Rock icon Vince Neil said he’s got bumps and bruises all over his body from falling on the ice during his daily 5-plus hours of rehearsals for ABC’s upcoming Skating With the Stars premiering Nov. 22. “My right knee has taken some punishment,” he told me last night at The Rio, where he hosted his 6th Annual Skylar Neil Charity Poker Tournament.
His 25-year-old dance partner, international gold medalist Jennifer Wester, said, “You have to fall to learn ice skating, but he’s a shockingly good student. You will be very surprised and impressed. I am already impressed. When I learned I was getting the bad boy of rock, I thought it was over before it began, but he’s been the good boy of ice skating. Vince is humble and very hard working.
“I got the total opposite of what I expected. He’s learned and practiced and learned and practiced again and again until it hurts. He really has a shot if he keeps studying and rehearsing like this. I’d heard his reputation, but Vince is completely different to that -- and he’ll have the opportunity to show that side of him to viewers.” They posed last night for their very first photo together -- showing the Crillion move!
Vince laughed: “It’s tough work. Sometimes 6 hours a day on the ice. You fall. It’s cold. You hurt. But I’m loving it, and I think we’re going to surprise fans and a whole new demographic of moms and grandmothers. I think I’d been on the ice just once since I was 12 years old. So this was a whole new experience that started a few weeks ago. I’m so into it we’ve even been on ice skating dates! The show, of course, isn’t just skating. We have choreographed dance routines to music.
“My only rule has been no feathers. No pink! I’m fortunate because ABC hired my tour designer to do my outfits for the show, so we’ll be looking rock smart.”
Jennifer has been stretching Vince in long warm-up and cool-down sessions before his skating practice here in Las Vegas. ABC has now built a skating rink in the studio alongside Dancing With the Stars for the program that debuts after the DWTS finale as a 2-hour premiere special to run for six weeks. The set will resemble an ice castle, and the show’s first elimination is Nov. 29.
Vince has a Shiprocked cruise to the Bahamas from Thursday through Sunday from Fort Lauderdale to Nassau, Bahamas, with Drowning Pool, Cinderella, Tesla, Sevendust and six other groups. “I lose four days of practice this week, but I will fly direct from the Bahamas to Los Angeles on Sunday and go straight to the rink from the plane to start an intense week before the first show,” Vince said.
Jennifer added: “If there was a rink on the boat, we’d have kept up the schedule. But instead, I’ve given him a lot of homework to do while sailing from Florida, and he’s totally promised to stick to the schedule. I know he will. He is really up on this.”
Dancing With the Stars
Meantime, it’s the final five on DWTS and the debut of a tricky new number called “Instant Dance.” Each of the duos will have mastered a dance routine -- Latin or jive -- but they only get to hear the selected music for the first time on the broadcast. The teams also dance a second routine, a ballroom number.
We know that Kyle Massey and Lacey Schwimmer will dance the jive for their Instant Dance and the Viennese waltz for the ballroom category. Lacey told Entertainment Tonight: “We go into the Instant Dance blind. We don’t know the music. We don’t know how long we have to dance. We don’t know its speed. The jive is fast and up energy and one of the hardest dances to master. Add it all together, and no wonder the celebrities are very nervous.”
As DWTS approaches its finale with just three more weeks of shows, it’s obvious that Brandy and Jennifer Grey will be in the finals, but the big question tonight is whether Bristol Palin’s fans are strong enough to make her the third finalist for an all-female battle. Or will Kyle, who was in last week’s bottom two with Rick Fox, who was eliminated, get sent packing tonight? Or will it be the last week for Kurt Warner? One of those three exits on tomorrow’s show.
It’s an interesting scenario, but the Brandy vs. Jennifer battle was predicted before the first episode of Season 11. Bristol, however, has turned out to be the sleeper competitor.
Vince welcomed nearly 100 poker players to his benefit last night, including our World Series of Poker correspondent Emily Jillette, Todd Brunson, Andy Block and David Williams. I helped MC the opening auction of items that including a signed Rolling Stones guitar, an autographed L.A. Lakers 2010 shirt signed by the champion team and coach Phil Jackson, a robe donated and signed by Muhammad Ali and a display case signed by 48 NFL legends in the Hall of Fame.
It all benefits the Skylar Neil Foundation named for Vince’s daughter who died from cancer at age 7. He’s held golfing events, benefit concerts and the annual poker tournament to raise funds for child cancer research causes. Our thanks to Richard Corey for his YouTube videos of the event.
“I can’t thank people enough for their support of this great cause,” said Vince, who was with new girlfriend entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs. “I’m rooting for him on Skating With the Stars obviously,” she told me. “I admit I’m really biased, but I can report safely he’s going to surprise a lot of people with his ice-skating skills. People will get to know a completely different side to him.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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