Janel Parrish's 'DWTS' Blog: I'm 'Channeling My Inner Bad Girl' This Week

Parrish will be paired with Artem Chigvintsev for the switch-up challenge

Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Janel Parrish is best known for playing Mona Vanderwaal on the TV drama Pretty Little Liars. She’s been paired with pro Val Chmerkovskiy for season 19 of Dancing with the Stars, and she’ll be blogging for PEOPLE about her experience on the hit ABC show.

Last week was definitely an emotional one. Val is amazing because the second the package started playing, I started to get emotional because we don’t see our video packages before the show. I knew what I said and I knew what was filmed, but seeing it and hearing it was another thing.

Right before the dance, I looked up and saw pictures, and I started to get really teary-eyed. Val just stood right in front of the monitor and said, “Don’t watch that right now. Look at me. It’s just you and me.” Probably the only reason I was able to get through that dance was because of Val.

My dedication of the dance to BJ was definitely something that was on my mind throughout rehearsal and my performance. I wanted it to be a beautiful tribute. During rehearsals I got a little frustrated because I wanted the steps to be perfect, and I was focusing so much on that that I was kind of losing the reason that I was doing the dance to begin with – it was not for me, it was for BJ. Val and I had a talk and he was like, “Listen, I won’t be so hard on you this week. It’s not about the steps.” It ended up being perfect, at least for me.

I was very happy with my scores. The judges gave such amazing comments and really good constructive criticism. I always try to take their constructive criticism each week and apply that to my lessons each week so that I can keep improving.

There were a lot of dances I really enjoyed last week. Lea Thompson and Artem Chigvintsev’s dance was so beautiful. Her tribute to her father was amazing. I definitely cried! I also thought Tommy Chong was awesome. I loved the whole “Jailhouse Rock” thing. The naughty cop set-up was awesome.

I was very surprised when Betsey Johnson went home. I love Betsey! I think her transformation during the show has been incredible. I got along really well with her, so it was really sad. Honestly, I’m always sad when someone leaves, but I definitely didn’t think that she was going to be going so soon.

This week is the switch-up challenge, so I have Artem as my partner, and I love Artem! It’s been so much fun. Obviously I have a huge bond with Val now, after dancing with him for so long, so I really miss him, and Artem misses Leah, too.

I think we all miss our partners, but Artem and I get along really well. I’m having an amazing time. All we do is laugh when there are little bloopers. I actually posted an Instagram video last Thursday because all we did when I messed up was just laugh! Our partners, Val and Leah, are also dancing together as well, so we peek in on their rehearsals. We’re like, “Oh, you’re cheating on us! That’s great. Well, we’re going to go dance sexy together! How does that make you feel?”

We’re dancing burlesque this week! I saw the movie Burlesque a few years ago, and I always wanted to do that just because it’s super sexy. It’s a dance that makes a woman feel like a woman. Burlesque is probably the most similar to the jive that I did, but it’s very different from all the others. The other dances I did were a lot more graceful.

I think it’s going to be an amazing dance. There are some hard tricks where I get thrown in the air, and I’ve never done anything quite like that before, so it should be interesting. But it’s fun! I really enjoy it. It’s going to be a really, really fun dance, and I’m hoping to channel my inner bad burlesque girl!

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