Disney star Kyle Massey dazzled 40 million viewers during the 11th season of Dancing With the Stars in 2010. His childlike exuberance, bright smile and fearless conviction to each routine won over the judges, leading him to finish second to actress Jennifer Grey.
The loss to Grey—that virtually unbeatable Dirty Dancing star (nobody puts Baby in a corner, after all)—likely scored the 20-year-old a role in the new production of Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas at the Tropicana.
“No matter where I went, or who I’d meet and shake hands with, I would always hear, ‘You should’ve won! You should’ve won!’” Massey says. “And I’m sure the producers of the show heard the same things, so this [Las Vegas production] was their way of giving me a second chance.”
Along with Massey, the live show features many stars of seasons’ past, such as Tia Carrere, Sabrina Bryan, Joey Fatone and Carson Kressley. But instead of votes and judgment, the Las Vegas production is all about romantic pairings, comedic dance routines and collaborative efforts.
Couple Massey’s dancing gig with the formation of his own record label and his new rap single (“Get Over It”), and you’d be on your way to witnessing the growth of a child star into a young man driven by an unshakable belief in himself. Vegas Seven talked to Massey about what motivates him and why the transition into music and adulthood will be a confident one.
How did you prepare for such a physical show?
I really hit the gym every day. I’ve lost 15 pounds since we started, and I feel great. I run two miles and bike three miles every morning and that’s before rehearsal for three hours, and then we go do a show later that night.
How would you have rated your pre-DWTS abilities compared to now?
I was a negative 10 [laughing], but now I rate myself as a solid eight because every single show we do, I get better. It’s all about hard work and dedication.
What was it like to partner with dancer/choreographer Lacey Schwimmer?
Lacey is super fine! She’s a super strict teacher, but she has to be that way. I needed a teacher like Lacey, and I’m glad that I’m able to dance with her for my coupled numbers in the Vegas show as well.
Is rapping the next phase in your professional career?
I definitely want to focus more on my rap career. I’m trying to get the song played in all of the clubs, so hopefully next year we’ll be playing at Coachella! Most artists go out and try to get a record deal, but me and my brother [Chris Massey] are already well-known with an established fan base, which enables us to push out our music on our own record label and social networking sites.
Are your fans ready to support your transition from Disney child star to hip-hop performing, merengue-dancing adult?
Definitely! It’s all about transition, and all transition is possible if you do it correctly. Whether I’m onstage performing each night or preparing the music we plan to release, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. And with everything I have coming up I just practice patience. You have to have patience, along with a plan.