Last night’s Dancing with the Stars was made in America. Meaning, fans of the show voted on the song, the dance, and the wardrobe for all the couples. So how’d America do for American war hero and first Ultimate Men’s Health Guy winner Noah Galloway?
We talked to Galloway after the show about how he handles stress, how a dancing competition is similar to being in a war, and his new superhero name, Mr. I’m Possible.
Men’s Health: America chose a tango for you, and put you in a white suit. Was that what you were hoping for?
Noah Galloway: I only had two days to work on the tango. I didn’t really even know what it was. My partner Sharna thought it would suit me, though, because when we’d done dances before that had a frame, and I’d done those well.
MH: Whenever you’re faced with a dance challenge—like trying to nail some of the trickier steps—do you ever think, ‘I fought in the war, I can do this?’
NG: I don’t say that out loud, but yes. There are times when I get so irritated, because it is so hard for me to pick up these dances. I’ll have that brief moment of, “I’ve been through a lot of shit,” you know? I mean, I can pull this off, but I have to work really hard at it. At this point, the hours in rehearsals are getting much longer and much more difficult. For me, I don’t hesitate to come in early in the morning and stay late at night. It doesn’t bother me. I’ve been in combat and I’ve been game-on 24/7 while deployed. That’s just what you do.
MH: Obviously, learning two dances in one week was kind of a 24/7 deployment of its own. How did you cope with the stress?
NG: Sometimes, I get so stressed that I get too relaxed, if that makes any sense. When I catch myself doing that, and I get worried. So going into this show, honestly, I was not confident in either dance. The stress level was so high that I had that moment where I thought, “Well, we had a good run.”
(If you need pointers on beating down stress, check out these 19 Ways to Live a Stress-Free Life.)
MH: Do you have any secrets for keeping the steps straight in your head? How do you keep the tango out of the salsa and the salsa out of the tango?
NG: The only thing that helps me is the music. I have to have the music there to separate the beats and the sounds and each step. A lot of dancers count off 1, 2, 3, 4, so Sharna will say, “We’re gonna do this on six,” and I’m like, “Where’s six?” Numbers mean nothing to me without the music.
MH: Your second dance of the night—the salsa trio with Sharna and Emma—was like a PG-rated two-girls-one-guy scenario. Was that exciting?
NG: There was nothing exciting about it, because I was just trying to learn the whole time we were together. And when I’m learning, I have this blank stare on my face. That’s just me, when I’m really concentrating.
MH: To borrow the judge’s ballroom dancing terms, the armography in this threesome was excellent. It was surreal the way you made five arms so seamless. It was very Harlem Globetrotters. Was that tough to nail?
NG: We had to tweak it a couple times, but we knew it was going to be worth it. That was Emma’s idea, once she realized we had five arms between us. Everyone was saying, “Y’all’s trio is gonna look awesome.”
MH: One of the judges called you Mr. I’m Possible. You should probably get that on a t-shirt.
NG: I loved that. I want to do that. Is it already trademarked?
MH: You said last night that you’ve come too far to be eliminated now. Are you doing anything different this week to make sure your fans and followers do their part to make that possible?
NG: I’m doing everything I can to let people know that voting keeps me on the show. It’s that simple. That’s what kept me here from the beginning, and what will keep me here going forward. It’s not the judges’ scores. It’s the votes.