updated 09/28/2011 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/28/2011 AT 10:50 AM ET
Elisabetta Canalis may face a language barrier while trying to communicate with her fellow Dancing with the Stars competitors. But when it comes to doing the fancy footwork, George Clooney’s ex makes no excuses.
“Maybe dance is not my thing – I’m not going to lie,” the Italian actress told PEOPLE backstage after being eliminated Tuesday night. “This show was challenging because I had to learn how to ballroom dance. I’ve never done it before. I hope to have learned something.”
Canalis’s pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy stands by his ballroom prétége.
“There are a lot of challenges for everybody,” he said. “There were huge challenges for her. We’re a proud nation. We’re a welcoming nation, but [Americans] have our own idols and our own fan base. This show is about people who have huge fan bases. We can’t compete with that.”
As for their final performance – a quickstep that earned Canalis 21 points – Chmerkovskiy says they gave it their all.
“Yesterday, we did [well],” he said. “But unfortunately they gave our score to five other couples. That killed all of our chances [of staying on the show].”