Nick Viall didn’t see it coming. Through four seasons on ABC’s Bachelor franchise, he gamely allowed cameras to capture steamy makeouts, gut-wrenching breakups and one awkward conversation about climaxing.
But when he stepped on the Dancing With the Stars stage, he froze. Explains partner Peta Murgatroyd in the new issue of Us Weekly, “Nick had such a serious case of stage fright he blanked out on the dances.” Though he finally found his footing, Viall, 36, was sent home on the Monday, May 1, episode of the ABC series. “I had no performance experience, so it was something I had to get used to,” he admits. “Nothing stopped me from enjoying myself.”
Viall, engaged to Vanessa Grimaldi, and Murgatroyd — who welcomed son Shai with fiancé and fellow pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy in January — look back on their run with i.
Us Weekly: Did you think you had a good shot at winning?
Peta Murgatroyd: Absolutely, we had come this far! Nick was the underdog, and had been getting better each week. Plus, he made people laugh. It was a great combination.
Nick Viall: I expected to go home every week. But it was fun to last this long.
Us: Why did you work so well together?
NV: She’s a pretty easygoing, chill person. We’re also in the same places in our lives. She has her family with Maks and Shai, and I have my relationship with Vanessa.
PM: I actually heard from producers that we’re the funniest couple. I really think that’s the basis of our friendship. We’re both very sarcastic, so we just laughed all day, whether we were frustrated or not.
Us: What obstacles did you face as a new mom in the ballroom?
PM: It’s terribly hard to leave every morning to go to work. But my scheduling skills have risen exponentially because I have to be so much more aware of when he needs to be fed, when he needs to sleep.
Us: Nick, Vanessa was front and center cheering you on every Monday night. Was that helpful?
NV: The fact that she was so supportive made it easier. She was a gymnast growing up and took dance, so she has more experience than I do. She’d watch the videos with me at night and go over steps with me.
PM: I like her because she’s a strong woman! She’s so easy to get along with and made my life just so easy with Nick. She’s the easiest fiancée to work with.
Us: What’s on your plate post-DWTS?
NV: My biggest priority will be the Polished Gent [his men’s grooming line, launching May 8]. There are some tricks that I have done over the years to maintain a youthful appearance. It made sense to take the stuff I’ve been using and put it into a single box I can share with everyone.
Us: And, Peta, you’re getting married this summer! Is the planning done?
PM: We’re finishing up the final touches! It’s going to be really special. Maks and I call each other husband and wife already. Then we also joke around that we’re baby mama and baby daddy. I actually get anxiety when I think about walking down the aisle. I’ve performed for a living in front of millions of people but walking down the aisle just makes me nervous. [Laughs.] I don’t think I’ll be doing good until it’s time to party.
For more from Viall and Murgatroyd, pick up the new issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.
Dancing With The Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. EST.