Tony Dovolani Wants to Rope Kate Gosselin Into Country Music
Tony Dovolani loves country music! The popular 'Dancing With the Stars' pro dancer, who is in his ninth season with the ABC-TV hit reality show, spoke with The Boot exclusively after a long day of rehearsal with his current partner (and mother of eight), Kate Gosselin. (Actually, he called from Toys "R" Us after rehearsals, as he was shopping for gifts for his 4-year-old daughter and 18-month-old twins.)
Tony says his dream dance with Kate on an upcoming show would be to Tim McGraw's 'Down on the Farm.' "We're looking at options for what we can submit for future dances," says Tony. "And [Kate is] like me, she likes to listen to all different types of music. I'm going to find out what country music she likes, so hopefully we could dance to a country song on our show. I actually look forward to that. We had a great time with the Johnny Cash song ('I Walk the Line') that I did with Jane Seymour, and then with Sara Evans, we danced (the jive) to 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin',' which was great. I always look forward to dancing to country!"
Tony keeps in touch with Season 3 partner, Sara Evans. "Sara sent me a text message the other day. She was like, 'I'm just checking in to check on my boy. How's he doing?' She's such a sweetheart ... one of the sweetest people I've ever met. And talk about teaching me about the country culture! She and her family, they're just the nicest people in the world. I love meeting people like that. I'm always so thankful that I'm put in the situation I'm in because I really do get to meet some special people, and they all have a great story."
Tony's all-time favorite country artist is Tim McGraw, so he was beyond thrilled when Sara took him to meet the country superstar. "We went to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. She knows them personally, and we went back, and I got to actually talk to Tim. He probably doesn't even remember meeting me [laughs], but for me it was really memorable. He was creating a new song that he was showing Sara, and I got to see his creative process, too, which was really, really cool. Just to see him be creative and do different things ... for me, it was like, wow! I got to see the master at work!
"I was a little tongue-tied," Tony admits of meeting his country idol. "I'll be honest with you, the whole time I was there, it was like this big clutter in my mind because I was so overwhelmed by what I was feeling. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure that I was there. And Faith Hill, bless her heart, she's so fantastic!"
One of Tony's most memorable dances on 'Dancing With the Stars' was when he and fellow pro-dancer Julianne Hough danced together to a live performance from Rascal Flatts. "I'll tell you this, the highlight for me on 'Dancing With the Stars' was dancing to them ... to the song 'Here Comes Goodbye' with Julianne. We had such a great time dancing to them. We just loved it! [Lead singer Gary LeVox] has got such an incredible voice, and the band members, they're just so sweet, such gentlemen."
Most natives of Kosovo, where Tony is from, listen to Serbian and Albanian music. So how did a guy who was born in Prishtina, Kosovo fall in love with country music?
"Actually, you have to understand that America for us is like Texas," laughs Tony. "The cowboy is in me. My dad was a big fan of the cowboy movies. So we used to watch John Wayne and Charles Bronson and all those guys doing those cowboy movies."
And then there was the love of the Man in Black. Tony's dad was a huge Johnny Cash fan. "Johnny Cash was amazing for my dad, because we thought American culture is country music! For us, American culture was the 'country' culture, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton. You look at all these great country music stars ... and they told the stories. If you listen to all their songs, they always have such great meaning behind the stories, especially in the day and age where most of the songs don't have that much of a meaning. When you listen to those old country songs, you know people went through those difficult times.
"I remember the first outfit that my dad bought when we came here (to America) was all black, " laughs Tony. "When I went to Nashville I even got him one of Johnny Cash's jackets. I go there probably three or four times a year because I teach in some of the dance schools there. I love Nashville. Nashville's got so much talent that's untapped. You go to a karaoke bar, and the way these folks sing is unbelievable. They're regular folks like me and you ... But everybody puts cotton balls in their ears when I go up there to sing! [laughs]"
There's no word on whether Kate Gosselin loves country music as much as her pro partner. So will she play along if Tony suggests they two-step to Tim? Despite their highly-publicized argument during rehearsals for last week's show, Tony insists they are dancing in harmony these days. "She's a blast to work with, really!" Tony says, adding with a laugh, "There's never a dull moment, let's put it that way."
'Dancing With the Stars' airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8:00 PM ET on ABC.