liked him from the beginning because, as an actor, he just went out there and really knew how to sell the dance. And he was really fun to watch.

KING: Paulina Porizkova?

OHNO: Paulina -- she was actually the first one to go. I think there was -- and it's crazy because someone does have to go, but I think she had so much more potential to even go further, I think. With the dance that was given, obviously, you had to do what you had to do. And it was just -- she's actually a true sweetheart. She really is.

KING: Clyde Drexler?

FATONE: Clyde was my man on stage and off stage.

KING: And on the court?


He was a -- I was sad to see Clyde go. Obviously, the judges, you know, had some issues with his dancing. I thought Clyde practiced really hard and we had a lot of -- a lot of fun conversations outside the studio.

KING: And what about Miss USA, Shandi Finnessey?

ALI: Shandi -- liked Shandi off the dance floor, also. But I thought Shandi was doing really well, you know what I mean?

But it's all about the fan base and whether or not the fans have voted for you. So I've always said from the beginning, somebody has to go. I just didn't want it to be me. So I'm glad I'm here.


KING: Joey, you're an Italian kid from Brooklyn, so you're competitive.

FATONE: Yes, I'm a competitor, yes.

KING: How competitive is this? How much do you want to win?

FATONE: I want to win a lot. I mean, you know, it's -- it's such a great competition. And you start to see all these people that have won and how, you know, many people -- obviously, you see the ratings and everything, you know, over 20 million this past season. And you want to win, you know? You want to strive for the best you can do. So for me, it was like last week -- because the week before that, I was in the bottom two. And that was quite a shocker. And I needed to make sure I needed to stay in here. So I tried to pull out all stops, doing, you know, somersaults and jumping off the stage -- anything that I possibly can to wow the audience and wow the viewers.

KING: Now, you're both in the competition where you win and lose all the time.

OHNO: Um-hmm.

KING: So how competitive are you about this, Apolo?

OHNO: I think it comes just by nature, you know?

My life has been surrounded by competition ever since I can remember. And, you know, this is no different. Although it's -- it's in a different atmosphere, because it's not the Olympic Games and I'm not skating. But, you know, I'm -- like I'm friends with everybody on the show and we go out there and we cheer each other on.

KING: But you're friends with other skaters, too, aren't you?

OHNO: Yes, but it's a little bit different, you know, because I train for four years for one event -- sometimes eight years for one event. Forty-five seconds go by and you don't want anything -- anything to happen. And it's not judged.

KING: Now, Laila, you've never lost.

ALI: No, I'm undefeated.

KING: So if you don't win this, this will be your first loss.

ALI: I'll be heartbroken. No. No. No, I'm just joking. The only difference is, is that I know that it's not just up to me. That's -- you know, because when I go into the boxing ring, it's like I'm going to go in here and I'm going to take this girl out and there's not going to be any -- anything else that's going to happen but I'm going to win.

But I can't feel that way with "Dancing with the Stars," you know?

So all I can do is the best that I possibly can. I'm working hard, just as they are. And I really feel that the best person should win. It would be great. You know, if I'm not -- if I'm not out there doing my thing, if I'm not the best dancer that night, then I don't care to win.

KING: Are you a good self-judge?

ALI: Oh, yes. I'm very hard on myself. All those dances that I'm -- I'm watching now, I see things that I could have done better.

KING: All right, we're going to take a break and come back and meet their partners.

The stars are joined by their professional dance partners.

We'll get into all of that right after this.


GOODMAN: Your bit at the end there, that you covered (UNINTELLIGIBLE), wasn't (UNINTELLIGIBLE) my cup of tea. The rest of it was...

TONIOLI: It was funky. It was sexy.



GOODMAN: You've got to be a real masculine guy. And for me, you were a little bit feminine on occasion.



TONIOLI: Gabriel. Gabriel, it's all right.

GOODMAN: He's got it. Talk to me, Roe (ph).



GOODMAN: But that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) passionate like drama. There was such...


GOODMAN: There was -- I'm telling you.

TONIOLI: You're losing your marbles. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

GOODMAN: Yes, but it's my (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It's not you. It's not you.


