Alexa and Carlos PenaVega are the first married contestants ever to compete on Dancing with the Stars, and they are chronicling their experiences on the show’s 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Alexa and Carlos on Twitter!
I felt really good coming out of last week’s show. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and found the boldness and confidence that I’d been striving for. It was awesome to hear the judges say they saw a different side of me. It was really the first time I wasn’t caught up in fear.
I’ve also been seeing a big change physically. And that’s good because I’ve been eating the worst food. I normally eat really healthily, but we’ve been so busy rehearsing and it is so easy to grab pizza and candy. I’m dancing so much that I wasn’t gaining any weight, but I was way more tired because of what I was eating. Now, I’m bringing my proteins or even full meals with me to rehearsal and it’s making a big difference. I’ve feeling less tired and more prepared mentally and physically, which is good because this week we’ve had to learn four different dances.
My partner Mark Ballas and I will definitely be doing an Argentine tango to “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. It’s an exciting routine with an epic feel to it. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it, which I hope comes through because if we don’t get immunity from the judges with that dance, we’ll have to participate in a dance-off with the other contestants where we’ll have to dance either a cha cha, a jive or a samba.
When I first learned about the dance-off, I thought I’d most want to have to dance the jive if it comes down to it. That was the first dance we did on the show so it’s the one we spent the most time learning. But now that I’ve learned the samba, I am feeling really confident about that one. Some of the other contestants say the samba is scary, but I feel that it came very naturally to me.
I hope Mark and I don’t have to participate in the dance-off at all, but if we do, I don’t feel uneasy about it. I don’t know if I’ll be great at the dances, but there’s no longer this uneasiness and self-doubt that I had previously.
I will say that I told Carlos he better not pick me in the dance-off if it comes to that. I told him, “Don’t you dare challenge me!” But I don’t think he wants to pick me because then that means one of us has to lose against the other. We don’t want to do that to each other.
This week has been freaking nuts. I’m the most tired I’ve ever been. On Halloween, Alexa and I spent the day rehearsing and then we just went to a spa at night.
My partner Witney Carson and I went last in the lineup last week, and that made me extremely nervous, but we are coming off a string of good weeks and we’re hoping to keep that going.
We get to highlight our icons this week, and I chose Marc Anthony. Witney and I actually got to go out to see him perform in Phoenix last week, and it was great. We have been friends for a few years, and Marc was pivotal in my decision to actually try for a solo career. I hadn’t had any interest in it, but then I saw him perform and he made me really want to tap back into my roots. I grew up very Americanized, but I’ve re-taught myself Spanish and am writing songs in the language now.
Marc talked to me about my nerves and reminded me that I just have to do all the preparation before I step out on that stage and then just let everything go. If something goes wrong, who cares? I just need to be confident that I did as much as I could to prepare.
And there has been a lot to prepare for this week. Witney and I are definitely dancing a salsa to Marc Anthony’s “Valié la Pena,” but then we may have to do some other dances in the dance-off.
If I do have to pick someone to dance against, I honestly have no idea who I am going to choose. It’s crazy. I don’t even want to think about it. I just really hope I’m not even put in that position.
Witney and I are doing some pretty intense lifts in our salsa, and I really don’t want to risk her getting hurt, but I also hope it goes well so that we just get immunity and can watch the dance-off from the safety of the sky box.
RELATED VIDEO: Marc Anthony Gives Carlos PenaVega Salsa Advice – ‘It’s in Your Blood, Bro!’
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.