Peta Murgatroyd won't be taking home the Mirrorball trophy this year.
The Dancing with the Stars pro and her partner, Pretty Little Liars star Brant Daugherty, were eliminated from the show Monday night, after eight weeks in the competition. TVGuide.com caught up with Murgatroyd on Tuesday to discuss their shocking dismissal, and get her thoughts on how Cher did as a guest judge.
You and Brant have had pretty consistently high scores for the most part this season. Were you surprised to be sent home last night?
Peta Murgatroyd: Yeah, it sucks. I definitely think we were a little bit surprised with the elimination. I mean, we're never thinking we're definitely safe every week, but because Brant has been doing so well — we've been getting constant 9s and some 10s — it was kind of shocking to us. But it could be anybody because this season is just so, so tough. Everyone is just so talented, so you just don't know.
Your rehearsal time was cut short this week because Brant had to be back on set for Pretty Little Liars. Do you think that had an impact on your performances last night?
Murgatroyd: I really don't think it did. We lost a day, but we made up for it with extra hours on some other days. I just think it was that people didn't think that we needed the votes. Maybe they thought, 'Okay, they've got enough people voting. We'll vote for somebody else to stay in.' It really comes down to the viewers at home who are voting. They keep you on the show. The scores, it's 50/50, but in the end it's the viewers.
You guys lost the dance-off to Leah and Tony. How did you feel about your routine?
Murgatroyd: The dance-off couldn't have gone any better for us. Brant did an amazing job. I mean, we whipped together three routines in two days. So he had so much choreography to remember this week, like everybody else did as well. I was super proud of him for doing it. Leah and Tony won, but that's just how it rolls. It happens.
Did you feel an added sense of pressure dancing in front of Cher?
Murgatroyd: Yeah, I think there was a little bit more pressure, definitely. She's an icon. She's a pop diva. She's amazing. So we were all pretty nervous to be judged by her. But she seemed pretty unanimous across the board with just being generally beautiful and nice to every single couple. Actually, after we got our scores and they cut to an ad break, we went over to the judges' table to speak to all the judges as we usually do, just to get more feedback from them. And Cher was just like, "You guys have amazing smiles, amazing chemistry." She was just all praise. So I was thrilled with that. Brant was happy with our performance, so I'm super proud.
It's been kind of a running joke that Brant and Jack Osbourne have a rivalry going on this season. At the end of the night, it came down to you and Brant vs. Jack and Cheryl. Did Jack say anything to you afterwards?
Murgatroyd: We're all such good friends and we love Jack and Cheryl so much. So, everyone was sad. Everyone was kind of joining with us. It wasn't a happy time. We didn't want to leave. We felt it was too early. We hadn't shown America what we can absolutely do. But Jack was super cool, as always.
Who was the most surprising star to you in the competition, in terms of how far they've made it or how much they've improved?
Murgatroyd: Snooki. At first, I didn't think she was going to go far at all, just from myself being ignorant and not knowing her very well. She's an amazing person and she's an awesome cheerleader. And she really rocked those lifts and just really killed it every week with Sasha. I was really impressed by her. You could see how sad she was at the end of the show. She was devastated to be out. She's actually a really soft person. Jack, too. Jack has come a long way. He really stepped it up in the end. Yeah, those two.
How was it working with Brant?
Murgatroyd: Brant was amazing to work with. He has an incredible work ethic. He would come in pretty much every day and be half an hour early, for training. So he would be in there going over his steps and making sure he had everything down before I got there. I think we've built a great bond. We have a great chemistry, and that comes from having a great respect for one another and a great friendship, a great love for one another. Having respect is everything when you get in the dance studio, because you have five to eight hours a day with this person, and you need to be able to get along with them. He was just a dream. It was really, really fun and we had so many laughs that we can look back on and just think, wow, that was an incredible journey. I'm always proud of the fact that my partners don't have dance experience, and to see Brant come so far and he can actually dance now, he can say he's actually a dancer, is amazing. And that just shows how hard he has worked for the past three months. I think it's a great thing to have, and I'm very proud of him.
There's been some tension between some of the pairs in recent weeks, but that never seemed to be the case with you two.
Murgatroyd: We never got tense with one another. We always just took breaks regularly and just talked out whatever we need to talk out. Neither of us are fighters or shouters or anything like that, so it worked really well.
If there was one dance, you wish you could have gone back and done differently, what would it be?
Murgatroyd: I think I would have changed our salsa up a little bit, actually. I would have just done some things differently. We finished it right at the end of the week, the choreography, so some things were still a little bit iffy. And that was the point where you can't do that. You can't fix choreography at the end of the week. You have to have it done before that, because the celebrity can't handle it. It just gets to be too much. So that's one thing that I would take back, for sure.
Did you feel that you were scored fairly each week?
Murgatroyd: Yeah, I think the judges were amazing to us this season. We always would take on their comments positively and make sure we use them in the next week. I think they were really great for us.
How do you like the new single night format?
Murgatroyd: I didn't mind the new single night format, because it's just jam-packed with everything that Dancing with the Stars has to offer. People don't have to watch three hours of dancing a week. But I really do miss all the acts and performers that they would have on Tuesdays. Like when Cher came in this week, it was such a treat for us to sit there and not do a pro number or anything, and just watch a performer, instead of us performing all the time. So, that's what I miss, having a Tuesday show to just relax and then have voting at the end.
How does this season measure up to previous seasons?
Murgatroyd: Personally, I think it's been the toughest season because of the talent. The celebrities have been incredible this season, and I think the casting department did an amazing job. There's such an array of different celebrities and different personalities on the show. I think I've made the best of friends in this season in particular with some celebrities. So I'm really happy about that.
Were you surprised by Brant and Peta's elimination?
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.