Lisette Bustamante began her entertainment career straight out of high school, and in the years since she’s worn a number of professional hats, including dancer, choreographer, artistic director, music video director and movement coach. She’s danced alongside superstars such as Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and Usher on stages all over the globe, and has choreographed for Pink, Prince, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. She’s been featured in commercials for Gap, Pepsi, Pringles, iPod and Sprite, and has choreographed for film and television, with credits including supervising choreographer on America’s Best Dance Crew. Four years ago, Bustamante and her longtime choreography partner established Creating Opportunities, a mentoring company that offers classes, seminars and other programs for young dancers, singers and choreographers.
Bustamante's combined experience in the performing arts and mentoring were a natural fit for Showville and she jumped at the opportunity to be a mentor on the series. "I love meeting people and I was very excited about the prospect of working with a lot of different people. It's so much fun to work with raw talent and help someone express who they truly are," she says. "Also, I love to travel; I travel all the time for work and I've been to a lot of small towns. But I had never, ever traveled to a place like Hugo, Oklahoma, with a population of 5,000. To be able to see the United States in a very local way and get to know the people of these towns – that's a very special experience."
How special? In each of the eight towns, Bustamante and her fellow coach Alec Mapa took a "field trip" to a highly specific point of interest. From Holland to Hugo, San Marcos to Kingston, there were plenty of firsts among the scheduled activities. "Alec and I had so much fun. We did it all," she recalls. "Things that I would never even think of putting on my bucket list, I've done now."
The priority, of course, was coaching the four finalists for the big night. The coaches had a total of two hours with each contestant over the course of two days. "It's a challenge," Bustamante allows. "We’ve got to take their show from the level they're used to performing at, and bring them up a lot of notches so they can have an amazing show for the town and hopefully win $10,000. So you can't waste time. But, wow, you can get a lot done in a couple of hours. Because the people are so excited, they want to work, they want to be amazing. They're going to put everything on the line, in front of their whole town. It's their moment to shine."