Adam Taylor/ABC
and Tim Nudd
October 29, 2013 08:00 AM

As hard as it was to accept, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi tried to look on the bright side after her surprising elimination Monday from Dancing with the Stars.

“I’m happy and I’m grateful,” she told PEOPLE backstage. “The show showed a different side of me, the mother side of me. And this whole experience has been so amazing. Everybody on the show is so amazing. I love them.”

But the disappointment was evident, as she began to get choked up.

“I’m really sad to say goodbye to everybody,” the Jersey Shore star, 25, admitted. “I just wasn’t ready to go yet.”

Perhaps it’s not goodbye forever, though.

“I’m just happy that I made new friends that hopefully we’ll have this bond forever doing this experience,” she said. “Maybe [partner] Sasha [Farber] can come over and still teach me some moves.”

Jack Osbourne, for one, plans to get together after the show is over. “The good thing is, when we do get eliminated, if we do get eliminated, we can go to New York and hang out with Nicole,” he said of himself and partner Cheryl Burke. “We’ll hit up the shore.”

The other couple in jeopardy Monday was Bill Engvall and Emma Slater. And Slater, who is Farber’s girlfriend, said she was shocked by the elimination.

“She’s a great dancer,” she said of Polizzi. “We lost a great couple tonight.”

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