There was great news for soap fans when Kelly Monaco (Sam) of General Hospital was revealed to be part of the cast for the highly anticipated Dancing with the Stars: All Stars edition last Friday! Monaco, who won the first season of Dancing with the Stars amongst a bit of controversy, will be back vying for the Mirror Ball Trophy against some of the best competitors since the series began including: Drew Lachey, Gilles Marini, and Emmitt Smith, to name just a few! The All-Star cast and their professional partners will take to the stage for the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars, Monday, September 24th (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) followed by the premiere of Dancing with the Stars the Results Show on Tuesday September 25th (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
We caught up with Kelly at Friday night’s ABC Summer Press Tour TCA Cocktail party and asked her how she plans on prepping for the ballroom dance series, who she hopes to paired with, what went down with John O’Hurley in season one, and much more.
Then, we turn our attention to General Hospital, and the importance for Kelly to be presenting the soap genre in this huge mainstream series that garners so much attention, and if she feels ABC is truly getting behind GH. Plus, what does Kelly think of McBam vs. JaSam, working with Michael Easton again, and the difficulties facing Jason and Sam’s relationship … she tells us how she sees it. Always direct, honest, and fun, here is our chat with Ms. Monaco!
Before we begin, I just want to set the record straight. A portion of your fans think that I don’t like you!
KELLY: Why? Oh my gosh! You have been one of my biggest supporters always have been for 13 years. We go way back!
They tell me that I don’t interview you enough, and I try to explain that Kelly is really busy when I make a request or an attempt. And it is true. I can never find you or get to you! (Laughs)
KELLY: I am never available and I will take the responsibility for that! I dip out on interviews more than anyone! Sometimes I feel like less is more though. When you give less, they want more. I have learned my lesson though. Y you can never have too much. So fans, I will take full responsibility for this! Michael has been amazing and he has pursued me forever. and here we are.
So thrilled you are on the Dancing with the Stars All-Stars! Were you at all hesitant to be in the competition again?
KELLY: I was not hesitant at all. I think they thought about it for awhile. I had heard they were going to do an All-Stars, but I also heard they were not going to have back any past winners. So it was completely off the chopping block, and out of my mind. Not for a second would I think I would be called for it. And then, Deena Katz, our head casting director, called me a few months ago. She is like “You are the first person I am calling. Do I need to talk to your agent? “And I said, excitedly, “Talk to me! Talk to me! You don’t need to talk to my agent,” And she says, “How would you like to be a part …” And I jumped in and went, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” She could not get the words out! I continued saying, “Of course! To have the chance to dance and have the experience, and meet new people and build new relationships, and just step outside my comfort zone, is what I wanted. I mean, this is not my thing. I like to cry on camera and I like to study lines, I really do. I like my routine. I have been doing soaps for 13 years now. I really like what I am doing. But every year, once a year, I pick one challenge that sort of gets me outside of this leveled thing that we all do. And this was it!
You were in Season one of Dancing with the Stars and you improved so much. You had a very rocky start and ended up winning the Mirror Ball Trophy!
KELLY: This is what I am afraid of Michael. I am afraid that I have been out of it for so long. I am going to go from really not knowing what I am doing and that is really not going to be acceptable in an All-Stars season. So I don’t know how to technically prepare myself to be on the same level with the other contestants, being out of it for several years. I had been doing events all over the place where I danced a bit, besides Peep Show, which I am not going to disregard, but all I had to do in that was strut in my underwear! I don’t consider that dancing, I really don’t. So I don’t know how I am going to get myself to a mediocre level to be able to start the competition. I don’t think it’s going to be acceptable to be at the beginning. I am going to have to do something before the shows starts, probably four weeks before … start training!
You have the bod of death! And, you have the abs of death! If I had your core, I would be a champ! (Laughs)
KELLY: That’s different than having skill and putting one foot in front of the other, and a swip of the hip, and pointing a finger, and getting your face going. I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.
Who do you hope is your dancing partner in the All-Stars competition?
KELLY: I don’t want to go there, because if I pick a top one, two, or three dancers as my picks, they won’t go that way. So I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment. Even though I am a pessimist/realist and I always set myself up for the worst case scenario, I am always pleasantly surprised in the end. I have to talk myself out of my pessimistic nature, and say, “This is what is real. This is the world we live in and it’s not pretty all the time.” I am going to prepare myself for the worst case scenario all the time. Look, I am a Gemini.
