But leading up to their tango and jive performances, the TV host feared she’d be far from flawless.
“I had a little bit of a breakdown,” Menounos, 33, told PEOPLE backstage after Monday night’s show, of recent practices with Hough. “It wasn’t coming together. Like I just wasn’t getting it. We rehearsed 12 hours yesterday because it just wasn’t working. I was so scared.”
More than anything else, Menounos didn’t want to let her parents down.
“I kept saying to [Derek], ‘I see my mom every day and every week, and they’re cheering, and they’re so proud and they’re so happy,’ ” she explains, “And to end it on a bad note because I just couldn’t get it and have it be embarrassing would just kill me. It would crush me.”
Tying with William Levy and Cheryl Burke for the top scoring couples out of the four remaining in the competition, Menounos has no regrets moving forward.
“I’m happy [with] what happens from here,” she says. “Whether Wednesday I’m soaking in my pool at home or back at rehearsal hall, I am good. I am just thankful [Derek] hung in there with me because he was in a lot of pain yesterday and he went the distance