GOODMAN: No. No, no. No. No.



TONIOLI: You are totally wrong.

GOODMAN: That's my opinion.




INABA: Having combined the judges' scores with your votes, we can now reveal the first couple who will move on.





INABA: Laila and Maks, you are moving to the finals.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this ninth week of competition, the couple with the lowest score and, therefore, leaving right now, Ian and Cheryl.


KING: We're back.

And now we meet their partners.

Let's go down the row.

Apolo Anton Ohno, the finalist, is joined by Julianne Hough, his dance partner.

Laila Ali is joined by her dance partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who, by the way, also lives in Brooklyn.

I don't think you were born in Brooklyn, though, right?


KING: No way.



KING: And Joey Fatone, who, born and bred in Brooklyn, is joined with his dance partner, Kym Johnson.

All right, Kim, we'll start with you. How good is Joey?

KYM JOHNSON, JOEY FATONE'S PROFESSIONAL DANCE PARTNER: Oh my goodness. I'm very, very lucky to have Joey.

KING: Are you in love with him?


JOHNSON: No, I'm not in love with Joey.

KING: You're not?

Well, you're the best faker I've ever seen.



KING: All right. Let's put it this way, a different way.

Are you in lust with Joey?

JOHNSON: No, I'm not in lust with Joey.

KING: You do it pretty good.

How well does...


KING: How well does he dance?

JOHNSON: No, he's brilliant. Yes, I was very lucky to get Joey as my partner. He's great. He's very, very good.

FATONE: Sane (ph).

JOHNSON: Very easy to work with.

KING: Maksim, how good is Laila?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Oh, she's the best, I think. But, you know, she's an incredible athlete. And for me, that's all that counts. I always said that you don't have to have talent to be a -- an incredible -- to be an accomplished person at anything, you know?

You just need perseverance and you need the work ethics. And she definitely has it.

ALI: Are you saying I don't have any talent?


CHMERKOVSKIY: And you have talent.

So, you're like a total package.

ALI: I'm just messing with you.

KING: Yes, but how much of it is wanting it?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Oh, it's -- I think it's 75 percent of wanting it. So -- and the rest is...

KING: The talent can (UNINTELLIGIBLE) evened out, who wants it more?

CHMERKOVSKIY: I'll do the -- I'll do the rest.


KING: And -- he'll do the rest.

CHMERKOVSKIY: I'm going to attack you guys (ph).

KING: And, Julianne, how good is Apolo?

JULIANNE HOUGH, APOLO ANTON OHNO'S PROFESSIONAL DANCE PARTNER: Oh, I've been extremely blessed that Apolo is my partner. He has that athletic mentality of wanting to do well. But, you know, he's just a great person and we've had so much on the show the other thing.

KING: Kim, are you an instructor?


KING: How did you get this deal? How do you hook up with your -- who picked that?

JOHNSON: The producers. I don't exactly know how they decide that, whether it's on height, personality. I had Joey Springer last season, so Joey's is quite different to my last partner that I had.

KING: So you're on every year, is that it?

JOHNSON: Yes, I did -- last season was my first here in America. But I did three in Australia.

KING: Is that where you're from?


KING: Is "Dancing with the Stars" big in Australia?

JOHNSON: It's huge in Australia. Yes.

KING: Where did it start?

JOHNSON: It started in England and then it went to Australia. So I did two there.

KING: Maksim, are you an instructor? CHMERKOVSKIY: Yes.

KING: In Brooklyn, in New York?

CHMERKOVSKIY: I have two studios in New Jersey.

KING: Your own studios?


KING: How did you get into this show?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Two seasons ago I signed up. They called me, the production. I think they're picking on your credentials and all the dancers on the show are accomplished, professional dancers in their careers.

Julianne, I know, came.

And so they called me. For the first season, I turned it down, because I was still competing. And then I took a time off, decided to do it and here I am three seasons later.

KING: Julianne, do you teach?

HOUGH: Yes, I do.

KING: Now, this is not ballroom dancing, is it?

