She's Got the Beat

Eighties pop queen and gay icon Belinda Carlisle is moving to a new beat on this season of Dancing With the Stars -- and proving right out of the gate that she's a survivor.



In her number 1 pop hit
"Heaven Is a Place on Earth," Belinda Carlisle sang about
"spinning with the stars above…" Yet as anyone who watched
the season premiere of ABC's
Dancing With the Stars

could attest, spinning is not Carlisle's strong suit. In fact,
circular rotation makes her so dizzy and nauseated she
suggested dance partner Jonathan Roberts should keep a bucket

While Carlisle is no
stranger to performing in front of audiences -- as vocalist of
her groundbreaking band the Go-Go's she was frequently a
whirling dervish in stilettos -- choreography is new to the
50-year-old songstress.

But reinvention is
hardly alien territory for Carlisle. In 1985 she disbanded the
group, stopped using drugs, and made herself over into a sleek,
chart-topping solo star. The veteran singer, who's
had a lifelong battle with weight issues and is the
new spokeswoman for diet-meals company NutriSystem, now resides
in France with her husband, Morgan Mason, a film
producer (and former U.S. chief of protocol under President
Reagan), and their 16-year-old son James Duke. chatted
with Carlisle about her appearance on

looking good at 50, and the new generation of party girls. The stars are already falling and you've
outlasted both Jewel and Nancy O'Dell [both were sidelined
before the first taping due to injuries]. How are you feeling
now that the first performance in front of the television
cameras is out of the way?
Belinda Carlisle:

I'm relieved. I was comfortable in rehearsals with Jonathan,
but it's a completely different experience in front of the
audience and cameras. I now know what to expect and I'm less
nervous. I just have to remember to have a good time. I can
only do my best. Last night was the first night I've slept
without taking herbal sleep aids.

The waltz is a notoriously difficult dance to master, but I
still thought Bruno [Tonioli, one of the show's three judges]
was unnecessarily harsh. The audience even booed him.

The waltz is a difficult dance. And we might have been a bit
awkward -- I could have done without the Cloris Leachman
comparison, though.

Tags: television