Melissa Joan Hart
After a delightful Charleston that saw her jump nine points on the leaderboard — the best one-week improvement in Dancing with the Stars history — Melissa Joan Hart knows everyone else is gunning for her now. "I've got to watch my back!" she tells TVGuide.com, citing Mya, Kelly Osbourne and Natalie Coughlin as her biggest competition. "Natalie's really good. She's coming alive. It's going to be tough." It will be even tougher this week for the former Sabrina, the Teenage Witch star to maintain her top spot as couples must prepare three dances: an individual dance, the group hustle and a knockout dance (to be performed by the pairs in the bottom two). Find out how Hart's handling her trio of dances, why she and partner Mark Ballas are like a "little married couple" and more.
TVGuide.com: How does it feel to hold the record for the best week-to-week improvement in scores?
Melissa Joan Hart: That was great! I was so excited. I thought it was going to be a good one for me because I had seen the dance, but you just never know how the judges are going to react, and the audience as well. It turned out to be really good, and we got the encore, which is a huge honor. I never thought I'd be making history, but it's amazing. It just really doesn't seem like a record I could break! I don't expect to score that high again, or at least for a while.
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TVGuide.com: You can still get a perfect 30.
Hart: I am totally open to that! So we'll see!
TVGuide.com: You've got the Argentine tango, the group hustle and a knockout dance this week. How's that going?
Hart: It's so hard with three dances. There's more acting involved with the tango and that makes me more comfortable. I definitely feel more at home when I can be a character so I'm going to play into that this week. The hustle is tough. It's a lot of different personalities trying to do something together, but it's a lot of fun. Hopefully it'll look better on TV by the time we get there! Mark chose the salsa [as our knockout dance], so we'll see happens there. We really only got started Thursday with our tango. No one will tell me if the knockout dance is happening because the double eliminations are off [due to Tom DeLay's withdrawal], so it's confusing. Hopefully we won't have to do it.
TVGuide.com: Mark has won two Mirrorballs. Do you think you can bring him the third so he can be the first pro to win three?
Hart: That'd be nice! [Laughs] I'd love that, but I don't know! I don't know if being with him was a good thing or a bad thing. I don't know if they put me with him because they thought, "You're good enough to dance with him," or if they thought, "Hey, you're not that great, so you need to dance with him." So I don't know if it's a positive or a negative, but we're having a good time and we'll see what happens.
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TVGuide.com: They've been showing arguments and points of tension between you and Mark in rehearsals. Is that played up or just something you guys went through?
Hart: Yeah, there was tension there. There's a lot of pressure on all of us. It wasn't just us. Everybody has had some problems. It's been nine weeks now of working closely with these people every single day and not having known these people before is tough. We feel like we're a little married couple, but it's not what we're like all the time.
TVGuide.com: The judges have been very harsh so far. What gives?
Hart: They're pretty consistently tough though, so that's a good thing. But what was driving me nuts was that every week, they would say "most improved," "so improved" for me and they still gave me the same score. I got an 18, 19 and a 19. It didn't make sense to me, so it was great to get the 28 after putting all that work in and hearing their comments. But they've been tough, and everyone's been complaining about that. I think Len [Goodman] totally explained his position with Mya last week. He holds her to a higher standard. Everybody comes in with different strengths and weaknesses, like my [score of] 5 is not the same as her 5. He's not giving up easy scores because he wants her to work for it, but that's good for everybody. It's probably really beneficial to her because she's striving to work harder and it makes her fans vote.
Donny Osmond: I'm going to kiss Carrie Ann next!
TVGuide.com: Your son, Mason, was totally adorable last week. Will we see more of him?
Hart: He's not here right now. He's back home on the East Coast with daddy, so not any time soon unless I stay for a few more weeks, and then they'll come back.
TVGuide.com: How hard is it being away from your family?
Hart: My mother-in-law is there taking care of them. It's bittersweet. I'm getting a lot of time to focus on the dancing. They were here last week when I did the Charleston, which was great because I had a lot of down time. It was one dance and I picked it up pretty quickly so I had a lot of time to spend with them. But now they're home. I've got to make it through another week and a half without losing it and wanting to go home!
TVGuide.com: And in a few more weeks, you're receiving an award from Lupus L.A. Can you tell us more about that?
Hart: Yeah, it's the Hollywood Bag Ladies Luncheon. It's one of my favorite events of the whole year. They're going to honor me this year, which is really lovely. It's going to be really fun. Lupus is very close to my heart because a lot of my friends have lost sisters to the disease. I'm just trying to get people to be aware of it. Hopefully they're not far off from figuring it out and I'm trying to be a part of that. I can't imagine losing a sister. My friend, who's president of the foundation, has it as well. He's one of the few men who has lupus. It's a terrible little disease that just sneaks up on you. I just hope we're closer to figuring it out.