For ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Kurt Warner leaves his game face at home


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Kurt Warner had a few post-game notes for himself, after the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ season opener:

  • That music they’re playing? Very helpful to tune it in, not tune it out.
  • The lovely lady? She’s on the team, so it’s OK.
  • The game face? Forget it — it’s time to show that emotion, son!

The Ministry caught up with the former NFL quarterback, Super Bowl champ and two-time league MVP via e-mail Tuesday just ahead of his first results show and tossed a few questions at a guy who’s used to being No. 1.

Ministry of Gossip: Describe the run-up to taking the stage for your performance — how did going second work for you?


Kurt Warner: Mixed emotions going second in the show ... good to get out there and get the first performance out of the way and felt good to be in front of live audience. Tough because you’re looked at to set the tone and judges have no idea what is to come, so I believe they have to be a little more conservative in the early stages. Made the show more relaxing to sit back and watch other contestants!

MOG: Your wife was in the front row — what’s her take on your ‘DWTS’ gig? When the two of you had your first dance, could she have imagined you’d be here years later?

Warner: Brenda had to get over some hurdles in making the decision to do ‘DWTS.’ It is never easy for a wife to allow their husband to work in close proximity with another beautiful woman. She stepped out a bit and has really enjoyed the process. I have a great partner in Anna [Trebunskaya] and that’s made this move so much easier.

As far as ever imagining that I’d be dancing in front of millions of people ... NO WAY! But this is an opportunity to show a different side of myself and hopefully reach a different audience with the things that are important to us. MOG: Which elements of your football background are helping you, and which are holding you back?

Warner: I think the most helpful elements of being an athlete are commitment to working hard and the ability function in chaotic environments. This show throws a lot at you, so the ones who handle that the best will be the ones that move on.

The things that hold me back are focus and performing. As a player I’m used to focusing on my job and being able to tune out distractions. In dance, I find that I tune out the music, and that ISN’T a good thing, as my partner always tells me! Also, on the field my job was to try and show as little emotion as possible; I didn’t want teammates or opponents to see me too high or too low but wanted them to always see a quiet confidence.

On ‘DWTS’ the whole idea is about letting emotions out and wearing them on your sleeve. So no more game face. Now it’s time to perform. Describe what it’s like in the moment to have the judges, with their unique personalities and pet peeves, weigh in on your performance. Assuming you advance, will you be studying film to prep for next week?


It is difficult to have people critique you no matter what you’re doing. It was hard on the field and just as hard in the ballroom. But it is all part of the process. Any time you put yourself in a competitive environment you’re going to have to deal with criticism. Key is always to listen to what is being said and weigh honestly what is right, what is wrong and use what you can to get better. So I will try and do the same on this show.

MOG: How much interaction have you had with the other contestants, and who have you hit it off with the best?

Warner: I’ve been practicing at home in Arizona, so I haven’t had a great deal of interaction with the cast, but when I have, it has been great and a little eye opening! I’ve really hit it off with all the guys like the Situation [Mike Sorrentino], Michael Bolton, the Hoff, Kyle Massey and Rick Fox and look forward to getting to know them more in the future.

(If you missed Kurt and Anna’s Viennese waltz on Monday night’s show, check out the video below.)

— Christie D’Zurilla

Top photo: Kurt Warner and Anna Trebunskaya on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ on Sept. 20 in Los Angeles. Credit: Adam Larkey / ABC / Associated Press.

Second photo: Warner backstage after the show. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters.