Here is the interview we did at the set of YTT recently with judge Chucky Klapow.
Alicia – Now you won an Emmy for High School Musical?
Chucky – Yeah – I won an Emmy for High School Musical
A – You’re my first emmy winner!
C – Also an emmy loser – i got nominated for the second one
A – I saw that – with a lady called Bonnie Story?
C – Yes who was my partner in crime., Kenny Ortega was the director – he would come in, see how we were going, and manipulate some of it as well.
A – You were going to do Footloose (the movie) weren’t you.
C – Yes, with Kenny set to direct, I was set to choreograph, then Michael Jackson’s audition came along, and I decided to go and audition for that.
A – That was a good move
C – Yes, was a good move, Kenny didn’t end up directing Footloose after all, and I would not have been working on that either and in the process, became a part of history – and that’s (opportunity to work with MJ) to live every dancer’s dream – right?
A – Exactly
C – Michael Jakson – oh my gosh..
A – What was the experience like?
C – It was surreal, incredible, a learning experience and it was magic – I mean it was just unbelievable. I was the oldest dancer of the bunch. Growing up, I was a big fan – so it was just such an incredible full circle experience for me.
A – You did the memorial as well – was that bitter sweet or just bitter?
C – It was just bitter, it was weird. A week earlier, we were in the same building, with Michael rehearsing, and a week goes by and – it just wasn’t supposed to happen like that.
A – I just never forget that little girl (Paris) – I was sobbing, my heart went out to her,…
(rehearsal of song takes over – short stop)
A – Are you still working with Wade Robson – I hear you had a partnership?
C – Yeah, we’ve grown up together, close family friends, and spend every Xmas together, but we haven’t worked to gether in years. We collaborated when we were teenagers, ran our own dance company, then he went on to his own career and I have done my own thing – we’re just friends, yeah
A – You just get so many conflicting things on the Internet?
C – After Michael died we worked on a piece together – it was nice to be in the studio with him again. It was really Micchael that brought us together
A – About coming here – was it a hard choice to make? Had you been to Australia before?
C – I’d never been to Australia before, but like I said I had some close friends who like Wade, Shannon.. from This is it – some of my favourite people are Australian and I didn’t even hesitate when I heard I could come over here for like 4 and a half months – and it is everything I hoped it would be – I fell in love with the city of Sydney and the culture of Australia within a week
A – You didn’t think it was going to be koalas climbing tress, kangaroos running down the streets…
C – No, no, I didn’t think that… as a matter of fact I just saw my first boomerang in a store yesterday – its different
A – So we are welcoming?
C – Yes, very welcoming, warm, always love Australians, I have had great friends from Australia, every body is pretty cool. It’s great, great people
A – Out of all the contestants that have been on so far, do you have a favourtie? Anyone that really stands out?
C – I have a favourite out of all the competitors on the show – that really stands out, and I will not say who that is, and you know what, I have the feeling it may not be an obvious one. When I cast dancers, I don’t always look for the most perfect dancers, I don’t look for the most talented or perfect dancer, sometimes its about having that little something special that you can’t describe – that’s genuine and truthful. That’s what I like – I like people with character, that are honest performers – and my favourite one that I have seen so far, may have that. It’s about connecting with the audience, its about doing more than just singing a song, or dancing a dance, you have to have a reason and an intent behind what you are doing – and those that do, that know what they are thinking about, that have a purpose, as to why they are doing it, then those are the ones that will actually connect more with the audience
A – Can I ask you your favourtie TV shows?
C – I love 24 – yeah – I loved it – its not on anymore, but that was one of my favourite TV shows ever, and when I am watching television, I’m usually watching sports highlights or games. I don’t get alot of TV – other than that, Modern Family. A greeeeat show, and I’m not just saying that because it is right after us, I am saying that honestly. It’s one of my favourite shows, and I was so excited when I found out I was going to be on the same network! What!? It’s crazy! I have watched every episode, and have them all on my Apple TV, and watch them all the time.
A – I love Sofia Vigara
C – One of those shows I could watch every episode over and over and over
A – I love Cameron…
C – Good show, good ensemble, there is not one weak or loose link in the whole cast – and the kids are great – alot of young talent. It’s like a good example of how much young talent is out there
A – The boy in the Dunphy family is a child prodigy
C – Yeah from what I hear he is really cool. Sarah Highland is a friend of mine.
A – She’s the oldest (Dunphy) and she’s like 21 isn’t she?
C – Yeah – She almost made it into High School Musical 3 – she almost made the movie. One of the last few girls left for one of the parts. She’s awesome, cool person She reminds me of Vanessa Hudgens!
A – She reminds me of Mila Kunis
C – Oh yeah? They’re practicing one of the dances I choreographed over there – just an example of my ADD – can’t focus on everything – true artist
A – Are you more critical of dancers on the show
C – It’s not that I am more critical, its just that I think so far in the show we have seen better vocalists than we have seen dancers – I know that the talent is out there and I like what I have seen so far – I may come across as critical because I have notes I can give to them to help them improve and help them to grow, doesn’t mean I didn’t like them but I’m focusing on what I can say to help them become better performers. And sometimes that looks like maybe I’m criticising too much but what I am thinking is that I am teaching. All I want to do is teach, and I know what I can say to them to make them grow. I’m not one of those people (who will be nasty) at all.
A – Sports – what sports are you into? Did you watch Superbowl?
C – I did watch the Superbowl. My football jersey right now – this is my Buffalo Bills – they suck, they haven’t made it to the playoffs in 12 years, they are the worst team in football, but I still stand by them.
A – Buffalo New York? My friend’s from near Rochester and made me a Cheese Head (Green Bay Packers)
C – I like the Packers. But basketball, I’m a Laker fan… I love everything – I’m a football fan…
A – Did you watch half time? What did you think of the choreography in Madonna’s performance?
C – It was a little weird – Vogue didn’t feel like Vogue to me, it felt like an Egyptian parade, I really wanted it to be more authentic, like it was in the past, but I don’t know… it was a little understated for a half time Superbowl show – not that I didn’t appreciate it, it was pretty cool, and I like Madonna – she is always reinventing herself
A – I love Madoona, but the singing live’s not too good!
C – shakes head, laughs, no real comment!
A – Thank you for your time!
C – Thankyou!
Chucky was great and there were more things said that I can’t say – but may be relevant in finals. This man was so welcoming and personable and a true sweetheart.
To see our interview with Lyndall click here
YTT airs on Ten, now on Friday nights at 7pm.