Aly Raisman, Mark Ballas
Forget the Fierce Five. Aly Raisman has made the final five of Dancing with the Stars and is one step closer to the Mirrorball trophy. "It feels awesome. I can't believe how fast the competition has been," she tells TVGuide.com. "Week 1 feels like it was forever ago, but at the same time, the finals are only a week away." The Olympic champ will have two chances to make her case for the finals on Monday with a rumba and a Twitter-voted Afro-jazz. Find out what she and Mark Ballas have planned, why they wanted Afro-jazz and what she thinks of Len Goodman's outburst at Kellie Pickler and Derek Hough last week.
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You guys were the only brave souls who wanted Afro-jazz. Why did you want it?
Aly Raisman: I think that's kind of why we did want it. [Laughs] No one else wanted it, but we're not scared of it! Mark and I love a challenge. It's never been done on the show. I think it's just really cool. I always like to try different things and try things out of the box, and Mark's so creative, so I trust him.
Has he ever done it before?
Raisman: No, he's never done it before. He's been watching videos on YouTube and trying to figure out some of the dance moves. It's just really high-energy and it's going to take a lot of cardio.
Has he brought in any outside help?
Raisman: No, he's doing it by himself, so that's pretty amazing.
Do you think that's an advantage — it has never been done on the show and no one knows what it looks like?
Raisman: No, I don't think so. You still have to get into character and show you know what you're doing and be exactly in sync. I think as soon as we start, everyone will get an idea of what it is. It's kind of like a tribal dance. It's not a smiley dance. And if the judges aren't familiar with it either, I'm sure they'll do their research.
Do you guys have a story?
Raisman: Not for the Afro-jazz. For the rumba, the story is about how a guy and a girl are in love and the guy screws up. The girl still loves him, but she knows she can't take him back. I hope it's going to be really beautiful and I hope I nail it!
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You have to pretend you're in love Mark again.
Raisman: I know! It's so hard! [Laughs] I have to be an actress this week. I really have to play up the character. It's also hard because I've never been in that situation before so I really have to imagine it. It's very different for me. The rumba is also about grace and beauty and I'm used to being powerful, so that's more of a challenge. Your feet have to be very, very turned out. Every step you take is slow, so you have to make sure you're correct on every single step. And the Afro-jazz has bigger movements, so they could not be any more completely different.
What do you think you have to do or work on to get into the final?
Raisman: I think just really getting to character of both dances. I really want to make the final. The Afro-jazz has to be full of energy, so I really have to wow people. The rumba — I want people to feel something and not just think it's another rumba. I hope they understand the story that I love him, but I can't be with him. If they don't feel something, then I did it wrong! [Laughs]
Carrie Ann [Inaba] would call you out on it.
Raisman: Yeah, hopefully she'll be pleased this week. She was happy last week with our emotional connection.
What did you think of Len losing it on Kellie and Derek last week?
Raisman: I'm not really sure what to make of that. I thought Kellie was absolutely amazing. I love what Derek and Tristan [MacManus] put together, so I was really surprised he did it. I don't really know what happened. We were next, so we were watching it on a TV in the back and we were in shock over it. I felt bad for Kellie because she just finished her dance and she's just standing there while he's going after them. I felt awful.
I thought he was doing another fake-out.
Rasiman: Yeah! That's what my mom said. But I was actually watching him when Carrie Ann went and Bruno went, and you could see that he was just getting ready to go after them. I was happy for Kellie that she got two 10s — focus on the positive. I thought her dances were absolutely incredible. Her waltz was her best performance. I was up close, so I could really see the emotion and she was really feeling it. She thought of her grandma the whole time, and you could definitely see that. It was really beautiful. And both of hers were different, and you could see the skill involved.
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You seemed really bummed that Sean [Lowe] left.
Raisman: I'm really sad Sean's gone. He'll still be in L.A., so I'll see him. I've gotten to know Sean really well and he's so funny. He and Peta [Murgatroyd] are my favorite people. They always make me laugh. They're always in a good mood, and you always want to be around them. And it's funny because in the beginning, I never expected to get close with Sean, but he's such a nice guy and so down-to-earth. We always hung out on set. He's like an older brother.
If you make the final, will you throw in a Murgalo in your freestyle in tribute to them?
Raisman: [Laughs] Maybe! I think I did it the second week, so it's been a while.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.