Elisabetta Canalis: Dancing Is Not My Thing
09/28/2011 AT 10:50 AM EDT
"Maybe dance is not my thing – I'm not going to lie," the Italian actress told PEOPLE backstage after being eliminated Tuesday night. "This show was challenging because I had to learn how to ballroom dance. I've never done it before. I hope to have learned something."
Canalis's pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy stands by his ballroom prótége.
"There are a lot of challenges for everybody," he said. "There were huge challenges for her. We're a proud nation. We're a welcoming nation, but [Americans] have our own idols and our own fan base. This show is about people who have huge fan bases. We can't compete with that."
As for their final performance – a quickstep that earned Canalis 21 points – Chmerkovskiy says they gave it their all.
"Yesterday, we did [well]," he said. "But unfortunately they gave our score to five other couples. That killed all of our chances [of staying on the show]."