Season 28 of Dancing With the Stars is in full swing and one of its pros, Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy, took time away from her jam-packed rehearsals to chat about the show, her DWTS partner Karamo Brown and her husband, fellow cast member Val Chmerkovskiy. Johnson has continued to excel and dazzle on Dancing With the Stars.
Read on below for our exclusive interview with Johnson to find out what she hopes for this season.
HEAVY: So how are rehearsals going so far this season?
JOHNSON: They’re going really well. Busy as ever, but all worth it.
HEAVY: Were you surprised about Ray Lewis’ injury and having to leave? There are so many injuries that have happened on the show over the course of the series. It could happen any time, right?
JOHNSON: I know. I was so sad because Ray is just the sweetest person ever and no one wants to see anyone get hurt during the competition. It was really a shock for us and we didn’t know if there was still going to be an elimination. But, we’re wishing Ray well in his recovery and we were all glad there was no elimination.
HEAVY: I feel like there are so many good contenders this season. It’s crazy.
JOHNSON: Yeah. It’s a very fierce competition this season, which is awesome because I think it keeps everyone motivated and working hard …
HEAVY: Karamo just seems like he’d be a really fun partner.
JOHNSON: He is. We laugh probably 90 percent of our rehearsals. He keeps things very entertaining, super fun. He’s a great partner to have.
HEAVY: Is there anything you can say about gearing up for week 3?
JOHNSON: So, this coming week, there’s no theme, which is nice. We can just focus on the dancing. And, I’m really excited because, so far, Karamo and I have had really upbeat, fast-paced dances and this week, we’re going to be showing a different side of Karamo. So, I’m super excited.
HEAVY: So, how is the at-home competitiveness with Val?
JENNA: People love this question. They think we’re like at each other’s throats, but, honestly, he is my biggest supporter. I do not know what I would do without him. He keeps me calm. He keeps me level-headed. I think I also get very stressed out watching him as well because I want him to do well with his partner Sailor. It’s crazy. I feel like I’m going through double the nerves on show days because I’m nervous about my piece and I’m nervous about his piece. And, I just want him to be so successful, but it’s really nice to have someone to go through this process with.
HEAVY: It’s such a grueling schedule, so it must be nice for you to be able to do something together.
JENNA: Totally. Yeah. It’s the best.
HEAVY: With this season’s new format, I feel like the show is focusing even more on the dancing.
JENNA: Yeah. This season they really tried to make some adjustments and changes. I think it’s new in a positive way, but it also puts pressure on the pros because we really want to showcase the dances as well as our partners. But, it’s been good. It’s been a great challenge for us and I think it’s brought some new energy to the show in general.
HEAVY: So what are you most looking forward to getting out of this season?
JENNA: Well, originally when I found out Karamo was my partner, I was like, “This is free therapy. I’m going to have a therapist for the next three months.” He hasn’t read me yet or hasn’t told me how psychotic I am yet, so I’m waiting for that comment. (Laughing) Also, I’m excited for Disney week, always. Disney Night’s my favorite. I’m hoping we get to Disney Night and I know there’s some big surprises in store.
Tune in to watch DWTS season 28 on Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT on the ABC network.