'Dancing with the Stars' pro Mark Ballas on Pia Toscano (and that pesky Len Goodman)


Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC; Frank MIcelotta/Fox

Dancing with the Stars’ pro Mark Ballas got caught up in the whirlwind of press surrounding Pia Toscano, the latest woman to get booted from American Idol. He and the attractive crooner were reportedly seen out on the town, but Ballas tried to downplay the rumors after Monday’s installment of DWTS.

“We hung out man,” he told reporters. “She was my favorite. She’s doing good. She’s going to be fine.”

When asked how he met Toscano, Ballas would only say “just around.” (DWTS tapes right next door to American Idol at the CBS Television Studios in Los Angeles). “She is an amazing talent and this is probably going to turn out good for her. I think she’s going to be all right. There’s always light a t the end of the tunnel and she’s got a ridiculously amazing voice and I think she’ll be fine.”

Ballas also addressed the angry comments made by Len Goodman about his performance Monday with Chelsea Kane. (The judge took issue with Ballas’ decision to update the 300-year-old Viennese waltz).

“I get what he’s saying but I don’t necessarily agree because I had all the technical things in there – reverse turns, shadow of reverse turns, natural turns,” Ballas said. “He just likes things a certain way and I’ve just never been that way my eight seasons, everybody knows that. And I think it’s fun to do things different and entertaining – this is a show to entertain – as long as you can add some of the technique. I don’t do it on purpose to wind him up. I do it because I think it’s fun and entertaining for the audience.”

Sequin is not a four-letter word! @EWLynette

Comments (63 total) Add your comment
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  • Francis

    Ballas is a self centered jerk. Wish he would leave the show but his pitiful music career isn’t going to make that happen Can’t stand the arrogant twerp

    • Matt

      Funny, I can’t stand you and your high-handed opinion of the talented Mark Ballas. Guess we’re even, eh?

      • Mark


      • Katy

        Ha! Burn

      • Justin

        so glad somebody already typed this.

    • Lincoln

      OMG! He’s the sweetest. Why would you say that? I’ve never seen him act self centered at all. Do you have proof or do you just assume by what you see on TV and read in gossip magazines?

      • Minutiae

        His self-centeredness comes in the fact that he knows his “updated” choreography hurts his partner in the judging, yet he does it anyway. If you know the judges are going to score something lower, but do it anyway, that’s pretty arrogant.

      • Mellissa

        Have you watched him dance? Talented as he is, he outdances his partners in every routine. Being that he is a professional, and his partners are not, it does them a disservice of looking that much worse. Maybe if he did a little less “look at me, look at me,” people would find him more humble.

        Then he did that “jive” and the “waltz.” He knew it would hurt his scores, and he didn’t care. Then he kicks at back and said, “We did all the moves.” Well, guess you didn’t do them correct.

      • Jenjen

        His choreography got his team the highest scores of the night, so…

    • jake

      Mark Ballas is incredibly talented and how in the world is he a self centered jerk?

  • Lola

    While Mark may have a point, I can’t get over his arrogance and “look at me look at ME!” attitude. While other dancing pros are there to be a partner and understand that their respective star is the focus, he’s like a little kid, talking to the camera, mugging and making faces in the interviews. He has become beyond annoying and won’t ever get my vote. He’s changed a lot since he partnered Shawn Johnson (when he did get my vote).

    • KiKi


      While I thought his dance was clever, it was only by the slimmest of margins a waltz. Moreover, the dance was all about him showing off and the man is supposed to be the frame in a waltz, not the picture.

    • roberta

      It’s interesting that you complain about Mark’s attitude and how he detracts from his dance partner and then refer to when you “did vote for him”.

      So, who were you really voting for, him or his partner?

      Len may never like when he does soemthing different in the dance, but it is the viewers that decide and they like to see something different now and then.

      BTW, Cheryl Burke does the exact same thing. She always uses her partner to make herself look good. He just stands there while she dances around him.

      The difference between the two of them is that Mark’s dancing is actually good and enjoyable to watch.

      Cheryl just seems to want to show off how sexy she thinks she is.

  • Cubby

    His ego is really unbelievable!!! He never is going to realize it’s not about him. Think he annoys more of the audience than he entertains

  • Kris

    I think he is a very selfish dancer. He doesn’t care how they look, he does what he wants…I wish he would have gone away with Derek Hough this season

    • Elizabeth

      His amped arrogance actually makes me miss Derek this season – at least Derek had the sense to pull back and be a bit humble.

      I will give Mark credit though: he isn’t all Guppy-Faced anymore.

    • me2

      At least Derek’s dances were exciting to watch, but I agree his personality left much to be desired. Mark just reeks of desperation. It’s like he’s trying to be some combination of Derek and Maks. He’s talented, but he really kind of creeps me out. Sorry.

  • futurnurse

    I totally loved his dance w/ Chelsea! All of the pros mug for the camera as well as their celebrity partners! He does hit on all the marks for what is mandatory, and he infuses youthful flair. Except for the dance where they were dressed kinda flakey, all his dances were so innovative. Even w/ that dance, he still hit the required steps. Give him a chance. He is an amazing dancer & choreographer.

