First up, Evan Lysacek blogged earlier this week for People Magazine:
After last week’s performance, my left foot was a little tender. I’m glad to say that the tango is a bit kinder to my broken toes. I’m really enjoying this dance a lot. Our version has more of a fun twist to it than a classic tango. Anna and I get to have a great time with it. We also have some great music to accompany us, which is a little nod to our fellow cast mate Nicole Scherzinger. Yes, we are doing the tango to The Pussycat Dolls’ “Wait A Minute.”
Even though the show doesn’t go live to the East Coast until 8 p.m., the ballroom begins buzzing as early as 8 a.m. The women usually get to the studio on the earlier side to get their hair and makeup done. Because we’re not in L.A. during the week, Anna and I get to the studio around 10 a.m. and go directly to the wardrobe department to try on our costumes. Most couples have their final fittings over the weekend, but ours is done on Monday morning. The show’s amazing costumers, who are used to doing things on the fly, make the necessary adjustments to our outfits while we do a music check. That’s when we perform our routine with the show’s live band. After that, we take a break and have a bit of lunch before hitting the full dress rehearsal with the cast. That’s when we all run through the entire show from top to bottom. We then have about one hour, generally from 3:30 until 4:30 in the afternoon, to relax in our trailers, listen to music, or go over our routines one last time. A lot of times the cast will visit with friends and family, and each other. I know I’ve mentioned before that we’re a pretty tight group, so during the final 30 minutes before we hit the air, we go around and wish each other good luck.
Next up, Maks for TV Guide. We can always count on Maks for his commentary on the judging.
I thought it [double scoring] was a good idea. In the end, it doesn’t really matter out if your score is out of 30 or 60 — you can think of it like combining two weeks of scores without an elimination. But if they’re going to bring it back, the judges need to be a little bit more constructive in their criticism. They got it wrong in many couples’ cases this week. Backstage, everyone was like, “Why are you marking everybody so low?” Then all of the sudden some couples got higher scores than what we expected. I don’t know how they were judging with the separate scores.
We can only examine ourselves the best, and honestly, I am confused why we got straight 6s on technique. Listen, I can take criticism — just tell me exactly what it is you have an issue with. I had no idea what we were going to get with the two scores. I even told Erin that. I wasn’t upset with the scores, but I was confused. We had a little mishap, but that shouldn’t lead to a nearly 50 percent drop in the scores, especially when they didn’t even comment that much on our technique. Len talked about Erin’s heels a little, but that’s it. Bruno and Carrie Ann kept talking about Erin coming out of character. OK, but that’s performance, so why did we get a higher score for performance? Carrie Ann again commented on the death grip. But enough with the death grip! I don’t think a death grip is worth a four-point deduction. Plus, in dancing, technique is largely about footwork. That’s not to say you can slack off with the upper body, obviously, but technicality with dance starts at the bottom and goes up. You can stand in a pretty frame, but movement starts with the footwork and you’re nothing without the footwork. So that was just confusing. If they want to give us a 6, fine. Just give us a reason too.
Next week, we’re going to do the jive to Pulp Fiction — but we’re not recreating anything from the movie. I have a different idea. The mood is going to be good. I’m doing something different with the way the song is played. We’ve only had one practice so far, but everything is looking good. We’re feeling relaxed. I think it will be fun. It’s refreshing to stop doing the hold a little bit and step away from so many strict rules. I give Erin a little more freedom and a lot of stuff to do on her own. I have a lot more experience in Latin as well, so I see things that don’t work and adapt to certain difficulties that she might have. Her back is fine. She’s a trooper. I felt like it was necessary for her to see the doctor as a preventive measure. It took a lot of convincing! She was like, “Football players just pop their shoulders back in and get on the field.” I was like, “That’s not the same! What we do is about finesse. We don’t tackle anyone. You need your body to be healthy.” So she’s doing well and is treating it. It’s less contused now!
Finally, Derek with Ok! Magazine:
Dancing with Nicole is feeling so fantastic and I’m working so hard with her. We’re in there six or seven hours a day, not just when the cameras are there. It’s not easy. The hours are definitely being put in. She’s open and willing to do anything.
Last night, the judges were right — Nicole WAS quivering and nervous. Rumba is one of the hardest dances on the show. It shows everything. You’re completely exposed and vulnerable and it’s interesting for me to see Nicole, this superhuman singer, a little anxious. You saw in her face during the scores it really got to her — for judge Carrie Ann Inaba to confront her about being nervous—it was like, whoa, somebody just touched on my insecurity in front of millions of people. It was really scary for Nicole.
After the show, we talked about it — she told me, “I was scared,” and I’m like, “It’s okay, this is why you’re here, for people to see you like a human being.” And I reminded her, “By the way, you still gave a phenomenal performance.”