Do you want your dance partner to be your height or taller? (Laughs)
KELLY: Ah, I don’t think anybody is shorter than me! So I think I am in the clear in the height issue.
But if I was your partner … I am short! Would that work?
KELLY: But you’re strong, and I am little, so we would actually be a perfect match! And in like the standard dancing I would do so much better. Alec Mazo was so much taller. So for me to get my body right and my shoulders down was difficult. There is a structure to the dancing that has to look elegant and natural.
Who do you think will be your toughest competition?
KELLY: It’s an All-Stars! Everyone in the line-up is competition. They would not have chosen this cast, unless they knew they were going to go fist to fist, like bloody knuckles. I feel like that is how it is going to be. I feel nobody is excluded from the competition.
Can we clear the air here on something: What happened in season one of DWTS with John O’Hurley? You won, then he won (sort of), and then there was the redo. What went down?
KELLY: I think the whole premise there was that John was in question, because I was an ABC employee. So he thought that the show was rigged. Whatever, it happened. I won, he won. We both gave each other a high-five in the end. He is a smart man. We both made a lot of money from that dance-off. We were able to give $125,000 a piece to charity. So in a good-natured competition aspect, I would say John is a really smart businessman.
What is great for soap fans is; not only do you represent General Hospital but all of a daytime being the sole soap performer in the upcoming season!
KELLY: Yes! And I was really scared that Cameron Mathison (Ex-Ryan, AMC) was going to do it. I heard that through the grapevine. And I was like, “No! I don’t want Cameron to split my daytime votes.” Because you know how our fans are! But if they have one of us, and we have to save daytime, and the better chance I do, the more chance General Hospital has a chance of staying put! I feel like the daytime community always gets behind their people. If I were to be a primetime performer, it would not be the same. It just doesn’t work like that.
What did you think of being part of the GH press panel at the TCA’s! I don’t recall the show ever getting a slot to represent itself to the media like this!
KELLY: I think it’s amazing. The network is doing everything they can to keep us alive and bringing as much attention as they can do it. It’s a scary time for daytime. The genre is a semi-dying breed. If we can somehow get support behind us whether it be; networks, or fans, or press, that is what we need. I don’t remember the last time they have had a soap panel at the TCA’s. Not in my time with GH or Port Charles, do I remember that.
Now on to GH … you are working with Michael Easton (John McBain) again, and Sam and John McBain certainly have some deep chemistry going on! How has it been working with Michael again, after all these years?
KELLY: I love working with Michael and it’s not weird at all. I say, “Thank God.” This is the thing. Sometimes you get a new pairing or new potential pairings and you have to work with a new actor. You don’t know what they are about, or if the chemistry is going to work out. It has been really nice having Michael Easton back because we have this camaraderie where you just ease right back into it. I don’t have to say anything. I don’t have to explain anything. If I am in a bad mood, he is not going to hound me or bitch at me. I am just very comfortable working with him. We have known each other the longest than anyone else on daytime. It’s really comforting to ease it to another semi-relationship with someone you are so comfortable with.
Steve Burton (Jason, GH) told me in our recent interview, that he did not like all he drama that Sam and Jason have gone through so soon after they got married. But you need some sort of drama on daytime, don’t you think?
KELLY: It’s a soap! What are we going to do? I don’t like it either. Steve and I worked really hard to have this relationship pay-off. But it’s inevitable. It’s a soap opera! And this is what I said to my fans recently at GH Fan Club Weekend because of the many JaSam fans who are upset. I said, “You guys. It’s a soap opera. We are telling stories. Don’t think about it to much. We can’t as actors or we will go crazy. I have to constantly remind myself, I am on a soap opera and it’s really fun. I don’t care if I kill someone, whatever. Go with the flow, watch the story, speak up, and if you speak up, your couple will finally reunite, but if you are happy, you are doomed on daytime.” (Laughs)
Ok soapers, make sure to rally behind Kelly during her entire run on Dancing with the Stars: All Star Edition. It is important to show the network and the general public that soaps and their stars matter, and are popular!
Now after reading Kelly’s comments, who are you rooting for McBam or JaSam? And, what do you think Kelly’s chances are at winning the Mirror Ball trophy in the new season of DWTS? Weigh-in!