Chelsea Kane is just three dances (and a couple million votes) away from a spot in Dancing with the Stars’ final three, and she can’t believe it herself. “I knew when I went on [the show] that a lot of the viewing audience had absolutely no clue who I was, so I was really afraid that I would be going home [early],” she tells TVGuide.com. “The fact the fact that people who haven’t seen me before have invited me into their home and have voted for Mark [Ballas] and me into the semifinals is just amazing. I’m so flattered and I’m really having the time of my life.” The Disney star has her work cut out for her this week: Besides two individual routines, she will face off with the other three couples in a winner-takes-all cha-cha with 15 points on the line. But after her and Ballas’ heart-to-heart about his ‘tude towards Len Goodman, Kane says the duo is “clicking better ever.”
Were you taken aback when Mark kept talking back to Len?
Chelsea Kane: When you spend 10 hours every day in the rehearsal studio, just leaving blood, sweat and tears on the dance floor to come up with something really amazing to perform, and to have someone go, “Eh, I didn’t really get it,” it hurts a little. The pressure builds ups and Mark is extremely passionate, and I think that’s why his dances are so amazing and why he got so upset with Len. He wants to do well and wants me to do well. Sometimes he lets his heart get the best of him. The minute we start stressing and being frustrated, we’ve lost sight of why we’re here. I think we’re back on track now and it paid off. We came out on top the leader board.
Is Mark completely over the whole thing?
Kane: I think he’s over it in the sense that we’re having fun again. We’ve had fun every week, but the pressure started to build up and we were getting wrapped up in what the judges were going to say. We want to put on performances that not only made the judges happy, but the audience, who are 12 seasons in and are looking for something different. I think that’s what we’re doing. We’re having fun creating.
And now you have to create three dances.
Kane: I know! I’m a little stressed out. That means I’m learning a dance a day. There’s no room for having an off day anymore. Every dance is so different. We have the rumba and Argentine tango, which are unlike anything we’ve ever done before, so it’s not like we can really incorporate moves we’ve used in other dances. I’m definitely nervous.
Are you more focused on the individual dances or the cha-cha?
Kane: We started with our winner-takes-all cha-cha. The couple that wins gets an extra 15 points. That is a huge deal! Usually first, second and third place are only separated by a few points. To have an extra 15 points, like, pretty much guarantees you a spot up top and maybe even in the finals.
This is the third time all of you will be doing the cha-cha. What’s the deal? Why didn’t they assign a new dance or a different one that you’ve already done?
Kane: [Laughs] The cha-cha has made a lot of appearances this year! I think it’s because it’s something we’re all relatively good at it and, like you said, we have all done it twice already. It may be easier getting back into it in a week with three dances as opposed to learning a completely new one or something, even if that would maybe be more exciting.
What’s your plan for the other two dances? The judges have harped on you for focusing too much on the story.
Kane: Yeah, the funny thing is that we’ve been so out-of-the-box that now when we go traditional, people are like, “Whoa! We didn’t see that coming!” We are going a little more traditional. Whenever we get our music, it’s not like we sit down and go, “What can we go to get us in trouble?” Mark really comes up with choreography based on what the music gets out of him. I mean, when you get Deadmau5 and Harry Potter, you really gotta go with it! [Laughs] This week, we have two really beautiful, really classic songs, so I think the dances will reflect that.
Is there anything you’re working on improving this week?
Kane: I think everything. The cha-cha — making it straight-legged and technically perfect. We want to win that. So far, Kirstie Alley has been such a fan-favorite with her cha-chas that we definitely have serious competition! I think with Argentine tango — just making it sexy and not overly aggressive and selling that. The rumba — making it sexy as well and smooth. … I’m glad these [two] dances are coming toward the end of the run, now that I’m a little more comfortable in my own skin and a little more comfortable with Mark and being out on the dance floor.
Are you thinking about the finals at all or are you just concerned with the semis right now?
Kane: We’re definitely thinking about the finals. I know I am! We’re putting in every ounce of effort we can to make it there. I would love to be there. You don’t want to go home when there are still opportunities to dance. We still have stuff up our sleeves. I think we can do something great in the freestyle. The ideas we have for the freestyle are ridiculous! [Laughs] So, I hope we can get there and show everyone!
Have you had any more water fights?
Kane: [Laughs] Oh my God! No! No more water fights. We got into so much trouble for that. Never again!