Dancing With the Stars competitor AJ McLean is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about his quest to take home the season 29 mirrorball trophy! Check back each week for his latest update on the competition.
The rehearsals leading up to last night’s performance were pretty emotional. It’s been kind of up and down for me, just trying to stay focused and not get stressed and — as Cheryl Burke would say — not fight the process, which sometimes I tend to do. I’m so used to working a certain way when it comes to learning choreography, but I feel like I’m slowly starting to come around on that, which is only going to make things easier for me moving forward.
I think if you don’t have a connection with your partner on a show like this, you’re destined for failure. That’s just my opinion. I feel like you have to have some kind of connection to really move forward and to lean on each other. This is very much a competition where the celeb and their pro really must lean on one another and rely on each other — especially the celebs relying on the pro dancers because we honestly don’t know what the heck we’re doing! None of us have done ballroom before.
Cheryl and I have really good communication as far as discussing the week ahead and scheduling and really working together on planning things out. There have definitely been some moments where we might butt heads because I think we’re both kind of the same mind. We’re both very passionate, both very competitive and we’re from two different worlds.
When two different worlds collide, sometimes there’s going to be rifts but we definitely talk through it. We don’t just let things fester and we don’t ever yell and scream and squawk at each other, because that’s just not going to do anything. I love the relationship that we have. I think it’s amazing.
During this week, I got emotional talking about my wife, Rochelle, who is literally is my rock. As I said, on the show, she’s my superhero. She has been through hell and back with me. If there was an award for everything that she does on the daily, she deserves them all. The greatest reward that I get from her on the daily is just a constant affirmation of love. She’s always there for me, it doesn’t matter what it is. She’s very supportive. She’s a great listener. We have amazing conversations — sometimes until the wee hours of the morning.
I think she’s absolutely breathtaking inside and out. It’s a huge turn on to be the kind of person that she is and I can’t keep my hands off her. She’s also an amazing, amazing mom, outside of being an amazing wife. Hats off to all the moms out there — you’re the real heroes at home. Parents in general are heroes, but moms are on another level. So my wife means everything to me as does the fact that she’s been here still, to this day, with me after all the bad things I’ve done in my life that have hurt people — especially her.
She’s always seen the good in me and seen past — as hard as it may be to see past — all the bad stuff I did when I was drinking and using drugs. But things are the best they’ve ever been today, and I couldn’t ask for anything else.
As far as the judges scoring this week, I’m so happy Carrie Ann Inaba gave a 7. That was a nice little glisten of hope. I thought maybe we would get two more of those from Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli, but there was one main flub that happened directly in front of the judges’ table. America may not have seen it, but it was right in front of the judges, so I think that hurt us a little bit. We did go up a point from last week, so we’re moving in the right direction. I’m very happy with the scores. I’m extremely proud of Cheryl and I and I can’t wait to hopefully keep on keeping on.
Ahead of next week, I really want to work on my frame. My frame has got to be key especially for the Quickstep going into Disney week. We are not allowed to break hold, which is something that will be a little nerve-wracking as well as probably a little painful because keeping a good solid frame is uncomfortable as hell but it is key to continue to move forward in this competition. The same frame is used in every single dance — it may be slightly different, but it’s still a strong frame, pushing up with the right elbow and pulling with the left. It’s like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time! But once you lock it in, you cannot unlock it.
My girls are ecstatic about Disney week. I know they can’t wait to see Daddy. I don’t want to give away what I’m doing, but the girls are going to be over the moon. It’s from one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, so I cannot wait.
I’ve also been hearing from Backstreet. They have been watching, to my knowledge. I’ve heard from all of them, saying how great the first week was. They’ve all been so supportive and they’re rooting for their boy to hopefully take home this mirrorball!
Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.