I mean it -- it's -- it's performance dancing, isn't it?

HOUGH: It's both. It's...

KING: It's Vegas.


KING: No, right?


OHNO: There's some Vegas.

FATONE: Yes, it is.


OHNO: Yes, it is.

KING: "American Idol" dancing.

HOUGH: Sure.

KING: Right?

You don't have to agree with me. OK, we have an e-mail question from Susan in Bluffton, South Carolina. It's for Maks and Laila: "Maks and Laila, you are hands down the most competitive and stubborn couple on the show. You both seem to crave perfection. Who has the final say during a dispute?"

ALI: Max.


ALI: Max always has the final say. He's the -- he's the teacher. He's a professional. I have to listen to him.

KING: So you bow to that?

ALI: Yes. I mean...

CHMERKOVSKIY: No, she doesn't bow.

ALI: No.

CHMERKOVSKIY: She doesn't bow.

ALI: I mean, sometimes, you know, we butt heads because of his teaching style, not so much what he's trying to teach me. So that's -- that's all that it is.

KING: What do you -- what will you be dancing to, Kim, Monday night?

JOHNSON: We have the cha-cha and we have our free style. And then...

KING: Free style means anything you want?

JOHNSON: Free style -- we can do anything. So there's rules. You know, the other dancers -- you can't lift. You have to do like the cha-cha or whatever the dance is. But in free style, you're allowed to do, you know, hip-hop or...

KING: You can jump all over the place.


JOHNSON: ... leaps.

FATONE: Like I did last week.



So it's going to...

KING: What are you doing Monday, Maksim?

CHMERKOVSKIY: We're doing bossa nova and also free style. KING: And, Kim?

JOHNSON: Oh, I'm...

KING: I'm sorry.


That's OK.

OHNO: Julianne.

KING: Julianne?

HOUGH: We are doing rumba and then also the free style.

KING: All right.

How much of it is what your best at? Like are you very comfortable with rumba? Or is a good dancer a good dancer?


HOUGH: You know, there's different styles for everybody that are, you know, they're most comfortable with. But they -- this was actually the judges' pick. So -- that we're doing the rumba. So...

OHNO: Yes?

HOUGH: Yes, the judges asked us to do one dance and I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: Do you get nervous about the judges?


FATONE: I did the first couple of weeks, yes.

ALI: Yes.

OHNO: Sure.

FATONE: Because I've never been -- I mean obviously they've been -- they're very competitive and they get kind of judged on how many, you know, hits they do, and, for him, as far as time. I've never been judged in that kind of sense, in that kind of limelight.

So I was just like crap, you know?

Give me like a, you know, a five or a four, you know?

Hopefully I don't suck is basically what it was, because it's, you know...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's devastating if... FATONE: It's not your career on the line, but it's almost like, you know, you want to have some sort of, you know, dignity. You want to be able to stand up for yourself...

ALI: You don't want to go out like that.

FATONE: ... and be like, I did well.

KING: Does your father watch, Laila?

ALI: Oh, yes. He definitely -- he's been watching since the first show and he's amazed, because he didn't know I could dance. And he's very proud. And he actually came to one of the shows as -- as everyone saw. But he's watching every week, excited.

KING: Is he critical?

ALI: Not of my dancing. You know, he's happy that I'm -- I'm on the dance floor and not in the boxing ring. The only thing that he would be critical about would be the outfits, because he's a Muslim, as we all know. And, you know, he's not comfortable with the sports bras and shorts and the rings. So, some of these dresses he really -- he really doesn't like.

So I toned it down the week he came and I toned the dance movement down, toned the dress down.


KING: We'll be back with more.

We're going to meet one of the judges later, too, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.


GOODMAN: You showed us a different side to your character, not just the wham, bam, thank you ma'am type of dancing. It was lovely. Trust me, guv. Do that type of ballroom dancing. It is proper dancing. And don't listen to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

TONIOLI: I like the razzle.


TONIOLI: I like the razzle.



GOODMAN: All right, well, you know, the thing is about you, I can sum it up A, B, C -- attitude, belief, confidence. You come out every week and give us your best shot. A little bit too much razzle dazzle for me.

