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article imageMel B. of the Spice Girls hosts Season 2 of Dance Your Ass Off! Special

By Earl Dittman     Jun 7, 2010 in Entertainment
The actress, spokeswoman & platinum-plated Spice Girl from Leeds, England is bringing her hot, versatile abilities to shake to the beat to become the Second Season hostess of the weight-loss/dance competition reality television series Dance Your Ass Off!
What better time to shed those pounds for that itty, bitty polka dot bikini that's been hanging in your closest all spring? Why now? You're just in time to join in on the fun of Season 2 of Dance Your Ass Off! – the hit dance/weight-loss competition series that became a hit on the Oxygen Channel last summer. However, this year, the competition/reality series is poised to become an even bigger ratings behemoth with the addition of of a hew hostess, the international singing/dancing superstar Mel B. – a founding/touring member of the massive all-female pop group Spice Girls. The series' race for even higher ratings begins when it Dance Your Ass Off! premieres on Monday, June 7 at 10pmCST -11:00pmEST on the Oxygen Channel (followed every Monday afterward at the same time beginning June 14).
From the moment she was approached with the proposition to become the hostess with the most-tess for the second installment of the series, Mel B. felt like she would be be a perfect fit to introduce the booty-shaking followers of Dance You Ass Off! each week. “Dance shows are getting more and more popular, and, basically, that's because I think it's because everybody loves to dance,” admits the British entertainer, Melanie Brown, from Leeds, who is also known to fans of the all-girl group as Scary Spice. “Whether it be in your bedroom with a hairbrush or on a girl’s night out with your friends. You know, everybody loves to dance. And pop music -- popular music is everywhere. You know, you turn on the radio and you recognize a Lady Gaga song and you want to sing along whether your 10 years old, or 30, or 60 years old. You know, music is part of everyone’s life and dance definitely is. So why not combine your love for both of them by losing weight and making money at it, at the same time? I can't think of a better physical combination. And, I can't imagine a a more hip and cooler way to spend your evening.”
A contestant rehearses a routine on Dance Your Ass Off!
A contestant rehearses a routine on Dance Your Ass Off!
With Mel B. as the vivacious hostess, Dance Your Ass Off! features twelve talented, full-figured contestants who struggle with their weight and dance to unleash their inner “thin.” They will battle each other on the dance floor – as well as on the scale -- for a shot at a $100,000 grand prize. Frustrated by a lifetime of failed diets and workout fads, the contestants will leave their friends and family behind and live together for ten weeks, determined to change their lives forever.
The series pairs each contestant with a professional dance partner who trains the competitor for the weekly stage performances. Then they burn up the dance floor and the calories in front of a live studio audience and a panel of expert judges that include Lisa Ann Walter, Danny Teeson and a weekly guest judge. The judges score the dance routines, and then tensions mount as the contestants weigh in to reveal their weekly weight loss. The dance score and the weight loss percentage are combined for an overall tally, which determines who is sent home each week.
“I can't think of a better way to lose weight – at all,” says Mel, who starred with her Spicy Sisters in Spice World in 1997, their homage to the Beatles' classic pop film A Hard's Day Night. “You put on your favorite music that you like and you can just almost lose yourself and not even realize it. You know, you’re actually dancing all your weight off. You’re getting your metabolism up. You’re heart rate up. Yes, I think it’s great way. It’s a fun way at the same time.”
A contestant films a segment of Dance Your Ass Off!
A contestant films a segment of Dance Your Ass Off!
Dance Your Ass Off! has assembled a world-class team of weight-loss specialists, including physician Dr. Jordan Geller, nutritionist Rachel S. Beller, R.D. and Crunch Fitness trainer Lee Wall. This team will help the contestants reach their weight loss potential in a healthy way as they undergo the ultimate lifestyle transformation.”There's a world-class team to back everybody up and to make sure they stay healthy,” Mel B. confesses. “All the contestants have to do is the hard work, And, let me tell you, it's real tough work. They are real troupers.”
With $100,000 and a healthier life on the line, the series ultimately will answer the question: who will have the last dance?
Mel Brown is has hardly a stranger to hard work. Best known for her role as a Spice Girl, she has also added author, fashion designer, television personality, live stage actress, philanthropist and a mom to her list of many credits. From her days growing up in Leeds, England, through her years in one of the most pop culture defining singing groups of the last couple of decades, and through such ventures as becoming a fan favorite on the network prime-time hit dance series Dancing With the Stars, Mel B. is always striving to do something better and different.
Most recently, Mel's red-hot presence was the driving force behind Peep Show, the sensual, sophisticated and sly spectacle redefining Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. For the captivating show, Mel B. partnered with Tony-winning director/choreographer Jerry Mitchell, acclaimed set designer David Rockwell, Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and music director Andrew Lippa for a wild journey of sexual awakening told through fables and fantasy with an all-female cast of dancers, singers and rock musicians.
One of the contestants performing on Dance Your Ass Off!
One of the contestants performing on Dance Your Ass Off!
Of course, Mel B.’s brash persona was at the core of the Spice Girl’s global success, racking up worldwide record sales of $55 million, a Guinness Book of World Records status for “Most No. 1 Entries in the UK Charts” and “Most Consecutive No. 1’s for a New Act.” The group’s enduring popularity brought about one of the most successful concert tours of 2007-08 with the reunion trek grossing more than $70 million. In addition to Spice Girls, Mel B, has embarked on a wide variety of ventures. On Broadway, she has starred as Mimi in a major production of Rent and appeared in a presentation of The Vagina Monologues, on TV she hosted the 2008 “Miss Universe Pageant” is a special correspondent for Access Hollywood.
