Apolo Ohno is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 4 with Julianne Hough. The ice-skating Olympian will now be blogging for PEOPLE.com about competing with Karina Smirnoff in the all-star season.
I was nervous during Tuesday’s elimination. I’m standing there next to Sabrina [Bryan], thinking about how she also had a perfect score and she’s the overall highest scorer. She’s just been so incredible. You never know who is going to go home.
When Sabrina was eliminated, it was tough. No one really knows what to say, and especially to someone who is such an incredible dancer. You never want to see anybody go home.
But I would have been happy with either outcome for Karina [Smirnoff] and me. I was really proud to have danced the encore that night, but also dance a routine that I thought was amazing. It was very special. It meant a lot more for me that night than any other night. And it worked out in my favor!
I was going for the perfect 30 on Monday, but I didn’t know if we were going to get it or not. It was at a time in the season where I needed that. I really felt like Karina and I were at the point where it was a slippery slope, and I could be going down the wrong path – the path that is not to the finals. It was a big win for me, internally. It gave me the confidence and the momentum that I need now to take this thing all the way.
I told Karina that night that no matter what happens, if we make to the following week, let’s take every single dance for the rest of the competition and treat it like it’s our very last of the whole season. I know that if I’m able to do that and do it successfully, I will make it all the way to finals. And obviously I’ll try to leave a little left in the tank for that.
The judges decided to change it up on us this week and give us a little fusion dance, which is a combination of the cha cha and the paso doble, which are totally different. The cha cha is fun and “let’s party,” while the paso doble is a really aggressive, proud – almost angry – but a powerful and strong dance. It’s one of my favorites. Karina’s been bringing out some seriously ridiculous choreography. The song we have is amazing. It’s Usher’s “Scream.” And our wardrobe halfway through gets pretty interesting.
I think Karina and I are stronger than ever. At the end of the day, I want to give my best to this thing. I know if I can do that, there’s nothing I can be ashamed of and I can hold my head high. I’ve got to give my all on the dance floor, and to my relationship with my dance partner. I’ve got to try to mend things when I don’t always want to. I have to bend and turn and curve a lot more than I’m used to, but it works.