TONIOLI: Oh, boy!




CARRIE ANN INABA, JUDGE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you sold it. That was the sexiest cha cha I' have ever seen.

BRUNO TONIOLI, JUDGE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": You're always jiving. You're like a shot of adrenaline. And my God you can push it, push it to the top.


KING: Some of the judges are a little wacko, aren't they?


KING: Kym, didn't you give Joey a hard time about weight?

JOHNSON: No. Actually when I first met Joey -- no, I didn't. He was the one that said to me, you know my name is -- my surname is Fat One Fatone because when you spell it, it's Fat One and I thought that was really funny. So I...

KING: And you did lose weight, didn't you?

FATONE: Yes, it was actually prior to doing that. I did Nutri/System for a little bit and dropped like six pounds, and then went and did the cardio on top of that. It just kept dropping off, which was -- thank goodness. I was like a size 38, 36 waist and I'm a 34.

JOHNSON: Yes, he lost a lot of weight.

KING: How nervous do you get, Maksim before the judges put up their total?

CHMERKOVSKIY: I'm not at all. And I don't mean to sound cocky. I just want to clear it up. I mean I've been competing for almost 20 years. So we actually train to not pay attention to the judges and in a good way because you get too preoccupied, you get nervous. And nervousness is something that, you know, affects your performance.

KING: So Julianne, are you saying you're not dancing for the judges?

HOUGH: I would definitely say that we're dancing for ourselves and for everybody watching. You know when we dance and we get a great response, we almost feel better about, you know, how we dance than what our actual scores are. KING: Apolo, do you have a chemical reaction to Julianne?

OHNO: I think when we're dancing, absolutely. I think that's really important. And that's that she's taught me the most. But off the dance floor, we're just good friends, sorry.

KING: No...

HOUGH: You to have chemistry in dancing, otherwise it is boring to watch. So I mean...

KING: So in other words if it's not chemical, you can't fake that?

HOUGH: Well...

KING: Or can you?

OHNO: Wait!


FATONE: Wait, what?

KING: I'll get back to you, Fatone.

OHNO: You know I think when we dance, there has to be some type of connection. If that's broken, then obviously, like the audience can see it, the judges can see it and you're not going to have -- the dance isn't going to look as nice.

KING: You're engaged.

FATONE: Don't start asking the question.

KING: No, but did you have -- do you have a chemical reaction to Maksim?


ALI: No, I don't. I'm faking it. I'm acting. I'm playing. No, when we're on the floor, you know, we just go out there and we do what we've been practicing to do. And we like each other as friends. We get along. So I don't know what you mean by chemical reaction?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Contrary to what others think, we actually get along.

ALI: Yes, we get along very well.

KING: People think you don't?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Yes, people think we fight all the time but we're not.

ALI: We're Capricorns. We are stubborn like, you know. Your caller put in, we're goats. My dad -- he has the same birthday as my dad, January 17. My dad and I butt heads. He and I butt heads. It's expected, but it doesn't matter because we go out there and I say, "Let's go do this" and we go out there and we dance.

KING: The best lines I ever heard about horoscopes was Jack Jones, the singer. He said, "I don't believe in horoscopes, but I'm a Capricorn, we don't believe in anything."

ALI: Yes, right.

KING: OK, back to you, Joey. No attraction to Kym?

FATONE: No, I'm married.

KING: Are you sick?

FATONE: The thing is is we...

JOHNSON: It's not about that.

FATONE: Yes, we're the same age. We have a lot in common. That's the greatest thing about us. We hit it right off the bat really well.

KING: Really, on camera, really.

FATONE: Yes. Well, the thing is is that's the whole part. I mean I am pretty much an actor as well. So, I mean to really go in and there do these dances and with these songs and everything, you have to honestly act it up and play it.

KING: Does your wife get ticked?


JOHNSON: No, she doesn't.

KING: She understands the whole...

FATONE: She's been with me through all the 'N Sync stuff and girls screaming and all that stuff.

KING: Just goes...

FATONE: Goes with the territory.

