The DWTS pro blogs exclusively for PEOPLE

By Karina Smirnoff
Updated March 28, 2016 05:00 PM
Credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin

brightcove.createExperiences(); Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition’s 22nd season exclusively for Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

After we finished our foxtrot last week, Doug and I were ready to celebrate! He’d been nervous about the first live show, but we’d made it through and I thought he’d done a fantastic job – until we saw the scores.

Getting 5s across the board really brought us down. We thought since we went third that maybe that would be good in comparison, but it left us towards the bottom of the leader board.

But Doug is a fighter and used to being an underdog, so we went into this week’s rehearsals ready to attack the new routine hard. And I really feel like Doug has had a breakthrough.

It’s Latin night and we’re doing the a paso doble, which is a fighting dance. I’d say he’s just identifying with it because it’s such a strong dance, but it’s really in general that he’s becoming a better and better dancer.

Doug was upset about the scores last week, but he’s looking at each week as a clean slate, and I really do think we can go out there and improve our standing significantly.

Doug is also excited to do this routine tonight in honor of his family. He’s dedicating our paso doble to the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism. Doug loves his family and that passion is bringing an extra special element to our performance.

Doug spent his entire NFL career fighting to prove himself, and now he’s ready to go out there and do the same thing on the dance floor.

To vote for Karina and Doug during season 22 of Dancing with the Stars – which airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC – dial 1-855-234-5602.