updated 10/22/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/22/2012 AT 9:40 AM ET
Peta Murgatroyd is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 14 – only her second season on the series – with Donald Driver. The Australia native will be blogging for PEOPLE.com about competing with Gilles Marini in the all-star season.
Gilles and I did unexpectedly well last week. It was such a stressful week for both of us that coming out with three 10s in the end was pretty amazing. When I heard the scores, I had my hands to my face and I was just like, “Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe they whipped out those 10s.” I didn’t think they were going to give 10s until week six or seven. It was a huge surprise and a huge relief, because it meant all the hard work has paid off.
Gilles was completely deserving of his score. He was amazing to get his work done that he did in Miami and still get in his rehearsals. Saturday and Sunday, when we got back to L.A., we literally did 10 hours each day.
At the end of Saturday night, we had ¾ of the dance prepared. So it was a huge relief on Sunday to go home and have the dance finished. He was a trouper, and he pulled through. He didn’t mind what score we got as long as we finished.
I would agree with Mark [Ballas], who said Bristol [Palin] played it too safe after they got eliminated on Tuesday. Bristol is a wonderful, beautiful person and very shy. The competition needed to see more of the real Bristol – just more of what she is on a day-to-day basis with her family. But she did a great job.
After Monday’s show, Gilles told reporters that I help make him a better father. It made my heart melt. I was really going to cry. He’s such a wonderful father. For him to say that about me was really cool. We have a really close friendship and we just get along so well with each other.
I’m super comfortable with him and he trusts me. I completely respect him, and that’s one of the major things you must have in a partnership. You have to respect one another. If that goes out the window, you’ve got nothing.
I want to continue to push boundaries and make sure Gilles isn’t completely in his comfort zone every week. It’s easy to narrow him into that field of sexy French man, but I think he’s got a whole lot more to offer than that. He’s an extremely funny guy, and he can also be very serious. I want to bring all those vibes out.
There will be no elimination this week, which is amazing for all of us. It’s not like we don’t want to produce incredible dances like all the other weeks, but the stress is off a little bit.
We’ve been rehearsing the rumba for “Guilty Pleasures Week.” Gilles has chosen Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” Apparently he used to sing that as a child in the shower. He never let any of his friends know. Our dance is going to be a mix of emotion, seriousness and sensuality.