Dancing With the Stars

Shawn Johnson Calls Switching Partners on Dancing with the Stars a 'Lot to Handle'

11/06/2012 at 10:30 AM EST

Mark Ballas

Mark Ballas

Switching from one dance to the next, week to week, is tough enough. Switching partners, too? That's all but impossible.

Yet Shawn Johnson made it look easy Monday on Dancing with the Stars, scoring a perfect 30 for her fusion dance (a seamless blend of tango and the paso doble to one song) with Mark Ballas while her All-Stars partner Derek Hough took the week off with a neck injury.

"They have similar styles and ideas, but when they're actually dancing with me, it's completely different," the former gold-medal gymnast, 20, told PEOPLE after the show, which also included a swing dance marathon. "Getting used to each one, back and forth, was kind of a lot to handle.

But, she says, "It turned out well."

Her partners agreed. "We didn't skip a beat," Ballas, 26, said. Hough, 27, added: "We work differently in teaching methods, but we're the same creatively ... In that sense, I knew there was no other person to cover."

Johnson and Ballas are hardly strangers, of course – they won season 8 together.

Hough says he'll be ready to dance again next week but given that perfect score, is he the best partner for the contestant judge Bruno Tonioli dubbed "queen of the night?"

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