Adam Taylor/ABC
March 27, 2012 09:00 AM

Contestants have been known to strongly disagree with judges’ scores on Dancing with the Stars – and Karina Smirnoff’s partner Gavin DeGraw is now one of them.

But unlike other ballroom disputes, DeGraw, 35, believes his marks on Monday night were too high.

“We deserved lower scores,” the singer-songwriter told PEOPLE backstage after he and Smirnoff scored 21 points out of 30 for their jive.

Head judge Len Goodman awarded just five points to Gladys Knight and partner Tristan McManus – which is the lowest score so far this season.

“I was surprised we weren’t the ones to get that,” DeGraw said. “I think we were over-scored. I think I did better in rehearsal, quite a bit better.”

Keeping her chin up, Smirnoff justified the duo’s numbers, saying, “I think there are moments where Gavin did better in rehearsal, but he put more character and charisma into the dance tonight than he did in rehearsal.”

But Smirnoff and DeGraw, who ended up in the bottom four at the end of the night, didn’t let their scores get the best of them.

The pair were upbeat as they stepped out after the show in support of DWTS pro Kym Johnson, who hosted a night of music and cocktails at Mixology 101 inside The Farmer’s Market in L.A. Most of the cast members popped in to mingle and sip on beverages, including The White Johnson, named after the event’s host.

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