Frankie Muniz on Scoring the First 9 of the Season on 'DWTS' : 'I Feel Like I'm in a Fantasy World'

Despite performing well and getting used to the competition, Frankie Muniz says his nerves aren't calming down

Malcolm isn’t in the middle anymore!

Although he’s competing against Broadway performers, athletes and former boy-banders, Frankie Muniz is on top of the Dancing With the Stars leader board.

Judge Bruno Tonioli awarded the 31-year-old actor the first nine of show’s 25th season following his Latin Night cha-cha with pro partner Witney Carson — and he’s the most shocked of anybody.

“I feel like I’m in a fantasy world,” the Agent Cody Banks star told PEOPLE. “I went into this with zero dance experience, zero expectations of myself. I just wanted to do it and try. I was afraid to dance, even to do the robot in front of people.”

However, the early lead also adds pressure.

“It does make me — not nervous, but I want to keep it up,” said Muniz, who revealed on the Sept. 18 premiere of DWTS that he had broken his back in a 2009 car racing accident. “I want to work even harder this week, because maybe people expect it to be decent, when I don’t even know if I expect it to be decent yet.”

PEOPLE’s special issue, 25 Seasons of Dancing with the Stars, is available now.


(In an exclusive interview from this week’s issue of PEOPLE, he also opens up about his secret health battle with mini-strokes.)

Despite performing well and getting used to the competition, Muniz said his nerves aren’t calming down.

“I keep thinking I’ve done it now two times, I should be better. I think I was worse, I said this yesterday, I was worse today than I was the premiere,” he admitted. “I don’t know what it is, I just want to do well. The nerves are not for performing in front of people anymore, I just put pressure on myself. I don’t want to feel like I let [Witney] down or myself down. We worked so hard.”

PEOPLE’s special issue 25 Seasons of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is on stands now.


Muniz shared that each night, right before the dance, he feels like he’s gong to pass out and has to concentrate solely on breathing.

“But as soon as the package starts to play, and this has happened every time, I’m ready, and it starts,” he said.

Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

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