One of the final five couples in the competition, Dancing with the Stars’ Karina Smirnoff and Jacoby Jones hope to tango their way through tonight’s semi-finals despite rumors of a potentially season-ending injury. Karina gives us the scoop on everything from Jacoby’s secret wardrobe catastrophe to how she feels about the duo’s shot at that shiny mirror ball trophy.
SheKnows: Your Viennese Waltz was stunning! I thought for sure the judges were finally going to give you a 10…
Karina Smirnoff: I know! We did too. Then we were like, “Oh, OK… we got another nine. Yay.” (laughs) We were hoping it was going to be at least one 10. But you know what? You want it, but if you can’t get it, you can’t get it. I just keep saying to Jacoby, “There’s nothing we can do other than what we are doing. We can’t control it. This is completely out of our hands. Control what you can — control the performance, control the quality of the performance and let’s concentrate on that. Concentrate on the journey.” And I told his mom, “Hey, make a couple of 10 panels for us! We might need them. Just make them for us and show it to us from the audience — that will be enough!”
SK: I feel for Jacoby because I am an insanely competitive person and, for me, it would be torture getting so close to 10s each week and not getting them. Does it drive him crazy?
KS: Oh yeah! He’s like, “What do we need to do? What do we need to do to get a 10?” And I don’t really have an answer. I just tell him, “I think you’re doing enough. You’re working hard. You’re delivering the dances and you’re delivering the characters.”
SK: Well, regardless of the scores, we loved it. How do you take a classic ballroom dance like that and make it so modern and, well, sultry?
KS: First, we had a great song. Once we both decided we wanted to dance to “It’s a Man’s World,” we obviously submitted it to production, and I knew that he [Jacoby] has that kind of character — like, he can do this macho guy. Once he felt and understood what the character was, it came easier. I wanted him to be like, “This is a man’s world — this is my world. I rule it. You can be a part of it.” But then the woman in the dance changes that for him and, in the end, he becomes part of a team and a couple, which is often what really happens in life… for both men and women. So I think he nailed the character.
It was funny though; afterwards we were talking about the moment where he walks towards the judges, looks at Carrie Ann a certain way and then he rips his shirt open. We had gone over it so much before, because I wanted it to be this special moment — the moment where you go, “Whoa, that was awesome!” But he forgot he had elastic attached to make sure his shirt doesn’t rise and come out of his pants, and the elastic is very narrow — it’s very small elastic — so after the dance it was hysterical! He goes, “I gave myself a wedgie so hard! I was like, ‘Oooooh, boy!’ I was acting all mad and then it was like, ‘Whoa, hello!’”
SK: Ha ha, we didn’t know all that was going on… but yeah, it was a really spectacular moment. The women in the audience — including Carrie Ann — needed a moment to compose themselves after that.
KS: Good, good! That’s exactly what we were hoping to achieve with it. (laughs) You know, he’s a good-looking guy. When he’s acting and in character, it’s just that much better. He’s a good-lookin’ dude.
SK: Yes, he is. And, hey, speaking of getting people all revved up, Len went wild for your Paso Doble. Were you surprised he was so into it?
KS: I was excited! I thought it was a great sign, and we were all like pumped ‘cause we thought it could potentially mean we might be getting a 10… but it didn’t mean that apparently. (laughs)
SK: We were really hoping for that 10 too, because you and Jacoby said you thought Mama Jones might run up and kiss Len if you got one…
KS: I know — afterwards we were laughing because I was like, “Do you think he just got nervous about giving us a 10? Maybe he just wasn’t sure if he knew how to handle Mama Jones!”
SK: You guys were cracking me up with all that giggling. Did you have a blast working with Cheryl?
KS: We did! Cheryl and I go so far back. I started in 2003 and Cheryl was brought in Season 2. Plus, it’s fun to be able to see Jacoby handle two feisty women — and he was good at handling both of us.
SK: Tell us, what have y’all been working on this week?
KS: We have the Argentine tango and — I don’t know if I want to say just yet — this might be my favorite dance of all the seasons! And then the second one is the Lindy Hop. Both dances are really intense and have a lot of lifts and tricks, so tonight will be interesting. Watch tonight! We’ve had a little bit of drama this week with not landing all the lifts the way we wanted to, so I will be interested to see the package. I’m looking forward to it.
SK: So rehearsals weren’t all smooth sailing?
KS: I think as crazy scary as some of the things were, it’s good because we know now what we need to do and what we don’t need to do for sure to avoid falling or injuring each other.
SK: You mentioned last week how the reality is setting in that the competition is almost over. You are so close to the mirror ball, it’s crazy! How do you feel about your chances?
KS: You know, I’m excited we had a great season. Do I want the mirror ball? Absolutely! Are we working hard to get the mirror ball? Absolutely! We’ll do everything in our power to get it. I don’t want to want the mirror ball only, because there is so much to the show that you get to enjoy and appreciate — but God knows we’re working hard for it! (laughs) We want it, but we’re just afraid to want it too much, because if we don’t win, it will just be that much more sad. But we hope that we still have a chance at it!