Ricki Lake says J.R. "hard to beat" on "Dancing"

Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:53pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - She's been atop the leader board on TV contest "Dancing With the Stars" several times, but Ricki Lake still doesn't believe she'll end up with the mirror ball trophy. The winner, she thinks, will be J.R. Martinez.

"The war hero is going to be hard to beat. He's a better dancer than I am," Lake told Reuters. "I want to win, but if I'm second, that's okay."

Lake, who parlayed a starring role in the 1988 John Waters film "Hairspray" into a successful career as a talk show host, is on a roll on the TV dance contest. She's lost more than 20 pounds, gone from a size 10 in September to nearly a size 4, and says she has a newfound respect for professional dancers.

"They are machines," she said, "If you look at my body, I look like a Dalmatian! I'm bruised from head to toe. I'm falling apart in some ways."

But all that practice has paid off. Lake started slow in the first week, but topped the leader board by her second performance. She and professional partner Derek Hough have consistently wowed the judges since then with a tango and, in another week, a quickstep which both scored a 29, just one point less than a perfect 30.

But Martinez, an Iraq war veteran and daytime drama actor, has not been far behind, and in fact, he and partner Karina Smirnoff have consistently performed ahead of the pack.

Lake said her favorite dance so far has been a rumba from week three, which she described as a celebration of love after having met a new man, Christian Evans, whom she met over a year ago. She announced their engagement in August.


<p>Television personality Ricki Lake arrives at the 25th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in Los Angeles, March 5, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>