The actor blogs exclusively for PEOPLE

By Carlos PenaVega
Updated November 16, 2015 06:00 PM
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Carlos PenaVega is chronicling his experiences on

Dancing with the Stars‘ 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Carlos on Twitter!

Saying Goodbye to My Wife

Last Monday was brutal. I knew from day one that Alexa and I might not make it to the finals together – and that when that happened it would be rough – but I just wasn’t expecting it to be last week.

In my head, it was going to maybe happen this week. So, I had been mentally preparing for that. Lex had such a great night on Monday and really let herself be vulnerable. I was so happy for her, and all that came crashing down when we were put in jeopardy next to each other.

It had been a tough week for us leading up to that night since we’d been apart while we rehearsed our team routines, so our emotions were running high already. Then, to be honest, I thought there was no way Tamar Braxton was going to make it back from the hospital in time to compete. It just completely threw me that all of a sudden one of us would be going home.

Every week, the person eliminated flies to New York City after the show to do press. From the very beginning, I told Lex that if she was eliminated first, I would fly there with her for support. We got on a plane that night and spent, like, 12 hours in the city before I got back and had to dive right into rehearsal.

Tamar Quits the Show

My heart goes out to Tamar for having to quit the show [because she was diagnosed with blood clots in her lungs], but it is tough knowing that Lex could still be in this competition with me if Tamar had quit before the end of Monday’s show.

Aside from that, it also means that there are only four couples left now and the producers had to figure out how to fill that extra time on the show. So on Thursday, they called us in and told us that in addition to the two dances my partner Witney Carson and I were already preparing, we now have to do a cha-cha dance-off against Alek Skarlatos.

Talk about insanity.

Fighting for Our Contemporary Routine

Because I went to New York with Lex, I missed a day of rehearsal. But I have to say, I think I may be headed for my best week yet.

Witney and I have been talking about our contemporary dance since day one. Witney had this great concept that involved this giant cube and a rope. We were really excited about it but then we were told it wasn’t possible to do on the live show.

We let go of the idea of using the cube, but Wednesday Witney and I went in and really fought to use the rope and they eventually figured out a way for us do it.

I’m really glad we’re getting to do Witney’s vision, but working with the rope has been way harder than we anticipated. It worked perfectly the first time we went through the routine, but after that it was causing a lot of stress.

That’s actually quite appropriate for theme of the dance, though. We are dancing to One Direction‘s “Drag Me Down” and the rope represents that there is always a way out no matter how bad things get. I really appreciate that message.

Rehearsing with Karina Smirnoff

For our trio dance, Witney and I are doing a Charleston with pro dancer Karina Smirnoff.

After spending last week with Karina, I can honestly say that if I hadn’t been partnered with Witney, she is the person I would have loved to have been paired with.

I mean, she’s crazy, but she is so much fun and has a great way of explaining things to me in a way that I really understand.

My gut is telling me that if we can pull of a flawless performance, this may be my best dance of the season so far. That said, Witney put together a really difficult routine, so I’m hoping we’ve prepared enough.

Facing Off Against Alek

Being told on Thursday that we had to prepare for a dance-off threw everyone for a loop. We had been planning to focus on just two dances, so finding time to rehearse a third wasn’t easy.

By Friday night, we hadn’t even touched the cha-cha. But it did make me feel better after I ran into Alek’s partner Lindsay Arnold that night, and she said they hadn’t had time to rehearse their it yet either.

Witney and I definitely focused a lot more on the other two dances, but the three points that we will get for winning the dance-off could be the difference between going home next week or making it to the finale. That is a lot of pressure.

Looking Towards the Finish Line

The producers still haven’t let us know if anyone will be eliminated at the end of Monday’s show.

But they have told us that if someone is sent home, the final three will have to learn an extra dance next week, too.

That is a lot of pressure, but this has never been about winning for me. Lex and I decided to sign on for this season so we could go on an adventure together and spread our message of love to our fans.

But I will admit that doing this with my wife added to the fear I had before every live show. Every week I was terrified that I was going to get eliminated and my wife would be continuing in the competition while I was stuck at home.

That fear is gone now. I feel like I have no more reservations and the only thing I have left to do is win this for me, for Witney and also for my wife. I want that Mirrorball Trophy now more than ever.

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Dancing with the Stars

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