Madonna’s Early Punctuality Rule: A $100 Penalty for Every Minute Late, Says Carrie Ann Inaba

‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge shares memories of touring with the iconic singer


Carrie Ann Inaba, a familiar face from “Dancing with the Stars,” recently shared some fascinating insights into her early career, including a memorable tour experience with none other than Madonna, the “Material Girl” herself. During her appearance on The Jennifer Hudson Show, Inaba revealed a unique and strict rule set by Madonna during their time on tour.

The 55-year-old judge reminisced about her touring days with the pop sensation, who, as it turns out, is incredibly punctual. “Back in the day, she was very strict,” Inaba told host Jennifer Hudson. “She gave us this one rule, which I’m so grateful she did. It was, for every minute you’re late, you have to pay her $100 out of your paycheck.”

As the conversation about punctuality and fines unfolded, Jennifer Hudson playfully confessed, “I ain’t going to lie, I’d be broke because I’m always late.” In contrast, Inaba proudly asserted, “I’m never late.”


Inaba continued, revealing her tendency to arrive early, sometimes to an extent that it results in extra free time before appointments. She joked, “I’m always early, in fact so much so, that I waste half my day … showing up too early.” While the financial penalty for tardiness may sound strict, Inaba expressed her gratitude for the rule.

Despite the strict timing and financial consequences, Inaba described working with Madonna as a dream come true. She highlighted Madonna’s status at the time, comparing her to legendary artists such as Michael Jackson and Prince. “There was, like, Michael [Jackson], Prince and Madonna at the time. Right?” Inaba said. “I got on Madonna’s tour, and I was like, ‘That’s all I need!’ ”

After her tour experience with Madonna, Inaba humorously stated that she “retired” from dancing and returned to school. The world-famous “Celebration Tour” marked Madonna’s most recent concert outing, featuring an electrifying two-hour set and more than 40 of her greatest hits.

Madonna opened the tour at London’s O2 Arena, delivering an unforgettable performance. The tour includes multiple costume changes, topless dancers, and aerial stunts, promising a spectacular experience for fans.

This world tour, which spans 78 shows, will take Madonna from Europe to North America, concluding in New York City in April 2024. When the “Celebration Tour” was initially announced in January, Madonna expressed her excitement, stating, “I am excited to explore as many songs as possible in hopes to give my fans the show they have been waiting for.”