‘DWTS' Backstage: Karina Smirnoff Is Jazzed After Week 2 Dances

The 'Dancing With the Stars' pro reveals this season’s biggest challenge, and who’s surprising her the most.

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On Monday night's "Dancing With the Stars," the 12 couples had a second shot for a leaderboard lead before the first (and worst!) elimination of the season. Pro dancer Karina Smirnoff -- who's paired with Super Bowl champ Jacoby Jones this season -- checked in with us after the Week 2 installment to dish on Monday night's jazzed-up dance, which celeb is surprising her the most, and who could be in trouble this week.

This season's biggest challenge

On last week's premiere, Karina and Jacoby infused a few touchdown moves into their opening dance, causing judge Len Goodman to say, "It was all icing and no cake. The technique was terrible." This week, they jazzed up all their moves, and all of the judges raved. The result was a rockin' 23 points, but it didn't come without a few challenges.

"Jacoby is very tall, so we [had to] come up with some sort of solution on how... we could still have great posture but not look completely straight up," Karina says. "We literally have a foot of distance between each other. It's a challenge, I've never had such a tall partner before, but it totally worked with jazz, because we had the Big Moe/Little Moe."

She also attributes Jacoby's New Orleans roots for his spectacular moves: "I think he did an incredible job with jazz, because he could relate to the way he would see people dance in New Orleans," she said.

Because the definition of jazz is so broad, she and fellow "DWTS" pro Derek Hough even looked up the definition of the dance and sent it to production to find out what they were looking for. Karina was grateful that judge Carrie Ann Inaba was able to explain jazz so well to the dancers and the viewers.

She also dished on the other new dance this season. "I really hope we get to do contemporary," she said. The best part of this show is we get to learn and experience these celebrities on a level that you normally wouldn't. Jacoby has so many layers it's crazy. And being able to do dances like contemporary further down the road, if we're able to carefully select the song and tell the story through that music… it will be a very emotionally charged dance."

Surprising celebs

The dancing queen also dished on the contestant who has surprised her the most so far this season: "A lot of people were a little bit on the fence when they found out that Andy Dick was on the show," she said. "But this show has changed people's lifes in different ways. Andy, he had a rough patch; he went through something in his life that he's not proud of and something that people were judging him for. With this show, he's getting a fresh start." She loves that the show is all about second chances and says the comedian is "super cool" and he's working very hard.

Karina also praised Olympian Aly Raisman for "coming out of her shell so much," and had mad props for Kellie Pickler, who soared to the top of the leaderboard with her jazz with Derek Hough. "Kellie killed it last night. She nailed that dance," Karina said.

Who's going home?

Even after 15 seasons, Karina still gets emotional at the end of the show, because all of the dancers are so invested in it, and they don't want it to end. But tonight will be the end for one couple, and no one is safe this week, especially with two weeks of judges' scores in the can.

Karina reminds us that in the past, there has been shocking eliminations in the early weeks of the show -- like last season's premature elimination of Joey Fatone. "Two weeks of accumulated scores from the judges, as opposed to one, also plays a part," she reveals, adding that it may influence voters. As for tonight's vote? "It could be anyone's game," she says.

Next week, it's time to bust out the wrist corsages and the poofy dresses for the show's first-ever prom night. Karina's looking forward to the fun theme but can't reveal too much about her top-secret prom plan. But she does predict, "You're going to either see some crazy outfits with big sleeves and puffy skirts, or you're going to see something emotional with people saying, 'I didn't get to go to prom.'" She promises us that "Jacoby's story is incredible."

Tune in to the "Dancing With the Stars" Season 16 results show on Tuesday, 3/19 at 8 PM on ABC.

More from this contributor:

'DWTS: All-Stars': Karina Smirnoff dishes on trio dances

Backstage at 'DWTS': Karina Smirnoff's chemistry and that mid-dance slip

"Dancing With the Stars" Season 16: Fast facts about the cast

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