“I’m so glad I put on pants!” he told PEOPLE, moments after taking the stage live for the ABC reality dance competition’s Vegas week.
But out on the ballroom floor, Ross embraced his sexy side during a Magic Mike-themed performance. He got rave reviews from the judges but the former MLB star said that as a 40-year-old father of three, he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to pull it off — and his partner Lindsay Arnold confessed she was feeling the same way.
“It was definitely hard in the beginning,” Arnold said. “When I heard we had this song, I was honestly a bit terrified because I wanted to make David feel comfortable. He is a family guy with a wife and kids at home and I didn’t want him to do anything that made him or them uncomfortable.”
But she worked with her partner on the concept that “confidence is sexy.”
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“[Lindsay] gave me a lot of confidence. Her coaching really brought me outside of my shell – way outside of my shell,” said Ross, who did wear a bodysuit with muscles painted on it instead of barring his actual abs. “I learned that I maybe have a little inner stripper that came out – an inner Magic Mike.”
Ross has never seen Magic Mike but got a little help from the dancer in the Magic Mike live show in Las Vegas.
“The guys in Vegas helped me out with a ton of confidence,” said Ross. “I think it worked because I don’t take myself too seriously. If you take yourself too seriously, you’re missing out on the fun of life. I had so much fun out there tonight and that shocks me. If you asked me that at the beginning of the week, I never would have thought I’d be saying that. It’s a memory that I’ll keep for the rest of my life.”
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (at 8 p.m. ET) on ABC.