"He's really got to impress [judge] Len [Goodman] this week," Murgatroyd tells PEOPLE. "It's crunch time"
Peta Murgatroyd is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 14 – only her second season on the series – with Donald Driver. The Australia native will blog for PEOPLE about competing with Big Time Rush band member James Maslow during the show’s 18th season.
We’ve got two dances this week, so it’s kind of crazy. The first one is the Viennese Waltz, and I am absolutely loving this. It’s so beautiful and romantic, and it’s such a nice change from that sexy samba last week. Fans wanted fun and sexy, and they definitely got that.
I think that dance is about as sexy as it’s going to get for us this season. It’s nothing that has never been done before. Shirt rips happen all the time on Dancing with the Stars, and garter belts get worn all the time.
The fact that someone said there wasn’t much samba content in there is absolute rubbish. I had the whole kit and caboodle. It’s a bit annoying when they say that and only focus on the clothes coming off – which is a cool part of the thing – but also there was samba in there. And he did great. As Carrie Ann [Inaba] said, his lines were really good. Some people will say something’s not passionate enough, but then someone will say something is too sexy.
James is looking really great this week. He’s loving the more romantic dances. I think he’s really embracing the emotion, which is cool. And then we have the dance duel with Amy [Purdy] and Derek [Hough], which has been interesting. We started a day late because we didn’t know whether Amy was going to be able to dance after her injury. But she’s absolutely fine, and she’s been such a trouper in keeping up with it.
We’ve got the jive with them, and we’ve both done the jive before, so we’re going to collaborate on our different jives that we’ve done and sort of mold them into one. Derek and I have some really great ideas for it.
The celebrities have to dance together for 20 seconds by themselves! James is jiving with Amy, which is so cool because it’s a different experience for him. He has to take even more of the role of a leading man and he has to really be stable for Amy, and it just makes him more aware of himself and his partner. I think it’s a really great lesson for him.
He’s learning a lot about himself and his balance points as well. He’s really got to impress [judge] Len [Goodman] this week. It’s crunch time. He needs to get a nine or 10 from Len on this Viennese Waltz. It needs to be so clean and so crisp and precise that it just blows them away. This week is a lot for James, but I think he can do it.