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DWTS’ AJ McLean Details Cheryl Burke’s ‘Scary’ Fall, Previews Emotional Dance About Addiction (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 with partner Cheryl Burke! Check back each week for his latest update on the competition.

This week actually went pretty well. It was a difficult routine because Cheryl really put like a professional routine on me. Now, we really have to impress the judges and really have to step it up. So the routine I did was a true tango, where you don’t break hold and there’s a lot of footwork. It was definitely a challenge. But I think we did the best we could do.

Related: 'DWTS' Halloween Week: Who Earned the First Perfect Score?

What happened on Sunday was definitely scary. Accidents happen and thankfully, Cheryl is doing better, and we’ll see how she’s doing this week. Usually, it takes a couple days for pain like that to really set in. There was a moment there where I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to actually perform. We didn’t know the extent of the damage until she was cleared to be able to perform. But in those cases, usually what happens from what I was told, is that a previous pro that was on the show would have to step in and perform, or I would have to bow out. If I don’t have to bow out, I would not do that. Overall, my concern for Cheryl’s safety was number one.

DWTS' AJ McLean Previews Emotional Dance About Addiction Cheryl Burke
AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke on ‘DWTS.’ ABC

As far as performing in a costume, I love Halloween. It’s my favorite time of the year. I love dressing up in characters, so getting to play such an iconic role was a dream come true. It definitely helped me feel more the part of Norman Bates, to really kind of dress up as the character!

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

This week is two dances. My solo dance will be the rumba to an amazing song, “Way Down We Go” by an Icelandic band named Kaleo. It’s going to be talking about my battle with addiction, so it’s going to be a very emotional performance, and it’s probably going to be a pretty emotional week.

We then have our second dance, which is a kind of round-robin deal, where three couples do the same song, 30 seconds each, and it’s scored on a point system. So this is something new, and it’s going to be interesting. Learning the dances is going to be like — in my mind — when I learn multiple dances for a tour. The only difference is I only have two days to learn two dances! Fortunately, one of the dances is only 30 seconds, and the other is a full routine, but it will be also shorter.

DWTS' AJ McLean Previews Emotional Dance About Addiction
AJ McLean on ‘DWTS.’ ABC


Knowing that we’re coming up on our first double elimination … at the end of the day, if I go home, I go home. I’m just trying to bring joy to people at home and just do the best I can. So you know, whatever’s in the cards is in the cards, but I’m going to dance my heart out and do the best I can. I also want to say thank you again, to everybody out there that’s voting for Team #PrettyMessedUp. We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know, and we would love to make it all the way to the end. So obviously, we got to bring the heat!

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

Lastly, this week’s elimination: Monica Aldama and I really started to connect these last few weeks. She’s such an amazing person. She’s been through a lot, and she’s a very strong woman. She really was starting to come into her own on the show — starting to get more consistent and really break out. She and Val Chmerkovskiy were a really good team. It’s always sad to see anybody go, you know, especially now so deep in the competition. Everybody’s really developing relationships and friendships, and I think that we’ll all stay friends after all of this. It sucks to see anybody go, especially when they’re really starting to find their groove. The competition is getting more and more difficult. So it’s still anyone’s game — may the best man or woman win!

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

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