Jake Pavelka got a rude awakening on his first day of Dancing with the Stars rehearsals. "I have no dance experience, but I have done the two-step and three-step and salsa. I kind of boasted about that a little bit," he tells TVGuide.com. "Then Chelsie [Hightower] goes, 'I've got to tell you something, Jake. You don't know how to dance.' I was like, 'Thank you for shattering all of my confidence!'" The former Bachelor star has since learned the Viennese waltz, which earned him a score of 20 this week, and is now working on the jive, a dance that is doing a number on his knee. See why he's having so much trouble, what he has to say to those who are still mad he chose Vienna over Tenley and more.
TVGuide.com: You said in the video package that you feel dumb in rehearsal. Do you really or was that just one down moment?
Jake Pavelka: No, it's like that every day! [Laughs] I look at myself in the mirror and I feel dumb. ... I'm not trying to play the woe-is-me card, but the one thing I did on The Bachelor is that I was just myself. If I felt stupid or felt awkward, it was just that. Dancing with the Stars is just taking me right back there. It's funny because it's such a wild, physical ride. I mean, nobody wants to look dumb. It doesn't matter who you are!
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TVGuide.com: Are you struggling that much with the jive?
Pavelka: It's not every move, but it's particular parts of the routine that you're trying to build up your emotions. It's a fun dance, a fast dance. You're trying to make yourself look good. I do that macho thing where I try to appear confident with the moves, but I'm not!
TVGuide.com: You have a bunch of blisters, but no injuries yet, right?
Pavelka: Oh, so many blisters! My dad, who's a doctor, said the best thing to do with a blister is to leave it or if it pops, use Vaseline to stop infection. My right knee — wow. There's a move in our jive. It's a really heavy dip that we do real quick. You know what your rear feels like when you get a booster shot? [Laughs] My knee feels like that every time I walk. Chelsie has been stretching the snot out of me to prevent [injuries]. It hurts bad. We do 45 minutes every single morning. She just walks over and turns me into a pretzel until I cry. I haven't had a lot of seriously pulled muscles like some other dancers.
TVGuide.com: You've done weight-lifting. Does that give you an edge at all?
Pavelka: It's really good because I can lift Chelsie and move her around really easy. The problem is the muscles you develop lifting weights are really short and powerful. Those are not dancer muscles. Chelsie's muscles are really long and slender and powerful.
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TVGuide.com: How did you get involved with the show? Did ABC approach you?
Pavelka: ABC approached me just before the final [Bachelor] episode, like two days before. I was like, "Are you serious?" I was really flattered and wanted to say, "Yes, yes, yes! I will, I will, I will!" But I told them I had to think about it because I had promised Vienna we'd go to Dallas and start working on the relationship. Now I might throw her into this. This is like training for the Olympics. It's crazy! You get up at 5:30 in the morning, you're in the studio for six to eight hours, you do yoga or Pilates, you ice yourself down. I told her and she goes, "You didn't tell them yes?!" [Laughs] She got more excited than I did. She's gotten onboard and has been awesome.
TVGuide.com: Tenley has said she wishes she was doing Dancing. Do you think she should've been offered a spot?
Pavelka: Her job is to dance. I think that would kind of defeat the purpose. They already have professional dancers. I'm not talking negatively about Tenley, but if she's truly interested in doing the show ... she should try to be a pro. I think they would look at her. She's a beautiful girl and has a bubbly attitude. People are just naturally drawn to her.
TVGuide.com: A lot of fans were mad you chose Vienna over her. Are you worried if that will affect voting?
Pavelka: I can't control that. I can only keep my chin as straight up as I possibly can and, like on The Bachelor, just take everybody for a ride. If they feel I'm worthy of another week, then they'll call in and vote. If they don't, I'll leave the competition the best dancer I can possibly be. I already feel so over-blessed to have this opportunity.
TVGuide.com: What do you have to say to fans who are still upset?
Pavelka: People who disagree with my decision need to understand that I did what was right for me. Tenley absolutely, positively was not right for me. ... I love her to death — if she called right now, I would drop everything and talk to her — but as far as the 60-years-down-the-road kind of relationship, emotionally we were there, but physically, we weren't. I think both of them are equally as important. Also, she talked about her ex-husband a lot. People ask me if it's editing, but no, she really did. And that's fine. I'm glad she could talk to me about it, but she just needs some time for Tenley.
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TVGuide.com: How are you and the rest of the cast getting along?
Pavelka: They're all family. The crazy thing is Chad [Ochocinco]'s competition, Nicole [Scherzinger]'s competition, everybody is competition, but I want to see them do well. ... Niecy Nash impressed me the most. She was great! I'm a huge fan! Her family is kind of like the Osmonds. They just adopt you. I find that with the cast, too. I was having a problem with a turn in our Viennese waltz and Derek noticed it, so he came in and showed me. Everybody helps everybody out.
TVGuide.com: Chelsie said she would choreograph your wedding dance. Whose idea was that?
Pavelka: [Laughs] That was actually Vienna's idea. We're a little ways away from that, but I think that would be awesome. We haven't set a date yet. We're trying to have a really mature relationship now. We have two nights a week where cell phones go away no matter what's going on and we spend the evening together, walk down the beach. It's just her and me. We get on the same page and talk about everything and make sure there's nothing bothering each other, just get really grounded.