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November 13, 2007
Helio (Castroneves) is heck on heels

I don't about you, but I wasn't going ape over Helio Castroneves' canary yellow suit Monday night.

However, I do feel safe in predicting that he will be looking good after tonight's results show of "Dancing With the Stars."

On Monday's show, his second of two dances with partner Julianne Hough was the quickstep, and he was anything but heavy on the pedals. The IndyCar Series driver drove around the dance floor like he had just hit the fourth turn at Indianapolis - light on his feet, good technique, plenty of teeth.

The fancy footwork earned Helio and Julianne a perfect 30 points from the trio of judges. One of them, Bruno Tonioli, had this comment: "That's what I like to see! The boy from Brazil is going bananas!"

This morning, I got a chance to get in on a conference call with Helio, who has spent the entire two months of "Dancing" in Los Angeles.

Q: How would you sum up your experiences so far on the show?
A: I never thought it would be this much fun. I'm becoming good friends with the other celebrities. The staff is nice. But it's a lot of hard work. However, I've made a commitment to the show for as long as it takes.

Q: What's it like partnering with last season's professional winner, Julianne? How tough is her choreography?
A: I took it as good news that I drew Julianne. She knows everything that it takes to win. I'm not trying to be a professional dancer, just have fun. Her choreography is amazing. Step by step, hopefully we can go all the way.

Q: What's the difference between preparing for dancing vs. preparing for racing?
A: I'm not using my upper body as much for dancing. It's my legs! Unlike some of the other competitors, I haven't lost much weight. Actually, I've gained in terms of muscle. It will help me with the pedals (during racing). I hope I don't have trouble breaking them!

Q: What about those 10s! Do you feel safer now?
A: The 10s blew my mind away. But it's about consistency, not being up and down. The judges push us. And it's certainly not just about the dancing. Sabrina (Bryan) was voted off, and she's a great dancer. The fan base is really, really important, too.

Q: Is it getting easier to learn the dances or more difficult with two a week?
A: I rehearse as long as my feet hold up! I just want to keep going. After I learn the routine, I focus on the details. I think my brain is finally working faster to learn the dances now.

Q: Are you getting ribbing or support, or both, from your racing buddies?
A: The drivers are being very, very nice. They're sending messages and support. Most importantly, they're voting! They're saying, "Man, you're really good." It's great when you hear from Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson (both NASCAR drivers), too.

* My prediction for tonight's results show: Well, Marie Osmond received the lowest number of judges' votes, but she's definitely got a huge fan base. Don't get mad, but I think it might be Jennie Garth's going-away soiree.

The guest performer tonight is Gloria Estefan. The show airs at 9 p.m. on Channel 10.

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