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Votes needed to win DWTS contest

Book-Atyeo (click for larger version)
November 03, 2010 - By C.J. Carnacchio

Leader Editor

She won't get to boogie with the stars on television, but Oxford resident Sherry Book-Atyeo's idea could win her a trip to Hollywood to see her vision danced to life.

Book-Atyeo, a 1987 graduate of Oxford High School, was selected as one of five finalists in ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Design a Dance contest.

"I couldn't believe when they called and told me I was picked for the top five," she said. "I think I was in shock until I hung up the phone, then I got really excited."

Her idea to have the show's professional dancers perform a re-creation of the old "American Bandstand" show was picked by producers – along with four other concepts submitted by viewers – to be part of a national on-line vote.

"I think 'Dancing with the Stars' is this generation's version of 'American Bandstand,'" Book-Atyeo said. "It's just kind of a newer, hipper version of it."

"American Bandstand" aired from 1952 until 1989. It featured teenagers dancing to Top 40 music and performances by popular musical acts ranging from rock to rap.

"I loved watching it. I thought it was fun," Book-Atyeo said. "I'm just barely old enough to have gotten to watch it."

The concept Book-Atyeo submitted for the contest was a melding of two of "American Bandstand's" most popular segments, the "Rate-a-Record" portion of the show and the "Spotlight Dance."

"You have to describe everything you want them to do, the props you want them to use, the wardrobe you want the dancers to be in," she explained. "You have to basically describe the whole thing."

Voting for the contest began Tuesday and ends at 10 p.m. (Pacific Time) on Thursday, Nov. 4. All voting is done on-line at the "Dancing with the Stars" homepage, which can be reached by visiting

If she wins, Book-Atyeo's concept will be performed during the Tuesday, Nov. 16 show.

As if that wasn't wonderful enough, she'll be flown out to Los Angeles, California to watch her concept come to life as the professionals dance the Cha Cha to Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me."

She'll find out if she's won on Friday, Nov. 5. Look for a follow-up in the Leader.

Book-Atyeo's been watching "Dancing with the Stars" since the popular show debuted in June 2005.

"I watch the show all the time," she said. "I think it's fun to watch people who don't know how to dance get taught how to. It's just kind of funny watching celebrities not know how to do anything, then learn."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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