09:34 AM EDT 12/04/2013
Originally posted 11/29/2013 10:45AM
One way to keep the drowsiness at bay on Thanksgiving? Just keep dancing!
A hilarious impromptu dance war erupted Thursday on Instagram among several Dancing with the Stars veterans, beginning with a throwdown between Derek Hough and his season 14 partner, Maria Menounos.
Early in the day, Hough, 28, posted a video of himself and his family, including sister Julianne, boogying down to will.i.am's "That Power" while preparing dinner. "The key to a great meal?? Dance while you cook!" he wrote.
Originally posted 11/28/2013 07:10AM
Valerie Harper was smiling and full of her trademark optimism when she returned to the ballroom the finale of Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday.
"It was great to be with [my dance partner] Tristan [McManus] again and all my buds, all these lovely friends I made," she told PEOPLE after the show.
The 74-year-old, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year, has defied the dire predictions that she only had months to live, and says she's been feeling "pretty good" since leaving the show in October.
Originally posted 11/27/2013 09:20AM
To the average viewer, from the very first episode there was no question that Amber Riley was a clear contender in Dancing with the Stars's 17th season.
But Tuesday's newly named mirror ball champ didn't see things potentially heading in that direction until closer to the end of the competition.
"There was a point where I realized I really wanted to win," Riley, 27, standing alongside partner Derek Hough, told PEOPLE inside the ballroom right after landing the show's highest honor.
"And that point was maybe the last time [I had to put needles in my knees]. The last time I got the knees lubed up was the time that I was like, 'Hey, you know, I feel like I really want to win this, so let's go hard' … It was America's vote and they voted for me and I really appreciate it."
Originally posted 11/26/2013 11:00PM
Twelve weeks of sweat – and a lot of tears – have led up to Tuesday night's season 17 finale of Dancing with the Stars.
Finalists Amber Riley and Corbin Bleu were the season's regular leader board frontrunners, while Jack Osbourne improved tremendously since he began, and touched people with his life story.
But it was Amber who won the mirror ball.
Originally posted 11/26/2013 04:30PM
Dancing with the Stars is a marathon. And for those dancers who make it to the final weeks, it's an endurance test for the heart as much as the body.
Behind the smiles, often, there are tears – of exhaustion, frustration, relief and every other emotion you can experience.
"I had a cry in my car at one point. I had to pull over because I was just so worn out and tired," Jack Osbourne told PEOPLE backstage after Monday's show.
Originally posted 11/26/2013 12:25PM
Not only were the judges in awe of Corbin Bleu and Karina Smirnoff's Michael Jackson-centric freestyle routine on Monday night's Dancing with the Stars – but it sounds like the King of Pop himself would have enjoyed the number if he were still alive.
"He came to the High School Musical concert in Vegas," Bleu told reporters backstage after learning he'd successfully made it through Monday night. "When I went and did my bit in the concert, Kenny [Oretga, the choreographer] leaned over and said, 'Michael leaned over to [me] and said, who is that? And I said, 'That's Corbin Bleu.' And Michael said, 'He's good.' I still get goose bumps thinking about it. It was one of the coolest things for me."
Calling his encounter with the icon "the highlight of my life," Bleu describes Jackson as having "such a presence," explaining, "He's extremely tall [and] he's got big ol' hands when you shake them."
Originally posted 11/25/2013 10:30PM
With Dancing with the Stars contestants in the final stretch of season 17, Monday night saw another couple sent home.
Just before a newly crowned champion will be named on Tuesday, Jack Osbourne, Bill Engvall, Amber Riley and Corbin Bleu battled it out for a shot at winning the coveted mirror ball trophy.
At the end of Monday's episode, Engvall and partner Emma Slater ended up with the lowest score – and were sent packing.
Originally posted 11/25/2013 05:00PM
Karina Smirnoff is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 13 with J.R. Martinez. The longtime competitor has been blogging for PEOPLE about competing with former High School Musical star Corbin Bleu in season 17.
I'm just enjoying this whole process. At this point, you can't control what's going to happen from anyone's side. The only thing we know is that we're having a blast and we're trying to figure out how to fit in all these dances. The workload this season is ridiculous. We've had to pretty much learn more than one dance per day.
We get nervous about the quality. How do you manage to work, polish and give great quality with such little time? So it's like you don't eat, you don't sleep, you don't use the bathroom. They say sleep is overrated. I respectfully disagree.
Originally posted 11/25/2013 11:20AM
Corbin Bleu is a former High School Musical star, now competing on season 17 of Dancing with the Stars with season 13 champion Karina Smirnoff. This season, the Disney alum has been blogging for PEOPLE about his experience on ABC's hit show.
At the beginning of rehearsing for this week, I was about to pull my hair out. I had no idea how we were going to get through it. We have five dances to do. So there's so much press and everything, and the amount of interviews that I'm doing is cutting into rehearsal time. It's craziness. It's like finals in school. It's hell week.
I expected the season to be a lot of hard work. Everyone warned me that it's one of the most time consuming and physically and mentally draining processes to go through. But what you don't realize is how much goes into it with production. You're constantly debating back and forth with what song you're going to dance to. Sometimes you'll submit a song and they won't necessarily let you choose that song. Then you have to rework the entire dance concept. Then you have to figure out lighting and costumes.
Originally posted 11/19/2013 01:15PM
Bill Engvall feels hopeful that he just may beat out the competition on Dancing with the Stars, and his confidence comes from his strong partnership with Emma Slater.
"I feel like I could win this thing," Engvall tells PEOPLE as the duo head to the finals. "Not alone though!"
"I have such great fans and a wonderful partner, that I just think the stars are aligning. If they don't, I'm fine with that, but I can imagine [winning] now."
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