"Dancing with the Stars": Brooke Burke-Charvet on the "terror" of competition

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 21: Brooke Burke-Charvet attends Brooke Burke-Charvet's "My Claritin Clear Challenge" Video Screening at the Hudson Hotel on March 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage) John Lamparski

Each week, Brooke Burke-Charvet gets up and close and personal with all of the contenders on "Dancing with the Stars," so she knows a thing or two about the inner-workings of the series.

And with the competition heating up, the "DWTS" co-host and mirror ball trophy winner opened up to CBSNews.com about the current season. The mother-of-four, who recently overcame a thyroid cancer scare, also talked about her commitment to living a healthy lifestyle.

On new "DWTS" contestants: "I like the group. Casting is such an important part of the success of the show. I'm excited to see some underdogs. I'm excited to see people with no dance experience really grow and become great dancers and so far so good."

The best part of "DWTS": I love live television. I think having competed, I have a sense of emotionally what everyone's going through. I like new faces...it's just interesting to see people become vulnerable and step out of their comfort zone and try something new.

The hardest part of "DWTS": Terror and fear. Just being so completely out of your zone. I think being in the celeb aquarium and the skybox, for me, I really have a lot of compassion when somebody doesn't want to speak to me, or when they just worked their butt off and got criticized by the judges. Or when their adrenaline is so high and they can't even hear my questions. So that's a little bit tricky. And it's live live, so anything goes.

On what viewers don't see: There's never enough time -- because it's live -- for everybody to see how much prep is still taking place the minute before they step out there on the dance floor...They're all there trying to cram in one more run of the routine. That's always amazing. And I remember doing it myself.

On how the season will shake out: I don't know yet. It was kind of an interesting Monday night [March 18] because we added contemporary dance to the competition, which we've never done before, so we had some ballroom, we had some contemporary. Hard to tell.

On who she wants on the show: I think Richard Simmons would be hilarious. I would love to see Suzanne Somers. I'd kind of like to see Oscar de la Hoya.

On living a healthy lifestyle: I eat healthy. I work out. I try to teach my kids healthy habits. I try to lead by example. I feel better when I'm fit. I love to cook. It's pretty easy when you're making the right choices. I do it for my family. I do it for myself.

On her partnership with Claritin and the Claritin Challenge: I've been an allergy sufferer for a long time. I live in Malibu. The spring season is really tough -- the pollen, the flowers are blooming...and it's also a time when I go back to my TV season, so it's kind of a double-whammy there. And I can't have watery, itchy eyes...We just teamed up. We did a short film. I got to work with my kids [in a new Claritin short film]. I can't be sneezing on TV and I can't be wiping my makeup off.

On her kids appearing in the Claritin short film: It's a fun little scene. They got to tease me a little bit. They got to make these disgusting sandwiches for me that they made me eat. And I had to eat them over and over and over for each take. And they all had a line -- and they hit it. I didn't know what was going to happen. I don't normally get to work with my children. But it was very cute.

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