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Karina Smirnoff Says Gavin DeGraw Is Nervous About Dancing with the Stars

03/19/2012 at 10:15 AM EDT



I'm definitely nervous and excited about our first live performance on Dancing with the Stars Monday. This is the first time I will get to see Gavin in this particular element. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure. Everybody is different. If he does as well live as he does in the studio, it will be great. He's just nervous. But it'll be cool. I'm excited.

This is going to be a competitive cast. A lot of people will have good dancing skills, because I know a few have dance experience – whether it's outside of ballroom or whether it's in. I know Sherri mentioned on The View that she was taking ballroom classes from Maks, prior to the show.

So the playing field will be a little different this time. But again, this show is about celebrities and people who know how to dance. You see their journey and how they advance from week one to week 10. And that was really visible last year with Rob Kardashian, who started out as maybe not the best dancer but became really good throughout the season.





I'm excited to showcase what Gavin has learned, and I think people are going to be very happy with it. I know I am. I think he's incredibly charming and sweet, and he's got some really good moves. He's awesome! He's funny and charismatic. We laugh most of the time. We laugh at each other; we laugh with each other. I can say one thing and he always has something funny to say back.

It's easy to be around each other. It's fun. He knows when I get a little frustrated when we laugh too much and I feel like we're not getting enough work done. But I think we're a great mix, and hopefully we'll take it all the way to the end.

Gavin has never danced in his life before this. It was never a part of his upbringing. But, with that said, he has natural ability. When he does move for the first time, it doesn't look awkward. But he gets so embarrassed and shy every time he does a dance step. Once I make him believe in himself and make him believe that what he's doing is amazing and great, I think there's no stopping him.



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