DWTS' Karina Smirnoff talks Stevie, the salsa and bloopers
As Dancing with the Stars nears the quarter-final round, Karina Smirnoff and Jacoby Jones are still hanging tough — despite less-than-stellar scores for their quickstep last Monday. This week in her blog, Karina fills us in on rubbing elbows with Stevie Wonder, forgetting about Jacoby's feet and the moment so funny it made her cry.
SheKnows: Well, you did what the judges asked you last week and focused on Jacoby’s footwork, but they gave you lower scores! What gives?
Karina Smirnoff: Jacoby came to me after and he goes, “So we got lower scores, and you worked on my feet forever. I’m not working on my feet from this point on!” Len said, “You’re not going to get a nine from me until you fix those feet.” So we worked on that and got a 7! But this week we have salsa — which is a party, social dance — and you don’t need to have the best footwork, so this time we didn’t work as much on the feet. We just worked on dancing, the fun element and the excitement because, obviously, when we do work on our feet, we still get sevens! So we said, “Forget that, we’re not working on that anymore.” (laughs)
SK: Like Jacoby said, he needs those feet when he goes back to his day job! Are you on board with what he told Brooke [Burke-Charvet] about just having fun from now on?
KS: Yes, exactly! I think next week is the quarter-final and then after that the semi-final, and if you miss the bus, so to speak, working on one technicality that’s not even being judged on, you might miss the whole boat. I want to show as much as I can of his ability, his talent, his rhythm — his rhythm is ridiculous! If we turn a toe in here and there, oh well. It’s been now almost seven weeks of pure dancing now, and I honestly do think his feet have gotten better. They’re way less turned in than they were before, and I think this is as good as it’s gonna get in terms of his turnout!
SK: Len admitted Jacoby did well, but that he didn’t like it — it just wasn’t Jacoby’s dance. Is it a personal challenge at this point to try to find a dance Len will love from you guys?
KS: I think what Len meant was that the quickstep is a ballroom dance that you have to be in the frame from the beginning to the end. With us, the challenge is simply physical. He’s 6’4” and I’m 5’4”, so for the frame to work, he has to get a little shorter or I need to grow — neither of which is physically possible! (laughs) That’s the difficulty. So Len is right… some dances we’re going to find are a little less suited for us due to who we are and how tall we are and how our bodies work. I agree that the quickstep might not be the dance we would dance to win the whole competition, but I think he did a decent job! And at this point, we don’t really choose dances. We never do. We can submit choices for music that we like, but we never get to say, “Hey, I don’t want to do a quickstep!” We don’t get to make that choice — production does. We get a dance, and we make the best of it.
SK: We’re such Stevie Wonder fans... was it fun dancing to his songs?
KS: Oh my gosh, it was epic — it was absolutely epic! We had him on the show in season six when I was dancing with Mario Lopez, and we got to go to his radio show in L.A. and get some insight for Mario. It was a really, really cool project because I got to meet Stevie, shake his hand, talk to him… it was like an out-of-body experience! So last Monday was awesome. To hear him play all of his songs for us to dance to, it was one of those memorable nights that you’ll always have for the rest of your life.
SK: I bet! So tonight marks Latin week, and you’ve mentioned before that is the hot, spicy kind of stuff Jacoby excels at... we’re guessing rehearsals went well?
KS: They did — we even managed to get a day off! Well, we weren’t dancing for a whole day at least. You know, his body isn’t used to that kind of going nonstop. In football, they get a day off, so his body was, like, giving out! His knee started to swell up, and he goes, “You know what? Let me just ice it for a day and just chill my body so I can come back stronger.” And even with that day off, I am so excited about this salsa tonight. I love our music! It’s really, really cool… and the routine is too. I can’t wait to dance it!
SK: Did Jacoby’s injury affect rehearsals again this week or is he on the mend?
KS: I can tell you this, he’s way more cautious going into the bathroom now — he takes precaution opening the door. (laughs) But he’s doing good… he’s not complaining and he’s not commenting on his foot, so I’m sure it’s doing well. If it was bothering him, he would say something about it! It hasn’t been an issue at all.
SK: How is rehearsing for salsa different than rehearsing from, say, the quickstep or foxtrot?
KS: I love all dances, but you obviously love certain dances a little bit more if they fit you better. When we started rehearsing the salsa, it was a breath of fresh air. We were like, “Oh, it’s so crazy and wild… Yay!” (laughs) We didn’t have to be in the frame from beginning to end, so we had a blast. We have some cool lifts in there I haven’t tried before — not on the show, not ever — so I’m excited to show them off. And Jacoby’s so fun to watch when he dances because he’s got so much charisma. I think the dance is perfect for him, so I can’t imagine him not enjoying it or not nailing it. I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m holding my breath, crossing my fingers, crossing my toes... crossing whatever I can cross!
SK: You guys obviously like to keep things lighthearted and fun... any good jokes or pranks pulled this week?
KS: He does it all the time! He will get behind the door in a dark corner where I can’t see him and then at the last minute he jumps out, and he does it to me all the time. And he does it not just to me, he does it to everyone on the set! But this week something hysterical happened between Ingo and Jacoby. I hope they play it on Tuesday, because we were on the floor laughing, with tears running down our faces. It was one of those moments that should make America’s Funniest Home Videos.
SK: Y’all should have one of those outtake reels for the end of the show...
KS: I know! They should totally do the bloopers — that’s what I keep telling them, because there are so many moments that have happened over all the seasons and with so many couples. If they were to do a Dancing with the Stars: Bloopers, I think it’d be a hit for sure.