Dancing With The Stars, Mya

Mya is "excited" Dancing with the Stars judge Len Goodman has finally lavished praise on her ballroom skills, but she's still feeling black and blue. "I have bruises all over my legs [from the Argentine tango]," she tells TVGuide.com. "My legs, I couldn't even expose on Monday. I had to wear fishnets because they were so bad makeup couldn't cover them up!" But the pain probably paled in comparison to what partner Dmitry Chaplin felt when she hit him where it really hurts in rehearsals. Find out what happened and more.

TVGuide.com: You finally got praise from Len. How did that feel?
[Laughs] Yes, it was such an accomplishment! I cannot complain about that. We've been working really, really hard to please him. It's been a little confusing because the first time, he said he wanted simplicity; the second time, he said he wanted simplicity; and the third time, he said he expected more. We were a little thrown off each time. The Argentine tango was more of a traditional dance, whereas the lambada was a little looser, so we thought we'd do really well with the intricacy of the choreography and the difficulty and the footwork. He liked it, but Carrie Ann and Bruno didn't think the performance aspect was there, so you can't please them all! ... I'm kind of thankful for [Len's criticism] because it didn't make me too comfortable!

Dancing's Melissa Joan Hart unsure if being paired with Mark is a "good thing or a bad thing"

TVGuide.com: How did his criticism affect rehearsals? Did you feel more pressure?
Yeah, well, we always feel the pressure to do better each week. But when the timeframe's shortened, I sort of wanted Dmitry to tone down the choreography, especially when Len said it was too much. It's hard to learn so much in so little time and be able to perform it and make it look easy. I ask him if we can change things that I just don't know how to do or that I cannot get after 25 times! ... Dmitry is a very accomplished guy and the stuff he throws at me is really, really difficult sometimes.

TVGuide.com: What happened in rehearsals last week? You kicked him where it hurts.
[Laughs] Not intentionally! I wouldn't do that! The choreography was so weird and you had to use a lot of footwork and your knees obviously elevate, and when you elevate while you're turning, you can definitely hurt someone! They only showed [one kick], but I kneed him in the [groin] a couple of times. I suggested he wear a cup!

Read Maks' Dancing blog

TVGuide.com: How do you feel about the jitterbug this week?
That'll be fun. It's kind of, like, rock 'n' roll. I love the contrast from week to week. There's nothing similar. Dmitry is now sick, so we'll see what happens. It's the beginning stages of something, so I think we're all going to get flu shots. So Dmitry needs a cup and a flu shot! All the pro dancers haven't gotten any rest because they have numbers to do every night, the Michael Jackson tribute and our knockout dance and our main dance and our group dance. They're working their behinds off.

TVGuide.com: Do you re-watch your routines?
I actually didn't for the first four weeks and I just started last week after we performed the lambada. I started watching to see where I could do better. I watched Monday's performance. I'm just happy it's over. That's the hardest dance so far. It had weird timing, rhythm, and is very painful. It's so contained, confined and all internal muscles working. You use almost every muscle in your body and I've never experienced so much shoulder pain or ankle pain in my life.

TVGuide.com: Carrie Ann said you were disconnected from your character in the Argentine tango. Are you going to focus on getting into character more this week?
Carrie Ann said I didn't have an internal dialogue and looked very distant — and I probably did! I was probably focusing too much on the steps because they're still not in my body. I don't want to mess up because if I do, it's noticeable and that's the last thing I want. I'd rather compromise a lack of character versus missing a step and messing up my whole routine.

TVGuide.com: You had the group hustle last week and this week there's the mambo marathon and the knockout dance for the bottom two. How crazy is it preparing multiple dances?
Our knockout dance is still not together! We haven't had the time to focus on it, but hopefully we won't have to perform it. We still have to be prepared because you never know. We chose the cha-cha. It's tough doing so many. The most challenging thing is having to shut things down with your managers and agents. They're doing their jobs and providing you with lots of opportunities, but you have to pick and choose. You have to say no. And they are lots of fun things, lots of parties, events, fashion shows. And then sometimes they get pissed off at you! [Laughs]

Catch up on all the ballroom action with our Dancing recaps

TVGuide.com: You should know you've topped our power rankings with a third of the vote twice already.
Wow! Really? Thank you! That makes me nervous! I just want to get better. I have to just zone out and compete with myself. I have to do better. I'm not there yet 100 percent, obviously — look at the scores. It's just about doing my best and pleasing the audience at this point. Whatever the scores are, they're going to be what they're going to be. But I always want to put on a great show and put my all into it.