DWTS' J.R. Martinez: Why Karina Smirnoff and I Deserve to Win

Entertainment Nov. 22, 2011 AT 9:56AM
DWTS' J.R. Martinez: Why Karina Smirnoff and I Deserve to Win Credit: ABC/ADAM TAYLOR

J.R. Martinez sure is angling for a Dancing With the Stars victory!

As he goes into Tuesday's finale against Rob Kardashian and Ricki Lake, the war vet and soap star tells Us he has his eyes on that mirror ball trophy -- and wants to bring it home for the sake of his pro partner, Karina Smirnoff.

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"Karina deserves to win!" he enthused to Us Weekly backstage at Monday's performance show. "[Pros] Derek [Hough, Lake's partner] and Cheryl [Burke, Kardashian's partner] have won before and of course they want to win again, but I want Karina to win! She's creative and risky and she really deserves that."

Martinez, 28, credits his pro, 33, with helping to give him a "second chance at life" through DWTS.

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"It's amazing that this show and Karina have given me a chance to be who I am," says All My Children's Martinez, who sustained burns over 40 percent of his body during a 2003 deployment in Iraq. "I'm honored that I've had the opportunity on this show to add a different dimension to it. It's a tremendous opportunity and whatever the hell happens [Tuesday], it's been an amazing journey."

While Martinez admits he "zoned out" during Monday's cha cha routine -- which earned him 24 points out of 30 -- he tells Us he's going into Tuesday's finale without regrets.

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"I haven't slept for about three nights now, so I don't think tonight will be different than the ones before!" he said. "I'm up tossing and turning! If we win though, unbelievable. If we don't, [it's] still great."

Adds his pro Smirnoff: "[Monday night] was amazing, with or without the mirror ball…but we really want one!"

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