Dancing with the Stars - Erin Andrews

It's no surprise that Erin Andrews feels unnatural on Dancing with the Stars — not because she has never danced, but because she's a self-described tomboy. "I'm sitting here looking at my face and seeing what all this makeup has done to me. It's like, 'Aaahh!'" she tells TVGuide.com. "There are just some things that you're not used to." The ESPN reporter, who will compete despite receiving death threats, is also not used to playing a character, but is determined to show off some acting skills in Monday's waltz. See who's been helping her out, why Dancing has been a "perfect release" after everything she's been through, and if Maksim Chmerkovskiy really does smell amazing.

TVGuide.com: How does it feel to make it through the first elimination?

Erin Andrews: I was so overjoyed! I was freaking out! I told Maks I needed a barf bag on the stage because heading into the day, I was so calm, cool and collected. I was acting like an idiot with Evan [Lysacek] and stuff. Then people started getting saved and I kept fidgeting. Maks was like, "Erin, you have to stay still! They're going to yell at us!" At one point, I looked at Tom [Bergeron] during the break and was like, "I don't like this anymore!" I started doing the Gator chomp when we were saved because that's where I went to school, but also because Maks has been trying to get the inner cheerleader out of me! That was like scoring the game-winning touchdown or the game-winning basket.

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TVGuide.com: You were on a dance team in college. Does that give you an advantage in any way?
Andrews: No, because it's not a dance background like Nicole [Scherzinger]'s or anything. It's totally different. I mean, this is ballroom. It's partner-dancing. We didn't do any of that. We had pom-poms and did halftime routines! It's nothing like this.

TVGuide.com: Maks said you have trouble getting into character. You have to tell a story in your waltz this week, so how's that going?
It's good because it's a lot like the foxtrot. It's the same posture and everything, so it's been fun. But yeah, it's hard for me to get into character. I went out to dinner with my friends after the show the other night and I still had all my make-up on and I just wanted to scrape it off with my fingernails. It's just not me. I dig the spray-tan! My feet will probably never be the same color again — they're like this weird brown-orange — but I like having a spray-tan. It doesn't smell that great though!

Catch up on Dancing with our recaps

TVGuide.com: Has getting into character been the most difficult thing for you?
Andrews: Probably. I'm kind of a nerd and a tomboy. I'm really going to have to try this week to be all va-va-voom. Niecy [Nash] — I'm obsessed with her! She's amazing. She was trying to give me a lecture on playing to the camera. "Erin, you're going to have to do it." I was like, "I know! But I'm kind of a dork." "Yes, I know you're a dork, but..." [Laughs] For the foxtrot, I was just glad that I didn't fall. My heel actually got caught in my skirt. That was the whole thing with Carrie Ann [Inaba] saying I was gripping onto Maks' bicep — I was so afraid to fall down so I grabbed onto him.

TVGuide.com: You were approached to do the show last year, right?
Yeah, but I had so much going on last year that doing it this year has been a perfect release for me. ... Last year, the [stalking case] was all everyone wanted to talk about, so now it's so nice to come on and be part of this and have something else to speak about. ... Everything that's happened has just made me stronger. ... Maks has been amazing. He's been very protective of me and he doesn't really let anyone get away with anything around me because he wants me to be OK. I've just been so appreciative of it.

TVGuide.com: You said he smells amazing. Does he really?
[Laughs] Yes! He smells amazing! We'd be rehearsing for hours and he'll be like, "Let's do it again," so he'll pull me up close to him, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, this is so unfair! I smell so bad right now." He's like a men's fragrance line at a department store. He's totally wearing cologne. He must put it on between breaks and stuff, but I don't know how he doesn't start to smell bad. He's probably got it down to a science now.

Read Maks' Dancing blogs

TVGuide.com: Is it true you have the longest legs in Dancing history?
Yes. Actually, for two of my dresses, the dress I'm going to wear this week and the purple dress that I just wore, the wardrobe department ran out of fabric. They had to start sewing it diagonally because they didn't get enough fabric for my leg! I'm 5'10", but I have an incredibly long torso and incredibly long legs. Plus, I'm wearing 3-and-a-half inch heels.

TVGuide.com: Who else are you close to in the cast besides Evan?
Oh my God, I love Evan! He's my partner-in-crime besides Maks. We have a good time with Anna [Trebunskaya]. I love Niecy, and her partner, Louis [van Amstel], is amazing. Chad [Ochocinco] and Cheryl [Burke] are wonderful. We go and dance in their studio. We have a really good time with everybody. I liked Shannen [Doherty] a lot and I was really surprised she left. It just proves how the votes really matter, which scares me a lot because my demographic is sports. I'm just hoping a lot of them are turning the channel and watching.

TVGuide.com: Speaking of sports, Monday's also the NCAA championship.
Yes! My bracket's been done for a very long time! [Laughs] I had Kansas winning. I'm not really going to make [a new prediction] because I just looked like an idiot throughout this whole thing, so I don't need any more embarrassment. I'm just excited to see who comes out of this thing. I don't think I'm going to be able to watch it though because I'll obviously be on the show.