Kellie Pickler is likely dusting off her dancing shoes right now. The singer and reigning Dancing With the Stars champion will make a triumphant return to the show for part one of the season finale, which airs Monday night (Nov. 25) on ABC.
She'll perform her single "Little Bit Gypsy," backed by a group of professional dancers, to open the show. It was back in May that Pickler and her dance partner Derek Hough absolutely dominated the dance floor and took home the coveted mirror ball trophy.
Now, if you watched the show at all last season, you know the two were definitive front-runners from the beginning. There was no denying it. We all knew Pickler was a phenomenal country singer. Turns out, sister was one heck of a dancer, too. And just like she does with her music career, she poured every piece of her heart, soul and body into becoming a Grade A ballroom partner for Hough and for her fans watching at home, too.
Dancing became a way of life for her. For weeks, she ate, slept and breathed the fox trot, the rumba, the samba, the waltz. And now that it's all over, she admits she misses it -- especially that killer-dance workout.
"I gained like 15 pounds as soon as the show was over!" Pickler jokes. "It was just because you work out and work out and work out -- you stop doing it, you lose it! If you want to maintain any type of muscle or toning, you have to stick with it. Once you go from that intense working out and you stop cold turkey, you gain it back fast!"
That may be true, but during our interview, I was hard-pressed to find where she might be hiding those purported 15 pounds. She still looks amazing.
Pickler's return to the show is a chance to greet old friends, make new ones and show what she's been up to since her big win -- an incredible new album, The Woman I Am.
Meanwhile, Lady Antebellum will perform their new single, "Compass," on part two of the Dancing With the Stars season finale Tuesday night.
Loretta Lynn, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton were among those presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom during ceremonies Wednesday (Nov. 20) in Washington, D.C.
President Barack Obama honored 16 recipients, including Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, women's rights activist Gloria Steinem, former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee and the late astronaut Sally Ride. Lynn and Cuban-born jazz trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval were the only musical artists to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year.
The award is the nation's highest civilian honor presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the U.S., to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Lynn who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. In presenting her latest accolade, Obama noted her humble beginnings.
"Loretta Lynn was 19 the first time she won big at the local fair," he said. "Her canned vegetables brought home 17 blue ribbons and made her canner of the year. Now that's impressive. For a girl from Butcher Holler, Ky., that was fame.
"Fortunately for all of us, she decided to try her hand at things other than canning. Her first guitar cost $17 and with it, this coal miner's daughter gave voice to a generation, singing what no one wanted to talk about and saying what no one wanted to think about. Now, over 50 years after she cut her first record and canned her first vegetables, Loretta Lynn still reigns as the rule-breaking, record-setting queen of country music."
Ever wonder what musicians do during their down time? Here's a video of Rib Roundup featured artist, Jon Pardi,and his band enjoying a day of leisure before a gig at Joe's Bar in Chicago last December for an "End of the World" party. Pretty funny...