Mike Sorrentino isn't feeling much love from the Dancing with the Stars judges, but he has his partner's respect
Credit: Greg Zabilski/ABC

The judges didn’t think much of his Argentine tango on Monday’s Dancing with the Stars. But Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has one fan firmly in his corner: his dance partner, Karina Smirnoff.

“Honestly, I’m having such a blast this season,” Smirnoff, 32, tells PEOPLE. “I’m trying things with Mike that I would never even attempt to try with anyone else. Definitely the best partner ever. I would never ask for anyone different.”

That’s a nice vote of confidence for Sorrentino, 28, who was torn to pieces by the judges after the tango, which Bruno Tonioli called “a terrible mess.”

Sorrentino says he was fuming after the criticisms.

“I was so upset, I actually stormed off,” he says. “I came back after I was cooled off, and I was like, you know what, hopefully America saw that I was working my hardest and really putting in the practice and doing things that people are not willing to risk.”

He adds: “I really tried hard. I’m not a dancer, but I went out there and gave it my all.”