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Ariana Madix Reacts to ‘DWTS’ Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Saying She Could Win: ‘What’s Happening?’ (Exclusive)

Ariana Madix is having a great season on Dancing With the Stars — so much so that judge Carrie Ann Inaba thinks she could win the entire competition.

“It’s the coolest thing ever to hear her say that,” Madix, 38, exclusively told Us Weekly after the Tuesday, October 31, episode of the ballroom dance show. “Carrie Ann is a tough critic. I know she doesn’t say that lightly. I just hope that in the coming weeks I can prove her right. [When she said that], I was like, ‘What’s happening?’”

The Vanderpump Rules star — whose DWTS partner is Pasha Pashkov — said that Inaba’s kind words only make her want to try harder as the season progresses. “I just don’t want to let her down after saying that,” Madix told Us. “I just want to keep getting better. … Two weeks from now, I hope to still be here and have her be like, ‘I was right.’”

Madix and Pashkov, 37, finished at the top of the leaderboard following their Tuesday routine, which earned them three 9’s and a 10, the latter from judge Bruno Tonioli. The duo performed an Argentine tango to “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish.

After their performance, Inaba, 55, was enthusiastic with her praise. “I think you have what it takes to win it,” she told Madix. “You have something spectacular.”

Ariana Madix Reacts to ‘DWTS’ Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Saying She Could Win: ‘What’s Happening?’
Pasha Pashkov and Ariana Madix on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ Disney/Eric McCandless

Madix told Us that it felt “crazy amazing” to finish at the top during Tuesday’s Monster Night episode. “We work so hard every day, and to see that hard work pay off for the judges or the crowd? To see that and feel that as well, it’s an awesome feeling,” she added.

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The reality star admitted that she’s feeling a bit nervous about rehearsing for next week’s episode, given that she’ll also be traveling to Las Vegas this weekend for BravoCon.

“We have two dances next week,” she told Us. When asked how she planned to fit her practices into her busy schedule over the next few days, she replied, “I don’t know. A miracle?”

Ariana Madix Reacts to ‘DWTS’ Judge Carrie Ann Inaba Saying She Could Win: ‘What’s Happening?’
Ariana Madix and Carrie Ann Inaba. Disney/Christopher Willard (2)

Despite the time crunch, she’s still excited to mingle with Bravo fans in Sin City. “It’s so incredible meeting so many people. It’s really, really fun,” she said, adding that she’s not looking forward to the lack of sleep. “It is not a marathon. It’s a sprint full out the whole time. … I’m just hoping that I don’t let my partner down or my team down next week when it comes to those two dances.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC and Disney+ Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Hannah Kahn

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