Julianne Hough spoke with People Magazine recently about some of the contestants on the new season of Dancing With The Stars, saying she was shocked by the talent she saw on the dance floor.
Hough was particularly impressed with Alek Skarlatos, one of the men who foiled a terrorist attack on a train headed for Paris earlier this year. Skarlatos, an Army National Guardsman, is surprisingly graceful according to veteran dancer Hough.
“I was shocked with Alek, I think he was even shocked by his ability, too! I don’t think anybody had any idea what to expect from him, and he was really graceful. He’s really charming, and I said it when I was judging him the other night, but I feel like he is the everyman, the everywoman, America’s representative,” Julianne Hough said.
Alek was on a European vacation with his friends Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler when a man boarded the train armed with a rifle and a box cutter and opened fire. The men–along with businessman Chris Norman–subdued the suspect, and in the end there were no lives lost. The men have been hailed as heroes in America, but in France they were awarded the highest medal of honor at Elysee Palace, making them Chevalier, knights of the Legion of Honour.
“It’s a huge honor and I feel very humbled by it. But I just haven’t really had time to process much,” Skarlatos said.
Julianne Hough also spoke about contestant Bindi Irwin, 17-year old conservationist and daughter of the late Steve Irwin. Hough says Bindi is an excellent role model for young women, which is rare to find in someone her age.
“I just feel like she’s a really great role model for young girls because she looks like she is so comfortable in her own skin, which therefore makes everybody else feel comfortable in their skin. So I just think she’s a great person to be on the show, to represent that she’s 17 and she likes herself, you know? It’s pretty awesome,” Julianne Hough said.