    • Riley

      The difference is, there’s hitting some required steps, and there’s doing the Viennese Waltz. There’s dancing the Viennese Waltz, and there’s doing a dance with a little Viennese Waltz sprinkled in, just so you can claim you did a few required moves. Mark’s choreography was the latter. That isn’t what a Ballroom Dance competition is about… and the show *is* a Ballroom Dance competition. Sure there were cute things Mark did in the performance, but Very little of what he and Chelsea did was a Viennese Waltz. From reading Mark’s comments above, he just doesn’t understand that.

      I think Mark is desperately *trying* to be cooler than he is… he’s trying to change his nerdy clean cut image. To do this during a show that is *suppose* to be about his “celebrity” partner IS selfish… he’s so self-absorbed with trying to come off as a renegade, he’s forgotten what his job is about.

  • Kat

    I liked the dance, but like that creepy jive, it was more of a finale night freestyle. It wasn’t appropriate for tonight in particular, since tonight was about “classical” music (which apparently just means “any orchestral music and sometimes some vocalists trying to sing opera”) and that lent itself perfectly to “classic” dancing. I thought what they did with the Harry Potter music was cool, but again – not appropriate. And I mean…breakdancing moves in a Viennese waltz? I’m not sure Mark understands that he can throw in all the “right” moves like his reverse turns and natural turns and whatnot…and yet still fail to capture the spirit of the dance. I also thought that it was kind of annoying for him to suggest that since Chelsea is young, she ought to have a modernized version of a traditional dance. That’s a weird and illogical argument. But on the plus side, Mark is a good dancer and an inventive choreographer who has successfully toned down his fish faces over the seasons, so I have to give him some credit there.

  • Erin

    I still can’t get over the fact that “Ballroom Master” Len was wrong about the age of the Viennese Waltz.

    • Riley

      From multiple sources:

      “The age of the Viennese waltz is uncertain, but from Goethe’s comments one might infer it to date from the mid 1700’s.”

      “The Viennese Waltz dates from the 1700’s. It got to England after the War of 1812.”

  • talkin’

    One of Len’s points, beyond his irritation over the lack of Traditional dancing, was that Ballas wasn’t showcasing his star as much as doing “distracting stuff” on the floor.
    Len was right.

  • nnboyko2

    The real point about the Viennese Waltz and why it is different than the regular waltz is that it was first danced by Austrian soldiers wearing swords. There was an upright movement with the man so that he wouldn’t stab himself or his partner. Mark’s liberties were self-centered and totally against what the dance stands for. There is no way the jumping around and wierd movements could happen wearing a sword. It’s not Len, it’s what the dance is. Yes Len is a traditionalist, but he knows his stuff and that’s why he’s on the show.

  • nnboyko2

    Further research the Viennese Waltz is more than 100 years old and is danced in a closed hold, with continous rotary movements. If the partners break, they maintain contact and the turning motion and return to the traditional closed hold. That’s a Viennese Waltz.

  • caryn

    It seems Mark really, really wants to be known as a bad boy… for something. If he didn’t tell me he was a bad boy, I would think he was just impetuous.
    He’s a good dancer but he’s annoying.

    • Ada

      I think Bristol is wonderful. I feel sad that there is so many many haeutfl people out there trying to hurt her w/ words and bodly harm. She is a beauitful women and I hope she goes far. Do listen to those crazy people, you are really special person. Good luck in DWTS. I voted for you!!

  • pj

    Mark is all about showcasing Mark. He never brings down his own skills to match those of his partners, which puts all of the focus on him. Whether he is kicking higher or has a more animated expression…he’s always over the top. My issue about last night was when he said “…she’s 22″. So what! If this were a true ballroom competition, you wouldn’t take such liberties. Chelsea is there to compete and learn the dances…not learn freestyle. I think that Carrie Ann and Bruno were wrong for giving the high marks, after they had just given Mark and Chelsea low marks two weeks ago. It’s like training a dog…you won’t change the behavior if your reward for the bad. Let’s be consistent with the scores and comments.

  • Jo

    Hey Matt. Take a gander at the plethora of comments below and perhaps reconsider your ill feelings that are directed towards Francis. It seems she is not alone in her assessment of “the talented Mark Ballas.” You might just have to allow the thought that there’s something off-putting in Mark’s personality that causes 95% of the respondents to take issue with him.

    • steve

      Or Jo, maybe it is that complainers always complain louder and more often. Maybe 95% of those not posting comments were entertained and enjoyed the dance and of those 95% it is probable they number in the millions compared to the complainers which are usually the minority.

  • Nathalie

    Love the innovation. But, you guys are right. It was classical weel where instrument are playing only. So staying classical would have be best.

  • Brit

    Why does Pia look so orange in that picture?

    • Vincenzo

      Because she’s Italian and she’s from Howard Beach. There’s a Beach Bum Tanning right on Crossbay Blvd. Everyone in Howard Beach goes there!

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