KING: You, Timberlake, what the hell, right?

Kym, do you have feelings when you're dancing?

JOHNSON: Yes, when you're dancing, it's on the dance floor. And I know all of us dancers; we've had many different partners. And when you go out and dance, you have to have that connection, otherwise, you know, it is boring, like Julianne said. No one wants to see two people dancing together that don't have a connection. So that's what you do. KING: Apolo, why is the show so popular?

OHNO: As I said before, I think because it has more to do with it than just dancing. I think people tune in because they see people progress from day one all the way to the finals, and you see people's personalities have come out more.

KING: It's human involvement?

OHNO: Absolutely. And I think it's kind of fun. People start to get to know each person as their character, not so much as a dancer. And I think that's what they really like.

KING: Why do you think, Laila?

ALI: I agree with Apolo. You know I think people like to see someone like myself that's taken out of her environment and put into, you know, dancing. I remember when I started boxing people were like you're too pretty to box, you know. And now that they've seen me become a boxer, it's like she's not going to be elegant enough, she's not going to be ladylike enough. And you know then they were surprised because I can actually move like a lady. And to me, one has nothing to do with the other.

CHMERKOVSKIY: Like a lady, you are a lady.

ALI: Well, I'm just -- anyway.

KING: Joey?

FATONE: I think for me, you know, I think for all of us it took you out of your element to do this show and to feel, you know -- at first it was very uncomfortable. It really was. The first couple of steps, really getting to know each other because first of all it's like you come into this thing and all of a sudden, they're like, OK, dance. And you like have to hold her and it's like very awkward, I think, for all of us. It was just a weird and completely different thing. And I think it's an amazing thing to see that progression on the show, you know. It's somewhat of a reality, but in some ways, because it doesn't show a background, it just shows us progressing as dancers.

KING: Maksim, do you have to like each other?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Yes, absolutely.

KING: Do you have to like each other?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Absolutely, you have to like -- it's like, you know, in professional dancing, we have to connect and click with our partners because you present -- the end result is something, you know, it's in unison. You know it's not two people on the floor. It's a couple. I believe in a couple being as one. So you have to like...

KING: In a singing group, does everyone have to like each other? FATONE: Definitely. I mean, you know you've seen people where they -- groups have broken up before or groups are so successful they try to get back together and sometimes it just doesn't work because they're at each other's throats. So with us, I mean it's funny because with the group we did disperse but there's no animosity. There's nothing that was really bad that we've done.

KING: Coming up, one of the judges from the show will join us. Don't worry; we'll make sure our dancing couples aren't hard on him. In fact, they're not even going to talk with him. Lenny Goodman joins us after this.












GOODMAN: Well, I'm a fan of your dancing and I get so disappointed when you don't live up to my expectations of what I know you can do. Tonight was your best performance, well done.

You're like a big swashbuckling guy that just comes out, sells it. You were -- what a great performance. You really came out.

That had passion. It had drama. It had everything I wanted. That is a proper dance, well done.


KING: We're back. And joining us now, he's in another studio and there's a reason for that, is Len Goodman, one of the three judges on "Dancing with the Stars." In fact, there's a new DVD out. That's how popular he's gotten. It just came out. It's called "Dance with Len Goodman."

Len is in another studio. The reason for that is so as not to present an opportunity for our guests to try and sway the judge. We've put him in Studio B. He's a little cramped but he's enjoying it. We're also asking our light footed guest to be tight lipped. That is during the segments with Mr. Goodman to speak when I ask you questions. You will not interchange with Len Goodman because we're in the middle of voting and the big day is coming up Monday and Tuesday.

How do you rate generally the three finalists, Len?

GOODMAN: Well, you know, there's always -- during this show, you get some funny things happen, a bit of argie-bargie (ph) early on, people get kicked out that shouldn't and people go further than they should. But what I love is we've got the best three from the whole season in there in the final. These are without a doubt the best three. So it is great.

KING: Congratulations to you all, the best three.

