D.L. Hughley and Cheryl Burke
04/14/2013 at 12:00 PM EDT
Cheryl Burke is a two-time Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy with Drew Lachey and Emmitt Smith. The 15-season pro will blog for PEOPLE.com while competing on season 16 with her partner, D.L. Hughley
I was surprised Lisa Vanderpump left last week
because I thought people would be like, "She was really sick
!" Normally when that happens on the show, people really want to keep you on, but I think that obviously this show is so tough and no one really knows what they're getting into
It's seven days a week and it really takes a toll on your body. It's tough shooting doing this show and shooting the Housewives
show at the same time. Even for D.L., he's on the road and he's doing his stand-up show somewhere new every weekend. It's tough doing two jobs at one time.
It's so sad to see anyone go, and Lisa was so sweet, funny and classy. We've all become really good friends at this point. I watch the Real Housewives
once in awhile, so it was also really nice to meet her!
This last week has been really tough
. We've got a group dance and then our individual dance, where we're dancing with another professional couple side by side, so that gives us even more pressure for D.L. to really look good.
We're doing the tango and that dance has a lot of rules. It consists of a lot of steps and concepts, and it's been the hardest, most challenging dance for D.L. so far – but I've never seen him work so hard.
This week it's all about getting into character, and because the tango is a man's dance, it really needs to look like he's leading me. Our song is also longer than normal, so this requires a lot from him.
The concept is going to be really cool, and it's something the show has never done before. It's contemporary, and not a traditional old tango song. It's super dynamic and has an Amy Winehouse
feel to it.
We've already rehearsed for 15 hours in the last three days, and I think you'll really see an improvement
in his dancing this week. We started rehearsing at 10 in the morning on Friday, and we didn't even take a break all day. Because we got such great feedback
last week, D.L. is feeling more confident.
We're both surprised we're still here
and we want to stay for our fans who have helped us get through every week. We've never even been in the bottom!
I tell D.L. he's improving all the time, and he's really learning the steps much quicker now. His attitude has also changed
, and he's feeling like he really wants to stay in the competition.
So for everyone who's had our back lately
, we're really putting in the time and hopeful you'll see an improvement this week.