Dancing With The Stars

"It was like being in a doctor's office": Singer Dami Im reveals the strict rules Channel 10 has implemented to prevent its stars contracting COVID-19

The network isn't taking any chances!

By Rebecca Sullivan
Aussie singer Dami Im is the first to admit dancing is not her forte.
"I've always been the most unco person I know," Dami told Now To Love.
But despite her lack of formal dance training, the 31-year-old managed to tango and foxtrot her way through to the pointy end of the competition on Dancing With The Stars this year, making it through six weeks of eliminations, before being voted off on Sunday night.
"I have really no dance experience prior to this, so my goal was to try and not look so unco on TV and last longer than one week," Dami joked.
"I've done seven weeks of it now, and I'm still unco, but now I know some extra moves I can pull off!"
Like many Aussie reality shows, Dancing With The Stars has had to adapt in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, in order to adhere to our new social distancing health guidelines.
In an extraordinary TV first, the show's live studio audience was removed, a cautionary measure to prevent the spread of the illness, and Dami's fellow celebrity contestant Christian Wilkins performed his routine via a live video satellite link from the rooftop of his Melbourne hotel room.
The model and fashion influencer is in quarantine with his dance partner Lily Cornish, after his father Richard Wilkins was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier this month. Both Christian and Lily have returned negative test results.
When asked about how her co-stars were handling self-isolation, Dami revealed it was an "emotional" experience.
"I spoke to them on FaceTime and they were in good spirits," she said.
"It's obviously a really emotional time for them, being locked up At least they have each other and it's not just one person completely isolated by themselves."
Dami with her dance partner Shane performing one of their final routines. Image: Channel 10
Christian Wilkins (right) and his dance partner Lily Cornish performed their routine via video link on Sunday night. Image: Instagram
Dami says performing without a live audience was "really bizarre."
"That has never happened in the history of television, where the studio audience is cancelled," she said, adding there were several new routines and show ideas that had to be cancelled due to the virus.
"It was really bizarre, but for me I was just really grateful that the show kept going, because everything around me is getting cancelled."
"For us, being able to still do the same thing, getting to dance on TV and provide really light-hearted entertainment for people at home, was great. We're providing a sense of normalcy, some consistency and a bit of silliness. We were all very grateful."
Dami says the new post-corona era of DWTS was "really bizarre". Image: Instagram
Dami, who represented Australia at Eurovision in 2016 with her hit single Sound of Silence, explained the huge changes and new regulations Channel 10 put in place to ensure both the cast and crew were adequately protected.
"All the studio spaces have to be readjusted," she revealed.
"With the makeup artists, they reduced the number of makeup people, so we can fit into one room without being squished together wearing masks."
Ten altered its standard production operations to ensure hospital-grade hygiene practices were implemented.
"They had to be really careful with the makeup, and all the powders. It was like being in a doctors office. You couldn't be in the room if someone was in the room," Dami said.
"There were so many different measures taken to ensure we could still go on with the show."
Dami showing off her incredible dance moves. Image: Channel 10
Like many performers in the arts industry, Dami's schedule and employment opportunities over the coming weeks and months has been thrown up in the air, with several of her upcoming gigs cancelled.
"I've been looking forward to performing at Bluesfest for the first time, but that's been cancelled. I was planning on going overseas and doing some festivals, but unfortunately that won't happen," Dami said.
"So many people in the music industry and arts community are devastated. They've lost all their work for the next six months and that's their only source of our income."
WATCH BELOW: See the moment Dami made it to the Eurovision final. Story continues after video.
Thanks to some sensible budgeting, Dami says she's better placed than most to weather the coming storm.
"I'm OK, because I've saved up, but there are other people who really needed these gigs and I'm really devastated for what happened. I hope people support the arts industry and they don't go forgotten," she said.
With an album in the works and a brand new single, Kiss Me Anyway, to promote, Dami is still looking ahead with positivity.
"I was planning on releasing an album, and I can still do that. I can still write and do Skype sessions with other writers. But I can't do any live concerts.
"But I'll still be releasing my album! I'm marching on."
Dancing With The Stars airs on Sunday nights at 7.30pm on Channel 10.