Aly Raisman, Mark Ballas Aly Raisman, Mark Ballas

Aly Raisman is focused on one thing this week on Dancing with the Stars. "I want to impress Carrie Ann [Inaba]," she tells "She said I held back the first week and that I went out of character last week, so I don't want her to think that again this week." Raisman and her partner Mark Ballas have contemporary, and this week's theme is the Best Year of Your Life. Needless to say, that was 2012 for the Olympic champ. Find out what they have in store and get her take on the men vs. women Dancing debate.

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This is your first dance with lifts. How's that going?
It's going well. Mark always has awesome ideas. I don't think we'll have a ton, but I'm not worried about doing them or anything. The dance is very mature, so I like that a lot. And learning the choreography has been easier because this one has lyrics throughout the whole song. . That's how Mark is choreographing it. Plus, I've been through it, so I know what it's like and what the song is saying. Maybe "easier" is not the right word, but I understand it more. This dance is all feeling and all intensity.

So can you do your own Olympics face instead of Mark's faces?
[Laughs] I think it'll just be serious faces. Mark does make intense faces. I laugh at him in rehearsal, but I don't think he realizes it.

Were you happy with your Viennese waltz?
Yeah, I was really happy. I wish I got three 8s, but that's OK. I'm not complaining. I really want to impress Carrie Ann. She said I held back the first week and that I went out of character this week, so I don't want her to think that again. I'm working on the performance aspect of this, so hopefully I'll do a good job and she'll love it. Of course I want to impress all the judges. I was happy last week when Bruno [Tonioli] and Len [Goodman] stood up for me. I thought that was really cool.

Len pulled a fast one on you on April Fool's Day.
[Laughs] Oh, my God! I totally believed him. He would say something like that. If he doesn't like something, he'll straight-up tell you. Mark thought he was serious too. I think everyone thought he was serious.

He's tough to please. Do you think he's been too harsh on D.L. [Hughley]? Saying he would've scored him lower on re-watch is adding salt to the wound.
Yeah, I feel bad for D.L. He's a great guy and he's been working really hard. You can totally see the improvement in him every week. It's not an overnight transformation, but he is getting better. Everyone is coming in at a different level and has different ability. Hopefully Len will be happy with it this week. ... I think they realize they're being harsh, but it's part of the show. Maybe they have expectations of him, so they're pushing him. I don't know. I can't really tell yet. I know they're not doing it to be mean. The judges are all really nice people.

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