Kelly Monaco has some advice for the latest crop of celebs waltzing into the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom.
The soap star and first-season champion recently told The Associated Press on the set of ABC’s “General Hospital” that she thinks the sixth-season participants should “put ‘Extra’ and ‘TMZ’ ... aside. They’re there to have fun and learn how to dance. It should be something really personal.”
Monaco, who’s played Sam McCall on “General Hospital” since 2003, won the first season of the competition in 2005 — and remains the show’s only female champion. The voting process relies on both viewers and judges.
She lost to runner-up John O’Hurley during a 90-minute “dance-off” rematch that was determined solely by viewer votes.
“I’m just happy I did it when I did it,” Monaco said. “Back then, I think there was some innocence in the process. It wasn’t too skewed or manipulated. The downside now is that contestants are going in with this scheme of what the show can and can’t do to build a career. I’m glad I wasn’t part of that chaos.”
Monaco isn’t sure if she’d return to the “Dancing With the Stars” ballroom for an all-stars season.
“I don’t know,” she said. “It was really, really, really tough when I did it. I’d have to only be working one job at a time, but I would entertain it.”
Celebrities competing for the mirrorball prize this season, which premiered Monday night, include Penn Jillette, Monica Seles, Steve Guttenberg, Priscilla Presley and Marissa Jaret Winokur.