Making Costumes for 'Dancing With the Stars'

The rehearsals are grueling, the pressure is intense and the excitement is definitely mounting as tonight one more couple will be voted off "Dancing With the Stars."

But long before any judging, every contestant has one of the most important parts of this contest all "sewn" up.

"Dancing" host Tom Bergeron gave "Good Morning America" an exclusive backstage look at the dazzling costume-making process that helps each of the stars shine on the dance floor.

"Look, if you want to look pretty you have to suffer," said professional ballroom dancer Edyta Sliwinska, who is known for her stunning, barely there costumes.

The process starts immediately after the results show with Emmy-winning costume designer Randall Christensen.


"They just got their music and dance assignments for next week. They have been trying to get the colors locked in. To get the first talks of color, first talks of styles, it's pretty intense at the moment," Christensen said, describing the after-the-show frenzy when he first sits down to sketch.

"They do not want to have any concepts at all till they get the music," he said, so Christensen gets just a few days in front of him to turn the dancers' concepts into real clothing.

To make sure their song, dance, style and look all coordinate, the stars and professional partners meet with him for a little costume consultation.

He says stars sometimes have unrealistic ideas about their own body types, about what they can wear and what they can't wear. And that's where diplomacy comes in.

"Diplomacy, not only with them, but also with the professional partner who also is trying to diplomatically cover up some of their flawed areas," Christensen said.

The day after every "Dancing" broadcast, the designers race against time to buy fabrics for the following week's costumes and to embark on a rapid-fire shopping spree.

By the end of the season, 1½ million rhinestones will have been used. Each costume can cost between $3,000 and $5,000 and may only be performed in once.