We're going put something up here on the screen. It's one thing for contestants to think that judges aren't always fair, but apparently it goes beyond people who are actually involved with the show. Last night, we asked viewers in our text vote question: do you to think the judges are fair on "Dancing with the Stars"? Sixty-five percent said no. Len, are you pained?

GOODMAN: No, I expect that because viewers look at one thing. They just look either because they're fans of a certain couple or they just look at the performance, whether that thrills them. They don't look for the technique. They don't look at the chemistry, all these other things that come into it. And I understand, the viewers judge with their hearts. The judges, we have to judge with our brain. So I quite understand if they disagree, especially with me, because sometimes, you know, I see great performances, but technically it's not sound and then I have to say it and they all boo and say I'm a terrible guy and this and that. But I do understand where they're coming from.

KING: Billy Ray Cyrus got clipped by Bruno before getting booted off by the viewers. Let's look at a clip from that.


TONIOLI: You always are deliciously awful. And, you know, I appreciate that.

INABA: It wasn't awful.

TONIOLI: It was awful. It was not...


TONIOLI: It was the Fox Trot not the (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


TONIOLI: No, I mean, come on. They're going to the final. We've got to be honest here. We're going towards the final, a very, very important competition. And you know I love him like anybody else but this was terrible. It was crap.


KING: Len, did you share that view?

GOODMAN: No, of course not. And naughty boy he was saying that word. No, of course I didn't. He wasn't that bad. If you're challenged as a dancer, and what I am -- one of these professionals for, is they teach their celebrities a routine that they can cope with. You know take Kym last season with Jerry Springer, she did some great choreography for him. The year before when we had George Hamilton, not the greatest dancers, but the choreography and the way they disguised their inabilities was brilliant.

And I thought Karina did a great job with Billy Ray. It was from the word go, you knew he couldn't dance but you always had a great anticipation when he came to the floor, what's going to occur. So no, it wasn't that bad. You know you can't all be good dancers.

KING: Maksim, do you find yourself disagreeing a lot with the judges in general? When you watch -- forget, Len. Take Len out, when you watch other performances and other judges?

CHMERKOVSKIY: Yes, but I think it's normal because judges, they look at the whole picture. And as dancers, we tend to pick a style. I know that I picked my -- in my professional world, I'm a Latin dancer. But in that Latin dance category, I pick a style that I follow and not all judges agree.

KING: Have you judged?


KING: We'll be back with more, don't go away.


GOODMAN: It had control. It wasn't too stiff and totally in sync.

I'll tell you something, Joe, you've got something that everyone has got, but yours is much bigger, personality.



KING: With us is Len Goodman, one of the judges on "Dancing with the Stars."

We have an e-mail question from Ann C. in Glennside, Pennsylvania. She wants to know "Why does Len Goodman consistently mark Apolo lower than the other dancers" and whether that bothers Apolo and Julianne. We'll get to that in a minute. Len, do you consistently mark them lower? GOODMAN: Of course I don't. That's a bizarre question. I mark what I see. It's a ludicrous question, whoever that was. You know I said about his dance -- his cha-cha-cha, it was raunchy. Well, it was too raunchy for my taste. I'm not saying for other people it may have been the greatest thing since sliced bread but for me, it was too raunchy.

He did a rumba sitting on a chair. It was clever. I did enjoy it as a spectacle. I don't want to see people dancing the rumba sitting on a chair. So I just mark what I see. And my marks and I've done this all my judging life, I judged for 40 years. I would hate to walk out of a ballroom or out of that studio thinking in my own mind that I haven't don't right thing. I always try to be 100 percent fair.

KING: You know what I've always wondered, why was sliced bread so great? Anyway...

GOODMAN: There you go.

KING: Does it bother you, Apolo, that you seem to be -- do you think you're unfairly criticized?

OHNO: I don't think I'm really unfairly criticized. I just wish we would get 10s every single time, you know?

KING: Do you think you've been fairly judged, Laila? Fairly judged, yes.

ALI: Definitely. I mean the times that I was marked down, once we did a tango and we broke apart. I guess the rules were we were supposed to stay together so they marked us down. So I couldn't fault them for that. I take responsibility for my actions. So I wasn't upset when they marked us down.

