Adam Larkey/ABC
September 22, 2009 12:00 AM

As I approach the stage my heart pounds like it’s going to rip right out of my chest. The room seems huge at first, but starts to get smaller as I walk down the stairs. My heart pumps faster, I can almost taste it … just then I hear my dad’s voice, ”Just drink a Red Bull and smile.” I definitely do not need a Red Bull at this moment. But I do need to smile and remember to have fun. Even though this is an elimination show, I have already won. The worst thing that can happen after you get eliminated is you go to Jimmy Kimmel — not such a bad consolation prize if you think about it. But I’m not planning on going home anytime soon … I hope! I hear our introduction and the music starts. Everything you’ve learned with regard to technique and counting has to go out the door. It is now time to trust in your weeks of hard work, and have fun.

I remember my first live performance at school (it was during that same year that I got my arm caught in the vending machine while trying to steal cookies). There was going to be a talent show and all the parents were invited. I decided I would do comedy! A perfect choice for someone who spends most of his time by himself. I decided to learn a Jackie Mason routine. It started like this: “I went to a psychiatrist once, I did. He took a look at me and right away said this is not you. If this is not me then who is it? I don’t know, the doc replied. Well if you don’t know, what do I need you for? I didn’t get to finish the joke because when I approached the stage, I started to relieve myself in my white nylon suit!!! People were laughing alright, but not at the Jackie Mason skit.

My parents are in the audience again, but I am hoping to have a different outcome. Thirty seconds into the dance, I forget what foot goes where, but engage with Edyta and I have the time of my life! It was so exciting and it’s not even over yet… there will be one more dance, the salsa. Cue the music, we come on first. Even though it is only 20 seconds, it seems so much longer and I know we have to make this one count!!! We both give it our all! We are done!

Wow … I haven’t seen scores that low since my SATs. Even though the judges were harsh, it was just good not to be judged in a court of law. Even though I took more hits than Chuck Liddell did in the octogon, I feel like I accomplished a lot. I have truly come a long way from the boy at camp — and I owe it all to my amazing dancing partner, my parents’ love and support, and ABC for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Now myf ate lies in the hands of the who vote! But this is so much fun and it’s so nice to be working again. And in the great words of my father, “Please don’t send me back to performing on the cruise ships!” –Ashley HamiltonAdam Larkey/ABC

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