Derek Hough, Ricki Lake Derek Hough, Ricki Lake

Carson Kressley is gone, leaving Ricki Lake one step closer to the Mirror Ball trophy. You'd think the woman would be fearless. You'd be wrong. Lake, 43, who had a highly successful syndicated talk show for 11 years — and did a documentary about giving birth at home to one of her two children — couldn't even enjoy making it through to next week's show on Dancing With the Stars, Broadway Week, because the next dance, the Quick Step, terrifies her. 

Why? She tries to explain, delicately. "Because when you're a mother and you've given birth and you jump up and down, what tends to happen?" she asks. "You tinkle a little bit sometimes. I can't go on a trampoline, for example. So I'm a little concerned.  For the record, it hasn't happened yet." 

Aren't there products made for that? "Yes, but I don't want to wear those products!" she says, horrified.

"Don't worry, you can 'depend' on me," quips her pro partner, Derek Hough, 26. Hough tries to reassure Lake by giving her something else to worry about: Him. "When we were doing the tango last week, I was super tough on her," says Hough. "And this week, doing the fox trot, we sort of just went through it. So today I said to her, 'You got Tango Derek back next week, because that one gets results.'"

"I did better when he was mean to me," admits Lake, now taking a back seat in the standings to actor and Iraqi war veteran J.R. Martinez, who ignited the ballroom with his blistering samba and shot to the top of the leader board.

When she entered the competition, Lake was talking trash about winning the whole thing. Now that reality has set in, and she's battling not only the charismatic Martinez but a pair of very sore knees, it's just about making it to the next round. "I haven't had a life," she says. "Everything has been put on the back burner because of Dancing With the Stars.'"

Is she a quitter? No way, no matter how many times she says in the rehearsal studios that she can't do something. She seems to hit a wall every week. But despite her fears, this is one tough cookie. She's going to tackle the Quick Step, one foot at a time. "I had my baby at home in the bathtub," she says. "So if I can do that, I can pretty much do anything."

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine today!