As surprising as it might have been for Heart fans to see Nancy and Ann Wilson perform on Dancing with the Stars Tuesday, it was equally as shocking for the two women – especially when they looked down to see the show’s professional hoofers moving to their distinctive beat.
“When would a rock band play for a ballroom dance?” Ann Wilson asked reporters afterwards. “When people used to dance to us years ago, it was in a tavern or at a high school dance. At first, we looked at each other and went, `Is this rock?’ And then we went, ‘Yeah, it is.’ It doesn’t matter.”
“This is a first,” says Nancy Wilson. “It’s wonderful because it’s a first. It’s sweet.”
It was the producers’ request that Heart perform Barracuda, and the ladies were happy to oblige. “It’s a powerful, gritty rock song, which is really what they wanted for rock week,” says Ann Wilson. “I was just disappointed that Sarah Palin wasn’t here to watch her daughter, because we would have dedicated it to her.”
Though she earned low scores on Monday, “teen activist” Bristol Palin remains a contender for the mirrored ball trophy on Stars.
The song Barracuda and Palin have quite a history. In 2008, the Republican National Convention played Barracuda when introducing Palin as John McCain’s running mate. At the time, Heart told reporters that the GOP did not seek permission to use the song, nor would it have granted permission. Heart also sent an exclusive statement to EW that read, “Sarah Palin’s views and values in NO WAY represent us as American women … The song Barracuda was written in the late ’70s as a scathing rant against the soulless, corporate nature of the music business, particularly for women.”
On Tuesday, Ann Wilson talked to reporters about how Barracuda is just as relevant today as it was when it was penned over three decades ago. “That song is just as full as angst as it was when it was written. That’s why that song stands the test of time. It’s just a screed. It’s a piece of angry flip out and that’s how it should be put across every time. That’s easy to do!”
Heart’s next gig is an acoustic performance at a Michelle Obama-hosted Democratic fundraiser. The duo have also booked a Brian Boitano skating special this Christmas. Yep, you read that right: They’re performing near ice this time!
“That will be another first,” says Nancy Wilson. “Instead of ballroom dancers, there will be ice skaters in front of the stage!”
Heart will then tour with Def Leppard next summer.