October 05, 2015 07:00 PM

Alexa and Carlos PenaVega are the first married contestants ever to compete on Dancing with the Stars, and they are chronicling their experiences on the show’s 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Alexa and Carlos on Twitter!

Carlos’ Take

Last week was in intense live show.

We had no idea that Mrs. Kim [Zolciak-Biermann] was not going to be there until we saw her on Skype on the show. [Her partner] Tony Dovolani went through the whole day hoping that she was getting on a plane, but nobody really knew what was going on.

Carlos PenaVega and Witney Carson of Dancing with the Stars
Craig Sjodin/ABC

It was hard to see her go that way. We are all going through this together. We put in the work and leave our blood, sweat, and tears on that dance floor. I know that Mrs. Kim was working hard and really wanted to be there. I probably would have given her another chance but rules are rules and it was really sad to see her leave.

We were also kind of taken aback when [host] Tom Bergeron announced there was going to still be a final two. I had thought, “If Mrs. Kim was forfeited, then nobody is going home. Right?” I looked around at the other contestants and everyone’s face was just as shocked as mine. But it was such a relief that no one else was actually eliminated.

That all being said, I felt great about getting through my dance with [my partner], newly engaged pro Witney Carson. We got good feedback, but Carrie Ann [Innaba] hasn’t been too happy with me the past two weeks. But I’m just using that to push myself to work harder going forward.

This week, the theme is My Most Memorable Year. Most weeks, we decide what the best story to tell is and then we choose a song. But this week I worked backwards. I knew I wanted to do an a capella gospel song and Witney and I eventually decided “Amazing Grace” would be the perfect one. I knew we had made the right decision when the band performed it for us for the first time. I had chills.

We are dancing a Viennese waltz this week and up until last Tuesday, I had never even heard of that dance. But we’ve been working really hard and I’m just hoping we can impress Carrie Ann!

Alexa PenaVega and Mark Ballas of Dancing with the Stars
Craig Sjodin/ABC

Alexa’s Take

I felt awesome about last week.

It was great that we got to be so creative with the piece. My partner Mark Ballas is basically the Johnny Depp of dancing and he created a really cool, creative piece that I’m really proud of.

But I have mixed feelings about the judge’s feedback. They were really responsive to the dance and I was happy about that but guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro made a comment that didn t sit well with me. It actually hurt my heart.

To move past that, I really had to think back to what Mark told me very early on: “You just have to work your hardest and have fun while your doing it because art is not a debatable subject. It is all a subject of taste.”

I’m eager to learn and grow from specific feedback about my technique and performance, but anything else I just have to let go in one ear and out the other and not take it personally.

This week, we have the foxtrot, which is our first actual ballroom dance. It’s been an adjustment getting into the more rigid ballroom style after a week of working on a jazz routine, but Mark basically just dragged me through it until I got my head wrapped around it.

In rehearsal, there were times I had no idea what my feet were doing but they just keep moving with his.

We’re dancing to the oldie’s hit “Mama Said” because it reminds me of my most memorable year, which was when my family moved to Austin for me to shoot Spy Kids. I have these amazing memories of my sisters and I going out and finding bugs together and my mom would be blasting this song.

I loved that time we had together and the song reminds me so much of family, which is so important to Carlos and I.

More than anything this week, I want to show the viewers that I want this and I’m willing to put in the work. To be honest, for the first time I actually feel like I might be able to take home that mirror ball trophy. And I plan on working really hard to make that happen.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.

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