In case you're wondering, Kurt Warner still doesn't know the difference between flexed knees and bent knees. "I have no idea. I don't even know which one I'm supposed to have!" the Dancing with the Stars contestant tells TVGuide.com nearly a week after judge Len Goodman criticized his knee technique. "Because I'm so tall, Anna [Trebunskaya] always tells me to bend my knees. ... I just listen to her. She tries to focus on the things that are most important." This week, the former Arizona Cardinals quarterback has yet another thing to worry about —the Instant Dance.
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TVGuide.com: With Rick Fox leaving, this means football trumps basketball on Dancing, right?
Kurt Warner: [Laughs] I don't know about all that. The thing is, you realize there's so much more to it than what you do on the floor. You really don't know how big fan bases are and who will vote. I think we all thought he'd be around for a while, but I guess at this point, we're probably going to be surprised by most of the people who will go.
TVGuide.com: You had the lowest score two weeks ago and stayed, so your fan base is obviously strong.
Warner: That was amazing. Talking to some of the people who came back for the 200th show — like Emmitt [Smith] was saying, "I wasn't the best dancer, but I won." Jennifer [Grey] and Brandy have obviously separated themselves from a dancing perspective. For the other three of us, it's about continuing to improve and entertain people every week. It's not going to be "Who's the best dancer?" We're not going to be better dancers than Jennifer and Brandy. I think the three of us are focused on having fun, improving and bringing out our personalities.
Dancing's Kyle Massey adds an "interesting twist" to tango
TVGuide.com: Did you have renewed vigor last week with the team dance and getting your personal best score?
Warner: The team dance was so much fun. You didn't worry so much about your individual performance from a technical standpoint. Everyone's like, "You can't dance." [Laughs] I know and I don't really care. Do I want to get better? Sure. Do I want to be a decent dancer? Sure. But I also understand that I've only done this for a month and a half. My goal is to enjoy it and entertain people. I don't know — 90 percent of the audience doesn't know what a perfect technical dance looks like. They usually connect to the performance. I try to get as good as I can with the dancing, but I really want to perform. I think some of our dances, our choreography and the stories we tell have really connected, and I think that's the reason we're still around.
TVGuide.com: This week, you have two dances and the Instant Dance for one of them. I think getting your music 20 minutes before the show is kind of sadistic. What do you think?
Warner: I guess, being the celebrity, I don't really understand why. It's hard enough to learn two dances — well, it's hard learning one — but to learn two different kinds and to throw this wrench into it, I don't understand the purpose. For me, it's so hard to hear the music because I've never done that before. Maybe it'll be an advantage because I don't hear the music anyway, or maybe it's going to be harder since I usually pick up some of the timing by hearing music during the week. I'm just kind of dumbfounded of what the purpose is. It's just like, "We're going to try to freak them out at the last minute."
Warner: She kind of feels the same way, like, "I don't really understand it." We'll make it work and go with it. I think the big question is: When you get your music, does it mean you adjust your routine? For us, it's not like we can go, "OK, take Part 3 and make it 1." You're working on muscle memory, too. But we're all in the same boat.TVGuide.com: The judges have been harsh on your technique — last week was your head sticking forward. Were you glad Emmitt pointed out that it's a habit of football players?
Warner: [Laughs] Yeah. So much of what athletes do is about momentum and moving the whole body in the same direction, and so much of dance is the opposite. I always tell Anna, "That's not right. It's counterproductive." My upper body's twisting one way and my legs move in another direction. ... I don't expect to be a perfect dancer. I have no problem being criticized, especially the other night. The way they did it was, "You were great, but you can work on this." It's like, "OK, no problem." I think that's what the show should be about, pointing out things that you can really apply for the next week to try to get better, but everybody leaves with a good feeling about their performance.
Warner: With the dancing — whatever happens happens. I wanted to show a different side of me, what I stand for. A lot of that has to do with our foundation [First Things First]. I think the show encourages people to learn more about you. It's been great. They see me enjoying life. Some are seeing me from a faith perspective. We [want to show] you can do the show in a particular way and still stand for what you believe in. I'm hoping people will see me more in the hopes of getting them to help out others through our foundation or other endeavors. We've got some children's apps we're coming out with through our foundation. We did a couple of DVDs a few years ago called The Good Sports Gang. It's a fun way to reach out to parents and kids.TVGuide.com: You and the guys play a football game on-set. I'm assuming you have a pretty fantastic record.
Warner: Well, I haven't lost yet, but that was kind of expected. [Laughs] It's my only way of evening things out because they all obviously trump me on the dance floor! Kyle [Massey]'s gotten a lot better. He's probably second best as far as record. Maks [Chmerkovskiy] and Tony [Dovolani] are not too bad. They've come a long way. Derek [Hough]'s started playing with us and he's pretty good. Rick didn't play every week, but he was good too. It's really been a great way to be connected as a cast.