Craig Sjodin/ABC

"I'm going to miss the choreography, the costumes, all of it," says Smirnoff, who was eliminated last week

October 06, 2014 10:45 AM

Karina Smirnoff is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, having won the coveted mirror-ball trophy in Season 13 with J.R. Martinez. The pro dancer is now in her 16th season on the show, and will be blogging for PEOPLE about competing with actor and retired mixed martial arts fighter Randy Couture for Season 19.

We’re sad we got eliminated because we were really looking forward to this week’s contemporary dance. We were going to dance to a Garth Brooks song. We’d already started choreography and ideas. We were really excited about this dance.

Even though we were sent home, we’re grateful for the experience. Overall, I was happy with the way all our performances went. I think Randy killed the foxtrot. We right away saw something very different and a lot more to him than what everybody initially knew of Randy Couture. Then with the cha-cha, we enjoyed the dance. We loved the idea of doing a mini tribute to the troops, and showing that side of Randy – that he’s a soldier and he was in the army.

I think he killed the paso doble. I watched the footage back and I think that was his best dance. He was ferocious; he was strong. I know Julianne Hough asked where the leading man went, but I don’t know if we were going for the leading man necessarily when he was portraying Rocky, the underdog. I think he did amazing. I couldn’t have asked him to do anything more or anything extra. I have no regrets, no thoughts on, “I wish we would have done this or that.” He did everything I asked him. It just is what it is.

I’m not sure what the judges were talking about in regards to the timing. We watched the whole footage back on the plane on the way to New York, and he was more on time with me than any other take that we’ve done. He was hitting all the accents and the right details. I’m not exactly sure what the judges saw, but they are entitled to their opinion. That s what they’re there for, so there’s not much you can do about it.

I’m just enjoying the fact that Randy and I got to meet each other through the show, and we got to work together. We got to create incredible memories and hopefully gave the show’s audience something to enjoy with all our dances.

I’m going to miss the fact that we would laugh at each other and then laugh with each other, the fact that he’s so positive and always optimistic, how strong he is – he literally is probably the strongest guy I’ve ever worked with – and how we found ways to tone it down. I’m going to miss the choreography, the costumes, all of it. It is a fun show. It’s one of those experiences in your life where it gives you the highest of the highs, but then it also quickly reminds you of the lowest of the lows, so you never get too high up there!

Going forward, I want all these guys to do well. I love them, they’re my family. I hope they kill it!

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