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AJ McLean Blogs ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Premiere, Reveals Nod to Daughter in Opening Number (Exclusive)

Dancing With the Stars competitor AJ McLean is blogging exclusively with Us Weekly about his quest to take home the season 29 mirrorball trophy! Check back each week for his latest update on the competition.

The premiere went pretty well, as did rehearsals last week. The stress level started to go down, which was nice, and I finally got out of my head and just let the process take over and put all my trust in my partner and just left it all on the dance floor.

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Right before hitting the floor, I had a quick prayer and a quick little breathing meditation with Cheryl Burke, just to clear our heads. And we basically just said, ‘God, you go first, and we’re going to follow.’ Going first there is pressure because you’re kind of setting the bar for the night. Thankfully, though, we had the jive which was energy-filled. So it’s a great way to start the night — with energy and big smiles and hopefully bringing lots of joy to people. It’s nice to know that we got week one out of the way. Now, it’s when things really get crazy because we only have a couple days to learn a brand new dance. So I will let you know how I feel about week two you know! I’m diving in headfirst. I’m ready to go.

AJ McLean Blogs DWTs Premiere Cheryl Burke
AJ MCLEAN and CHERYL BURKE on the premiere of ‘DWTS.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

I feel like “Blinding Lights” was a great way to kind of start the show. I’m a huge fan of The Weeknd. My oldest daughter is a massive fan of The Weeknd, so it was kind of a little head nod to Ava, doing a Weeknd record, and just the ‘80s vibe. I’m a huge fan of the ‘80s, and I thought that the visuals, the wardrobe and everything were just perfect.

Related: Every 'Dancing With the Stars' Pro Through the Years: Where Are They Now?

I really appreciated everything that the judges said. Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Derek Hough were all very constructive. Now I have things I know that I have to work on, which is great. I think we started at the right scoring level so now we have somewhere to go. There’s nowhere but up from here. That’s what I feel.

As far as watching everybody else perform, everybody really surprised me because not a lot of people are dancers. Justina Machado, in my opinion, brought down the house. She was phenomenal. Everybody was great, but I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed her routine. It was just filled with so much energy, pizzazz and just spunk. It was awesome.

AJ McLean Blogs DWTs Premiere Cheryl Burke
AJ MCLEAN and CHERYL BURKE on the premiere of ‘DWTS.’ ABC/Eric McCandless

Now that I’ve watched everybody, I’m going to keep my eye on everybody because you just don’t know. With a competition show like this, it’s anybody’s game. None of us are ballroom dancers so you don’t know from week to week, who is going to really shine through and who might be a little bit behind. Between the judges and America’s votes, it’s kind of a crapshoot. I think all of us are going to keep giving 120 percent, enjoy the process and have fun. Hopefully, most importantly, we all remember that it’s not really about us. It’s about bringing joy to everybody at home, especially during such a trying time.

Related: 'Dancing With the Stars’ Winners Through the Years: Where Are They Now?

As far as my health regimen, I’ve been doing as good as I possibly can. The schedule has been a little crazy, so it’s been hard to really maintain the six meals a day. I did treat myself to a cheat meal after the premiere. I think I earned it. So, I ate a quarter pounder from McDonald’s. But, I’m ready to keep moving forward, and I’m excited.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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