Karina Smirnoff is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 13 with J.R. Martinez. The longtime competitor is blogging for PEOPLE about competing with former High School Musical star Corbin Bleu in season 17.
Corbin and I are really, really excited about this week’s dance, the paso doble. It’s one of my favorites because it’s passionate and spicy, full of male-female interaction.
Our song is amazing, but the dance is kind of impossible to count. It’s really challenging because we have to dance to the melody of the music.
We’ve been working harder this week than any other week before. We get five hours of practice a day, but this week there were no breaks. There’s no room for error. The paso doble is a guy’s dance so Corbin has to be in full control. (Up to the point I slap him. See the video below).
Right up until the moment we got onstage to dance, he kept going over the steps and messing up. I was secretly dying inside, but I didn’t want to start panicking and have him lose it completely. Once the lights and the music came on, the performer came right out of him.
Last week I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I caught the flu that was going around the cast. On Monday, my fever was out of control and I had to leave early from dress rehearsal. Of course, no matter how much I tried to give Corbin vitamin C and immune support, I passed it on to him.
The body is starting to wear. Everyone has either minor or more serious injuries and we’re exhausted. But we’re working our butts off.
I think we’re frontrunners overall, but we’re not taking anything for granted. I couldn’t be prouder of Corbin.