And, if all that weren't enough, last year, she released the mega-successful Totally Fit work-out and health DVD, became the spokesperson for Virgin Mobile and is the face and voice for the Ultimo Lingerie line in the UK. Mel's is also a spokesperson for “Pose for the Cure” breast cancer campaign, worked with Will.I.Am in leading a fight against world poverty with Oxfam’s “In My Name” effort and has written a best-selling autobiography Catch a Fire, and starred in the wildly popular British soap, Burn It. Mel B.’s career has been based on inspiring people to leave behind their inhibitions and tackle anything that comes their way. “It’s all about feeling confident, listening to yourself, trusting yourself and being in your own power,” she says about her approach towards life. “And, at the end of the end, quite simply, that’s what I’m all about.”
Mel B. and her Spice Girl musical partners in rhyme
Mel B. and her Spice Girl musical partners in rhyme
What particular aspect of Dance Your Ass Off! caught your interest that made you want to be part of it? “Well, I watched it last season, and me and whole family completely fell in love in with it. And then the opportunity came and I got offered it, and I was like, 'Oh, my God. I’m already a fan. Let’s go. Let’s go do it.'”
Is there a particular dance that’s your favorite? Is there a particular style of dance that you love the most and you love to do yourself? “No. I love all of them from the hip-hop, the Ballroom, the -- all that kind of fun loving stuff. And, the dancers this season really are putting that heart and soul into it. I mean, they are literally dancing their asses off. They’ve lost a crazy amount of weight, and their dance ability each week is getting stronger, and stronger, and stronger. It’s quite incredible to watch.”
What advice would you have for people who are trying to incorporate this kind of dance program to lose weight at home? “I think if you’re wanting to lose weight, you've got to mix up your workout. Whether it be doing a dance video, whether it be taking a ballet class, whether it be you know, going for a run outside; I think it’s really important to switch it up.”
Mel B. on stage in  Peep Show
Mel B. on stage in "Peep Show"
Can you talk about your own personal relationship with choreography and calories, and how that’s evolved for you over the years? “Oh, well being part of the Spice Girls, you know we do choreography that was quite basic and simple in the early days, and as time went on, it got more complex for it. And, we just embraced our choreography that we got given and just made it our own. It’s interesting, because that’s exactly what the dancers are doing on this show. You know, even though they may not be at their ideal weight, they’re losing 10 to 15 pounds a week and they’re getting stronger and stronger, so their dance routines are getting much harder and much more complex, and they’re looking amazing. You know, before I did Dancing with the Stars, I had a lot of weight -- a lot of baby weight to lose, so that really helped -- dancing, for sure.”
Having done fund raising for diseases such as cancer, what role do you think health and dance play in disease prevention? “I think dance in general just gives you a whole life -- attitude towards life, because it’s fun. You’re using your whole physical body. You know, you’re putting yourself in a great position to become healthy. Fit and healthy at the same time. And, I think that helps in just your general well being. Mentally and physically.”
Mel B. and her former Dancing With The Stars partner Maksim Chmerkavskiy
Mel B. and her former Dancing With The Stars partner Maksim Chmerkavskiy
What’s the difference between the first season and the second? Is the format the same? Has anything been tweaked? “Well, I don’t want to give away too much. But you know obviously, it’s a completely different company that’s taken over it, Magical Elves. And you know, they’ve definitely put their own spin on it for sure. And then with me being involved, I bring my own little flavor, and you know I can really identify with nearly all of the contestants. So, this defiantly has had a face lift, but fundamentally it’s a show about dancing, about losing weight, and following these amazing people on their journey doing that”
Since you went through a similar experience on Dancing With the Stars, do you give the contestant's a lot of advice? “Oh, most defiantly. Well, not so much advice. Mainly support. You know, I’m more concerned like how your feeling today? How are your injuries? Because don’t forget, they’re for hours on end every single day and their body is not used to that.”
How would you feel seeing the contestants dance to some Spice Girl music? “They haven’t yet, but they should do. I’m going to mention that.”
The Spice Girls take a backstage break during their 2007-2008 Reunion Tour
The Spice Girls take a backstage break during their 2007-2008 Reunion Tour
Do you think really Spice Girls music is great dancing music? Great to work off extra pounds? “I think any music, if you enjoy it, is great to dance to. Whether it be Spice Girls, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, whatever your pick is. You know, just to be able to dance to your favorite song really helps. And, most of it is used to dance that weight off for sure.”
Since you were in the Spice Girls, and you were an inspiration to so many young ladies back then, would you ever consider doing a show and helping young ladies like that? You know, either lose weight, or learn how to dance, or be an inspiration in general? “Well, that’s why I did -- that’s exactly why I did Dance Your Ass Off! because it was a show that I definitely could identify with. You know, from my second baby, I literally danced my ass off and lost my weight before Dancing With the Stars and joined Dancing With the Stars. So with this job opportunity came along, I jumped at the chance, because this is a show that I loved to watch. I watched it last season. And, I think this year it really is extra special. You know, there’s a -- it’s had a whole face lift and it is way more younger and fresher, and the dance routines are really current and the choreography is incredible.”
Dance Your Ass Off! premieres Monday, June 7, 11:00pm-12:00amEST on Oxygen
Dance Your Ass Off! -- begins its regular airing on Monday, June 14, 10:00pm – 11:00pmEST on Oxygen (Check Local Listings)
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