Karina Smirnoff and Gavin DeGraw
04/18/2012 at 08:00 AM EDT
Gavin DeGraw didn't end up at the bottom of the Dancing with the Stars
leader board more than once because he couldn't handle the demands of the show.
In fact, the high-intensity schedule of rehearsing in front of cameras and performing live in the ballroom is what helped him come as far as he did.
"I'll miss the whole pressure element of the show," DeGraw, 35, told PEOPLE backstage after he and partner Karina Smirnoff were booted from the ballroom Tuesday
. "I enjoy the pressure. I don't necessarily enjoy it all
the time, but pressure is good frequently."
Tanning, on the other hand, is another matter.
"It's a little scary," DeGraw explains. "The 'tan in the can' thing is a little scary because it makes your sheets look like you never bathe."
Even though he jokes that a mirror-ball trophy is what he won't
be taking away from this endeavor, he does say that overall, he "had a great experience."
"We made a lot of good friends," he says. "It's kind of like summer camp. We picked up a couple dancing tips. You don't need a trophy to learn how to dance. This is about stepping out and learning something new. It's not about winning and losing all the time."