Olympian Laurie Hernandez is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about her quest to take home the Dancing With the Stars season 23 mirrorball trophy! Check back each week for her latest update on the competition.
This week we got a perfect score — I like getting a perfect score because that means we did the dance totally perfect and there were no flaws! I was so happy. Every week I hope for 10s, but the main goal is just to go out there and do a perfect dance and do the best that we can, and if the dance feels good, which it did and it felt beautiful, then I'm sure that the scores would come.
I can’t believe I made everyone cry. I wasn’t crying just because it’s really hard to get happy tears from me, so when people were crying I was like, “Oh no, please don’t cry!” I couldn’t believe Val cried. Everybody said, “We’ve never ever seen him cry on this show before!” It was crazy! I didn’t realize how much of an effect I had on him. Plus the song and the dance were really pretty, so that made it extra emotional.
It’s great to be able to be able to touch his heart like that. It makes me feel really good. I'm not saying that his crying makes me feel good, but the fact that he cares so much about dancing and handing down his passions and his experiences to me, it's really nice. I’m so glad we’re still getting along even though we’ve been traveling together and spending so much time together. We don’t fight because don’t have anything to fight about. He’s like a big brother to me.
This week I’ll have traveled to Nashville, New York, Philadelphia and then I’m not sure where after that. Because I’m a minor, I get one day off a week, and this week I got to go to the CMAs with the rest of the Final Five, so that was pretty exciting! I was just excited to see Carrie Underwood, and then Beyoncé was so amazing I thought I would pass out!
It was also fun to do something with the other girls — when we’re on the tour we’re together, but we’re busy because we’re doing the show so we don’t get to just hang out. Everyone keeps asking me when I have time to rest. I’ll tell you when: I get all my sleep on planes. If the flight is five hours, my nap is five hours! I’ll sleep through the whole flight. I settle in and put my headphones on — I have a sleep playlist I listen to to relax me. There are a lot of Tori Kelly songs and Sam Smith on there.
On Thursday I started rehearsal for this week. Our individual dance this week is an Argentine Tango — it’s Broadway week and we’re dancing to "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, so that will be pretty cool. We’re also paired with Jana and Gleb for a dance and that’ll be a contemporary-ish freestyle, so that’s exciting. It’s pretty overwhelming to learn so many dances — we had to learn four last week! So I was relieved we got the jive for the dance-off because that’s the one we’re most comfortable with.
It’s crazy that we’re in week 9. I think the thing that hit me most was three couples getting a perfect score last week — it just shows how good everyone is and how much everyone is improving. And Ryan Lochte leaving was sad because we definitely bonded over the last few weeks. We didn't even meet in Rio so we were excited to meet for the first time at Dancing — we bonded over the fact that we’re both Olympians.
I can’t believe we’re almost at the end! It’s a lot of pressure. But it’s OK, I’m still trying to have fun while I’m dancing. And I am!
Watch Dancing With the Stars Monday, November 7, on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
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