Sherri Shepherd and Gladys Knight are getting ready to put on their best moves for their Dancing with the Stars debuts tonight, thanks to some creative juggling of their already busy schedules.
On top of DWTS, Knight is currently on a U.S. tour, and Shepherd still tapes The View in New York City three times a week.
So tight are their schedules that both stars bring their dance partners on the road with them. “I’m rehearsing in New York,” says Shepherd. “As soon as The View is over, Val Chmerkovskiy [her dance partner] and I rehearse for about five hours.” The duo then take a red-eye to Los Angeles on Friday night, where they stay until Tuesday night, and turn back around on Friday. Shepherd says she juggles it all with “lots of prayer” on her knees. “My family’s moving to LA. I can’t do this without my son and my husband near me,” she adds.
Knight’s routine has been equally strenuous. The soul music icon and her dance partner Tristan MacManus recently spent 10 days on the road, doing her concerts at night and rehearsing for five hours during the day. “I am so sore it’s not even funny,” says the effervescent 67-year-old, who has already lost four pounds during her first week of rehearsals. “My husband [William McDowell] was like, ‘I got the divorce papers ready. You know I don’t like no skinny women,'” she jokes.
Their hectic schedules haven’t made Shepherd and Knight appreciate dance any less. If anything, they’ve both caught the dancing bug. “After I finish this I want to enroll into a dance school,” says Shepherd. “It’s so much fun. It’s so freeing. It’s sexy. You’re toning your body.”
Meanwhile Knight, a veteran of the stage, says she thought she knew it all, but the dance routines on DWTS are a whole new reality. “All these years I thought I was doing the cha-cha, but now I know I wasn’t doing it right,” she says. “I’m having fun, though. That’s what matters.”