Craig Sjodin/ABC
Michele Stueven
November 17, 2013 11:30 AM

He’s outdanced and outlasted competitors with perfect scores and dancing experience, so what is it about comedian Bill Engvall that has landed him in the semifinals of Dancing with the Stars?

“I try twice as hard as anybody because I’m twice the age of some of these people,” Engvall, 56, told PEOPLE during a recent rehearsal with partner Emma Slater.

“It takes me a little bit longer to get the steps, so I’m willing to put in that extra effort. But more than anything the fans have kept us here. I’ve got the most wonderful group of fans that – for whatever reason – decided that I’m the guy they want to move on. America loves to watch people growing and getting better.”

So who are these people?

“I just think they are everyday Americans who work hard and try to put a roof over their families heads,” says the Blue Collar Comedy star, who’s consistently at the bottom of the leader board. “They go to work, they pay their taxes. Just your everyday guy and girl. And that’s who I am.”

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“If you lived next door to me and didn’t know what I did, you wouldn’t know I was a celebrity. I don’t have that lifestyle nor do I want that lifestyle,” he continues. “I want to know that I can have a separate life with my wife and my kids and just be normal and go camping and fishing and outdoor stuff. I think that’s who my fans are.”

And the key to Engvall’s success just may be his perspective. “I’ve never said I was the best dancer and I never said I was a good dancer,” he explains. “Don’t forget this is not a dance competition. If it was, I would not be here.” Be among the first to know who will be crowned PEOPLE s Sexiest Man Alive this year! Sign up below for our daily newsletter to find out about sexy celebs and other special offers.

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