10:37 AM EDT 04/26/2016

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Karina Smirnoff

Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: Why I've Been Crying (and Had an Anxiety Attack!) in This Week's Rehearsals

Originally posted 04/25/2016 06:00PM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: I Think the Judges Got It Wrong Last Week

Originally posted 04/18/2016 04:35PM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

I'm just going to say it: I think the judges got it wrong last week.

When they were critiquing our dance they said that Doug and I were out of sync, but I watched it back and I really think Doug did a great job.

That routine was not easy and the music was some of the most difficult I've ever been tasked with choreographing a dance to, and I think Doug did a fantastic job.

That said, we ended that critique on a high when they told us we were actually safe! I had confidence that we had done well enough the week before to make it through the elimination, but it was such a weight off our shoulders to know that we will definitely be around for the next two weeks.

It's Switch-Up Week, so no one will be going home tonight, but that doesn't mean it's a week to take things easy.

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: I Told Doug Flutie It's Okay to Cry

Originally posted 04/11/2016 03:30PM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

I'm so glad it's Disney Week!

Last week I was so glad Doug and I could honor his parents, but it was a very emotional rehearsal process and performance night.

All of that really came to a head when our video package played right before our dance last Monday.

I was worried Doug was going to lose it the moment he watched the package and saw his parents. I wouldn't have been able to keep it together. But I made sure to tell him that it was okay to cry and get emotional because I think that reminded him that he had permission to that. I think that helped him just well up with tears and let that happen rather than trying to hold it in and then exploding with tears.

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: Why I Was 'Shocked' We Were in the Bottom

Originally posted 04/04/2016 07:10AM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

Being in the bottom is never easy – especially at the first elimination show – but I have to admit, it barely even registered that Doug and I were in danger of going home last week.

In rehearsal earlier that day, they had only called out two couples as being in the bottom. So Doug and I assumed there were only going to be two couples in jeopardy on the live show. We were the third couple singled out, so instead of thinking, "We might be going home," we were more thinking, "Wait. What's going on?!"

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: Doug Flutie Was 'Upset' After Our Low Scores – but He's a 'Fighter'

Originally posted 03/28/2016 05:00PM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

After we finished our foxtrot last week, Doug and I were ready to celebrate! He'd been nervous about the first live show, but we'd made it through and I thought he'd done a fantastic job – until we saw the scores.

Getting 5s across the board really brought us down. We thought since we went third that maybe that would be good in comparison, but it left us towards the bottom of the leader board.

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: My One Complaint About Working with Doug Flutie

Originally posted 03/21/2016 03:00PM

Dancing with the Stars pro Karina Smirnoff is blogging about her experience on the reality dance competition's 22nd season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Smirnoff and her partner Doug Flutie on Twitter!

Okay, so I have to be honest: Before a few weeks ago, I really knew nothing about the NFL. So when I found out that I had Doug as a partner, I had a lot of Googling to do.

But what was amazing was the minute I started telling my friends who my partner was, I started hearing all these stories about what a football legend – and great guy – he is.

In past seasons, after the teams are announced on Good Morning America, my partner and I will be walking around the streets of New York and a lot of women will come up to us to wish us luck. This is the first year that a ton of men ran up to us. They all wanted to shake Doug's hand and told us they'd be watching and voting. That was really cool to see.

Once we got in the rehearsal room, I was really glad to see that Doug is one of the hardest working people I've ever met. He never complains or asks to take a break.

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: A Love Letter to Victor Espinoza

Originally posted 09/23/2015 11:15AM

Karina Smirnoff has been chronicling her experiences as a pro partner to jockey Victor Espinoza on Dancing with the Stars' 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Karina and Victor on Twitter!

There were definitely some tears Tuesday night after Victor and I found out we were eliminated, but I wasn't crying about losing the competition.

Yes, Dancing with the Stars is a TV show, and you always have to keep that in mind, but at the end of the day what I'm the most sad about is that Vic and I won't be rehearsing every day together. What I'm going to miss most is going to the studio every day and seeing his face – seeing him jump up and down and trying to joke with me.

I'm going to miss Vic's vibrant spirit and getting to see him work so hard and try his best to actually deliver it every show. Those are the moments that made this season so precious to me.

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: Victor Espinoza's Sombrero Malfunctioned!

Originally posted 09/22/2015 01:00PM

Karina Smirnoff is chronicling her experiences as a pro partner to jockey Victor Espinoza on Dancing with the Stars' 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Karina and Victor on Twitter!

I think Monday night went really great for us. Victor's sombrero prop didn't work the way it was supposed to, and I was a little worried that was going to trip him up. When you have a performer on stage, they know how to recover fast. Victor is used to racing, not being on stage. But he recovered and finished strong. I take my hat off to him – even if his fell off!

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Dancing With the Stars

Karina Smirnoff's Dancing with the Stars Blog: Why I Threatened to (Literally) Whip My Partner Victor Espinoza into Shape

Originally posted 09/21/2015 01:00PM

Karina Smirnoff is chronicling her experiences as a pro partner to jockey Victor Espinoza on Dancing with the Stars' 21st season exclusively for PEOPLE.com. Follow Karina and Victor on Twitter!

Even though we only scored a 15 out of 30 last week, I think Victor and I did what we hoped to accomplish: entertain.

Being the first couple to perform on the first live show was a lot of pressure. Victor and I both have short attention spans so I knew I had to keep us in the zone during the time in between the opening number and our dance. I was kept telling him, "Let's just stay focused for the next five minutes." And the audience was yelling, "Victor! Victor!" And he was waving. And the music was about to start. I turned into the crazy woman yelling, "Concentrate! 5, 6, 7, 8 ..."

But I couldn't have asked him to do a better job. He didn't miss a step. We had worked on that hip action for days. I told him that if his hips didn't move on Monday, I was going to turn him into American Pharaoh and use the whip on him. So he definitely brought the hips to the ballroom.

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