"Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars" was a frenzy of fusion on Monday night, as the all-star couples had to merge two dance styles into one one-of-a-kind dance.
For pro dancer Karina Smirnoff and her partner Apolo Ohno, that meant a cha cha/paso doble fusion dance for this week, but they didn't seem to have any fusion confusion! The power couple nailed their combo dance, scoring triple nines and kudos from judge Len Goodman: "Apolo Ohno, I'm saying Apolo oh yes!"
We caught up with Karina after Monday night's show, and she gave us the inside scoop on this week's fusion dance, the cutthroat swing dance marathon, and next week's double elimination.
Fusion confusionAfter last week's perfect-scoring Viennese waltz, the pressure was on for Karina and Apolo. The Ukrainian beauty told On the Red Carpet that this week's song was key to their performance, predicting that the song "could be either absolutely fantastic and amazing, or it could be a total disaster." The dynamic duo ultimately landed Usher's "Scream," so check one in the "absolutely fantastic" column.
Karina's strategy for choreographing the dance was to fuse the cha cha and the paso doble, and switch back and forth without hesitation.
"Every dance should start strong and finish stronger. Paso is a stronger dance," she said. Her biggest challenge was to make sure the transitions were smooth. (The bigger question: To call it a pacho or a chaso?) But the couple's opening spot on this week's roster had her a little concerned.
"I think Apolo did an incredible job, and it just sucks that we went first," she told us after the show. "In the history of the show, the first couple never gets perfect scores no matter how well they do. We knew going into this we wouldn't get what we were playing for, but at the end of the day, we enjoyed coming up with the steps for the fusion dance."
One of the biggest surprises of the night was Apolo's decision to (finally!) go shirtless: He whipped off his shirt halfway through the dance. It was great eye candy for the viewers, but how did his pro partner convince him to take his shirt off?
"It was a long process, I must say," Karina dished. "It probably took the whole seven weeks of the show to convince him. To be honest, from a woman's perspective, as much as I understand and it took a while to convince Apolo to take his shirt off, I kind of like it. I think it's very masculine. It's manly. In my opinion, it's a good sign that he doesn't want to run around shirtless every week."
Swing dance chanceWelcome to a good old-fashioned dance competition! This week's swing dance marathon had all seven remaining couples competing for bonus points with a whopping 10 points awarded to the last couple standing. While Karina and Apolo were the third couple called out, receiving six bonus points for a total of 33 points for the night, their early elimination didn't get her down.
"The whole marathon to me is a little weird, " she said. "I judge a lot of competitions, and when you have that many couples on the floor of that size, it's very difficult to be able to really see who's better."
She and Apolo made the best of the circle they were given, despite the fact that it was all the way across the ballroom from the judges.
"We didn't get to do our big highlight lifts," she said. "Maybe we will get an opportunity to show them off another time."
Next week sneak peekSo what hints did our perky pro give us on what she and Apolo have planned for next week?
"We're doing a ballroom round first with the tango. And then we're doing a trio dance, where we get to pick another dancer either from the troupe or one of the eliminated pros," Karina said. "Hopefully we'll get the song that we requested, and we'll be able to do a really, really cool jive to it!"
Double troubleDue to the election, there's no "DWTS" elimination this week, but next week it's a double shot! Apolo told OTRC that next week's double elimination basically just "delays" his stress. But what does his pro partner think?
"We are nervous," she said. "A lot of times we get a lot of inspiration from the song. If you like or love or even if you don't hate the song you are dancing to, you can create something absolutely amazing and incredible. And sometimes you get music that doesn't fit the dance, fit the energy. We need to hear what the songs are for next week. Neither I nor Apolo are going to go down without a fight, that's for sure!"
Be sure to check out Karina Smirnoff and Apolo Ohno's "Dancing With the Stars" week 8 performance on Monday, 11/12 at 8 PM EST on ABC.
More from this contributor:The all-stars shine on 'DWTS' premiere
- Arts & Entertainment
- Karina Smirnoff
- Apolo Ohno