Tiger Woods’ ex-mistress Rachel Uchitel is temporarily trading in her Prada stilettos for ballroom dancing shoes.
Uchitel, who recently moved from New York City to Las Vegas to put the Tiger scandal behind her, has been training at a local dance studio for six weeks, reportedly for a spot on ABC’s ratings giant “Dancing With the Stars.”
Tony Delgado, who owns Delgado Dance Studios with his wife, Dana, confirmed Wednesday that he has been instructing Uchitel. But he tap-danced around the main question: if and when Uchitel had a date on the ABC show.
“I can’t confirm that,” said Delgado, who has worked with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and headliners Penn Jillette and Holly Madison before their participation on “DWTS.”
Delgado said Uchitel was referred to him by Mario Lopez, who played a teen on “Saved By the Bell” and was the runner-up in the third season of “DWTS” with Cheryl Burke. Lopez now hosts “Extra,” the syndicated TV entertainment show.
It has previously been reported that Uchitel, 35, will be working for “Extra” on entertainment assignments, including Las Vegas events. She worked in TV broadcasting for a few years right after graduating from college.
Delgado said Uchitel gave him permission to be interviewed, but he declined to field any questions about her relationship with Woods.
The surprise, said Delgado, was that Uchitel “was quite different than how she’s been portrayed in the tabloids. She’s normal and down to earth.”
Uchitel has been concentrating on the salsa, said Delgado. “She’s really passionate about dancing,” he said. They have an understanding, he said. “I told her I don’t want this to be a publicity thing,” for either party. “I told her she had to take me serious or I’d have given her to another instructor,” he said. “She’s very dedicated.”
She’s also taking guitar lessons and fitness classes, he said.
Early on, nonstop calls to her cell phone became an issue before he told her to leave it in the car. She’s met at her home almost daily by a passel of paparazzi, he said.
In an April issue of New York Magazine, Uchitel said her fame has brought numerous career opportunities. Among them: an offer of partial ownership in a club on the East Coast and an invitation to host a radio show at the Masters, “which obviously I said no to.”
A source told the magazine that Uchitel was probably the highest-paid VIP host in the country during her stint in Las Vegas. During the interview (which can be read at www.nymag.com), which took place in March at Julian Serrano restaurant at Aria, Uchitel said she earned $250,000 a year in base salary, plus a guaranteed $250,000 from the tip pool. She would not confirm where she was employed, although it’s well-known she worked at Tao when it opened in 2005.
She lives at tony Turnberry Place, where she purchased a ground-floor condo for $820,000 in 2006.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Rumblings continue that Neil Diamond has a deal with Caesars Palace. He was in town late last month and attended Lionel Richie’s concert at the Colosseum and Garth Brooks’ show at Wynn Las Vegas.
Carrie Underwood, celebrating her big night at SW Steakhouse (Wynn) with friends and family and a pooch on her lap. Earlier at the Academy of Country Music Awards, she was the first woman to win the academy’s entertainer of the year award twice. In her group: her mother, two sisters, her manager Simon Fuller, creator of the “Idol” franchise; Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer for “So You Think Can Dance” and Alicia Jacobs, KVBC-TV entertainment reporter.
THE PUNCH LINE
“The name of the volcano is Eyjafjallajökull. It’s the scariest thing out of Iceland since Björk in that swan outfit.” — David Letterman
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more online at www.normclarke.com.