I got marked down for a butterfly but now he likes my butterfly. So I want to point back because I know you hear me.

FATONE: Yes, I mean, you know, it's great because I take the criticism. There was a couple of times when my butt was sticking up and my shoulders were up doing this whole thing. And they made a big deal about it and I made sure the next week when I did the bossa nova that my butt was going to stay in. So it did and it reflected on my points.

KING: Len, thanks for joining us, great for having you with us. Continued good luck and good luck with the DVD.

GOODMAN: Thank you.

KING: Len's DVD is "Dance with Len Goodman".

When we come back, how do my previous dance steps stack up as far as my guests are concerned? I did a few previously and we'll have them score me when we come back.


ALI: Daddy, we choreographed this dance for you so I hope it brings a smile to your face.

When I first talked to my dad after the first couple of shows, he told me that I made him proud and he didn't know that I could dance. So he was very happy.


ALI: My parents are very caring, loving people. My mom is just the ultimate classy lady. And my father always stood up for what he believed in and he recognized that he only had one life to live and if there was something he wasn't happy about, he only had himself to blame. I'm very proud knowing that they're my parents.



KING: We'll call this the moment of truth. During past visits from the stars of "Dancing with the Stars," I've been forced at great risk to take a quick lesson from the experts here in the studio. And this time I said no. But I thought to let tonight's dancers and stars judge my previous performances. I've assured them that their ascertainment of my dancing ability will have absolutely no affect on whether they'll ever appear on this show again. And also it gives them the chance to see what it's like to hold up a card. Watch.


KING: Play the music.

I should have entered. I should have entered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can next season.

KING: Jerry Springer can do it better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two, three, cha-cha-cha.

KING: I didn't know this was a cha-cha song.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that's pretty good.

KING: Is that allowed in cha-cha to twirl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, of course. OK.

KING: I like this. I invented this move.

I'm suddenly with it and I have no idea what I'm doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a lot of talent, Larry.

KING: I'm in broadcasting. I have to fake it. You are great. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.


KING: Never again. Now the voting and we go to Joey and Kym.

FATONE: Personality, it was really good, I have to say. The dancing, the footwork was good. I give you a 10.

KING: You're sucking up.

FATONE: For Brooklyn, you know.

KING: Maksim and Laila.

ALI: You had a lot of spunk. I loved it. I give you a 10.

KING: And finally, Apolo and Julianne.

OHNO: I thought you brought something fresh, fun, cool. 50, no, 50th year in TV and television and radio.

KING: You're my man.

OHNO: Yes.

KING: Anyway, you've lost weight since the show, right?


KING: Did anybody else lose weight?

FATONE: A lot.

OHNO: I gained three.

FATONE: I lost for everybody.

KING: There's a new DVD out called "Dancing with the Stars Cardio Dance." Are all of you involved with this? Do you know about it?

CHMERKOVSKIY: It's Kym, myself and Ashley that did it at the end of last season.

KING: It's like teaching people how to exercise with dance?

CHMERKOVSKIY: It's more like they follow -- we created simple routines. I do bossa nova. Kym is doing samba.

JOHNSON: And cha-cha-cha and jive.

KING: And you know people just follow us.

KING: OK, guys, the magic moment, who's going to win?

OHNO: I think we have a good chance and a good opportunity. Absolutely, I think that's why we made it this far.

FATONE: The voters got to vote. That's all we're really thinking about.

KING: Does the public vote count more than the judge's vote at the end?

FATONE: We think -- I think so. I mean, you know, how great -- the judges are doing a great job judging. But I think, you know, we feel it's the votes. You know it really is. It helped us.

JOHNSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) consistent on getting, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

ALI: Hey, may the best women win.

CHMERKOVSKIY: I want to say that I feel honored sitting with these three celebrities because I think they represent ballroom dancing in the best possible way.

KING: Thank you all very much. Well said. There's two nights. It'll be Monday and Tuesday. The winner will be announced on Tuesday night.

Tomorrow night, Hugh Hefner and the girls who live with him.