His mother made him do the show. He wanted to quit the first week. And for the first weeks of rehearsal, he couldn't even look his pro partner, Cheryl Burke, in the eye.
Sources inside Dancing With the Stars say Rob Kardashian making it all the way to the finals has been nothing short of miraculous. He cops to not wanting to do the show at all, and being pushed by his mom, Kris Jenner, the master reality show puppeteer who pulls the family strings. "My mom made me do the show," says Kardashian, 24. "She forced me to do it. I had the ultimate decision, but it's something I never pictured myself doing, nor did 80 percent of the world think I could do."
Ask him if he wanted to quit the first week, and he says it didn't go that far. "I didn't really want to quit," he says. "I just didn't think I could do it. I knew I had to do it. I'm doing something that's completely outside my comfort zone. I'm not a performer. But with Cheryl's help, I just kind of built confidence, week after week, and then eventually I realized, you know what? I can do this. The fact that we're in the position that we're in? I shocked myself."
Burke says it's true that in the beginning, Kardashian was so shy and unsure of himself that he couldn't look her in the eye. "Not for longer than a couple of seconds," she says. "It was just that whole confidence issue, but he's definitely grown into that."
And now, despite going up against the fiercely competitive Ricki Lake and J.R. Martinez, he says he actually thinks he has a shot at winning. "We got a 10 for the samba last night, which everyone says is the hardest dance," says Kardashian. "So that just gives me a tremendous amount of confidence, going into the finals."
How much confidence? Says Burke, "He can look me in my eyes, now."