Bill Engvall and Emma Slater
10/29/2013 at 11:25 AM EDT
One thing is clear on this season's Dancing with the Stars
: Bill Engvall hasn't lasted this long in the competition because of his stellar dancing skills.
"It's about your fan base," Engvall, 56, told reporters backstage after Monday night's show
, which sent Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi packing
. "It's about popularity."
So, what, exactly, has made the comedian click with viewers?
"I don't have big time celebrity friends – I'm just a guy," Engvall explained. "Yes, I'm a 'celebrity,' I'm on the show. But if you went home with me, you'd be like, 'This guy's not a celebrity. He drinks his coffee in the backyard and walks out in his bathrobe to get the paper.' I think that's what they relate to. I'm just a regular guy."
Even though he's finally accepted how the competition works, he can't get past the fact that Polizzi was sent home over him this week.
"I thought, this can't happen," he said. "I was going to tell [the show's hosts] that I should have been the one to go, not Nicole. She's a much better dancer than me. I'm very proud of what we do and our dances. We have more fun than anybody. We do have a lot of heart in our shows. But at some point, the dance has got to come into play."
Added Engvall, "I told [Polizzi], 'Listen, I didn't want to like you. And now I really do like you a lot.' I've just fallen in love with that little girl. It's not even the same person [you saw on MTV]."
Engvall's partner, Emma Slater – whose boyfriend, Sasha Farber, was eliminated along with his partner, Polizzi – also has a soft spot for the former Jersey Shore
"She's great," Slater told reporters. "She's super, super sweet. She's such a love bug. She'll go around to everybody and say I love you. She's just super humble and relatable. She's so changed. She's never drunk, she's always committed, she's always on time, she's a workaholic and she's a sucker for her little boy
. He's gorgeous."