Grant's new groove: Gold Logie winner returning to live TV
GRANT Denyer had some sage advice for Samuel Johnson about Dancing With The Stars. Denyer, who won the show in 2006, told the fellow Gold Logie winner that it's not about being the best dancer, but the most likeable one.
"Samuel was a nervous wreck. He asked me 'Should I do it? Mate I'm just not a dancer' but I told him you've got to remember there's time to work on it," Denyer says.
"I said 'It's a magical experience and you can reach $10m for your sister's charity', which is his ultimate goal. I'm so glad he's done it.
"The great thing is everybody loves an underdog. Often the worst dancer gets the biggest push from the public. If you come out red hot and fantastic from the get go then Aussies don't feel the need to help."
Johnson is one of 11 famous faces taking to the dancefloor next week in Ten's revamp of the glittering ballroom dancing competition.
Denyer hosts alongside fellow Dancing alumni Amanda Keller, who also competed in the 2006 season.
"I've really missed live television, which I haven't done much of in the past few years," he says. "It's one of the most exciting forms of telly because we don't know what's going to happen next. It can always go wrong for the dancers. They're pulling off big moves that have high risk and that's the biggest buzz. It's the most addictive kind of television."
Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood and Dancing With The Stars US dancers Sharna Burgess and Tristan MacManus make up the new judging panel.
"The judges will take care of the hard-hitting stuff, while Amanda and I will naturally have a lot of sympathy for the dancers," Denyer says.
"Sometimes those hard barbs that get fired from the judges can hurt you because you get so emotionally invested when you're dancing six hours a day on top of your regular job. We're there to pick them back up and dust them back off."
Sunshine Coast-based ironman Jett Kenny, son of Olympians Lisa Curry and Grant Kenny, has bounced back from a broken collarbone to appear on the show.
"I've been doing dance training as well as trying to get back in the surf," Kenny says.
"You hold your arms up a lot (with dancing) so my shoulders are quite sore, and everything I do is quite hard coming back from a broken collar bone."
The blonde and tanned athlete has fielded his fair share of TV offers over the past few years, going on Australian Ninja Warrior and The Real Full Monty but turning down Love Island.
He says Dancing, by far, has been the biggest commitment.
"This is a whole new ballgame for me," he says. "Ninja was a bit more just strength based. I didn't have the best run in that show, but that's what you get when you don't train for it. I've been training six hours a day for this, so hopefully I can impress some people.
"I'm petrified of dancing... If I can bang out the first week and get over that fear then hopefully the next week will be easier."
Denyer jokes the 1.87m-tall Kenny is likely to sail through the first few weeks of competition, despite however many steps he may forget.
"Quite frankly I don't care how he dances, I'll be lost in those ocean blue eyes," he says.
"He's got a wonderful work ethic from all those gruelling training regimes in the past.
"I think Jett has the greatest trump card to play. When in doubt, just get your shirt off and show everybody the rig."
Dancing With The Stars premieres on Monday at 7.30pm on Ten.