Reality TV

The nostalgia is real! Dancing with the Stars’ original judges take a stroll down memory lane ahead of the new season

Todd, Helen, Paul and Mark are ready to rumba!
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The original Dancing With The Stars judges Todd McKenney, Helen Richey, Paul Mercurio and Mark Wilson are dusting off their score paddles and popping on their sparkly best to reunite for Dancing With The Stars: All Stars.

More than a decade has passed since they were in the same room, but the awesome foursome tell Woman’s Day it only feels like yesterday.

“Until we all looked at one another and thought, ‘We better have a rethink’,” jokes Helen, 76.

“Where’s the anti-wrinkle cream?” Mark chimes in.

The stars admit they’re older and wiser, especially when it comes to things like Botox…

“I made the mistake in series 12,” confesses Todd, 55.

“I looked ridiculous and I hated it! I’ll never do it again. My face froze. I couldn’t animate anything.”

But Paul, 57, has no trouble expressing how “excited” he is to be back with the old gang.

“It’s been a real buzz,” he says.

“Keeping it secret was the hard part. Because so many people have been asking me, “Are you back on the show?” and I’m like, ‘Nah, nah, not back on the show… waiting for a phone call’.”

Back to the future! This years judging lineup is strangely familiar…

(Channel Seven)

Helen says the time is right for a Dancing reboot. “It’s got lovely music, lovely costuming, it’s glamorous and I think in this day and age – when it’s so depressing – a show like this makes you feel good!”

Paul agrees, saying, “We certainly need some sunshine in our lives after the last year we’ve had.”

COVID, they say, has also caused some havoc with wardrobe fittings.

“None of us has done much for the past year, so nothing fits us any more,” jokes Todd, while Mark admits, “We’ve got COVID kilos!”

The original judges shared a special bond.

For Paul, it’s more a matter of trends. “Fashions have changed since I was on the show,” says the Strictly Ballroom star, who left the series in 2008.

Meanwhile, Mark, 58, says fans will enjoy seeing the evolution of the competition’s celebrity dancers, too.

“The nostalgic element is really interesting. Like Bec Hewitt – she hasn’t danced in 16 years,” he says.

“It feels like the whole family is back together again right across the board with [hosts] Sonia [Kruger] and Daryl [Somers] and us and I think that’s going to tug a few heartstrings.”

The all star cast is jam-packed with nostalgia.

(Channel Seven)

And that’s not to mention bring the laughs!

“It’s nice to see Sonia being naughty again,” says Paul. “In that Kruger way. She’s on fire! Put it that way…”

Speaking of fire, the quartet says viewers are in for some sparks, too. “Australia’s just waiting for Tom Williams to take his shirt off,” jokes Todd.

As for their dream celeb line-up, if All Stars returns for season two, Todd has Pauline Hanson on his wishlist, while Helen would bring Tina Arena back.

“She was great,” says Helen.

For Paul, he’d love to see namesake Paul Hogan do his thing on the dancefloor. “He’s a great Aussie bloke and funny. Let’s see his paso doble!” he says.

But Helen isn’t so sure, joking, “He’s older than me – it would kill him!”

Mark has got an old school Dancing alum in mind.

“Hemsworth,” he says, reminiscing over Thor star Chris’ 2006 stint on the show, to which Paul chimes in, “Get your shirt off!”

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