Rhinestones and Painted Faces: Dancing Stars Look the Part

Gyrating hips and fancy footwork may be the key to a judge's heart on "Dancing With the Stars," but it certainly never hurts to look the part.

The long hours of grueling dance practices ensure that image is not everything for the competitors, but as the celebrities and their professional dance partners take to the stage each Monday night their graceful costumes and flawless makeup are hard to miss.

The process of deciding on the correct outfit and then getting it ready for showtime is an arduous one for those behind the scenes. In the opening week, the costume team has just six days to ensure that 46 custom-built outfits were ready to rock and roll.

While the number of outfits required does decrease week by week, that only heightens the amount of attention each one garners.

"It's incredibly stressful not only getting a ballroom-quality product on the floor but then watching the show and hope it all goes smoothly," said costume supervisor Kirstin Gallo.

For Designers, a Hectic Weekly Countdown to the Show

The week for those who create these elaborate wardrobes begins on a Tuesday. Contestants get their music on Tuesday, and, after finishing the rehearsals, they take the elevator up to the second floor and discuss wardrobe concepts and inspiration with Gallo and costume designer Randall Christensen.

After deciding on costumes, Gallo puts in the weekly order for rhinestones, the flashy diamond simulant made from glass or acrylic that helped Cheryl Burke and her partner Ian Ziering sparkle their way to another impressive performance last week.

"We have more than 200,000 rhinestones flown from our supplier in New York over to Los Angeles every season," said Gallo. "Making over 100 dresses a month is not easy, especially given that many of the rhinestones are applied by hand."

On Wednesday and Thursday, the costumes are built, with the first fitting taking place on Friday. Saturday sees the rhinestones added while on Sunday final alterations are made and a rehearsal takes place to check the fit.

Hours before it's time to perform on Monday the microphone pads are sown in and a final rehearsal takes place.

Hoping for No Accidents

Even the long hours and meticulous preparation can't prevent some near-accidents. Gallo could only watch in horror last season when Monique Coleman caught her heel on the back of her dress.

Thankfully, such incidents are few and far between, though there was one particular occasion when it looked like one contestant was going to have to dance in jeans and a T-shirt.

"At 12 a.m. the night before one show we had finished fixing the Swarovski crystals to a dress when they all suddenly fell off," Gallo told ABC News.

"What had happened was the place where we bought the glue had changed their formulation, but as it was the middle of the night our costume designer and I had to find a 24-hour drugstore and buy more glue," said Gallo, who can now smile about the incident. "By showtime I'd been up 40 hours straight, but it was all worth it."

Going Extreme With the Makeup

With high definition television showing every detail and highlighting every flaw, good makeup and hair is more important than ever for contestants.

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