Peta Murgatroyd is back in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom just months after welcoming son Shai with fiancé Maksim Chmerkovskiy in January — and she’s blogging about her experience exclusively for PEOPLE. Follow Murgatroyd, 30, and her partner, The Bachelor star Nick Viall, 37, on Twitter!
I’ll admit that we were a little scared going into last week.
It was Disney Week and we had Pinocchio and we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to pull off the character. It’s not one that everyone could do well. But I think Nick committed to it 150 percent and that really showed. He seemed confident and enthusiastic about it and that paid off with the judges’ scores.
This week we have our couple’s routine and a group routine with all the male stars.
It’s a little stressful having two routines. You have to remember double the choreography, but Nick is handling it really well. I think we’ve structured out the group dance really well so everyone gets a little piece of the limelight, and I think that the boys are going to kill it. The girls’ group has the technically better dancers, but we have the personality and entertainment factor. We’re going to give them a run for their money.
It’s also been great for all the guys to be working together. They all bonded immediately in our first rehearsal, which went until midnight Monday night! Nick was laughing and showing off his ’90s dance moves because we’ve got a boy band medley. They’re all awesome guys, and it’s nice to see them working together as a team.
And there’s another guy I’m trying to look out for this week: Maks. He’s coming back after sitting out a few weeks because of an injury. He just wants to be back and be 100 percent. I just want to be there for him and be positive and support him. I know he wants to go 150 percent, but I’m telling him to ease back into it and not go crazy in this first dance because you don’t want to re-injure yourself.
But I’m certainly not taking things easy this week. For our routine as a couple, Nick and I are doing a jive, which is so energetic and fast. And I haven’t given him an easy jive, either. I know it’s a hard week with two dances but I am not going to choreograph something too simple.
We are at a bit of a disadvantage because Nick is a tall guy. Tall guys have more work to do because they have long legs, which means they have to really, really focus on making sure their kicks and flicks are fast and sharp. It’s very easy for a tall guy to look sloppy. But Nick is working really hard and I think it’s going really well.
As hard as the jive may be for Nick, it’s also been hard for me. Doing it for five hours straight is kicking my butt. At the beginning of the season I thought I’d be back at my pre-baby weight after a month but now that milestone has come and went and I’m still not at my normal weight. I feel good, though — so much more energy that I had at the beginning of the season — so I’m hoping maybe I’ll be there in another month!
Right now, all my focus is on making sure Nick and I keep up the positive momentum we’ve been building the last few weeks.
At the beginning of the season, you kind of know the first three couples that will go home. But now Nick is among some professional athletes and incredible dancers, so the pressure is on. It’s not going to be easy, but I think he has what it takes to make it to the finals. We just have to maintain our progress and keep getting better and better!
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.