The pro dancer urges the 'DWTS' judges to rewatch their cha-cha after getting the boot during the season 32 premiere.
Dancing With the Stars kicked off season 32 on Tuesday night with a number of stellar first performances -- and a few performances that seemed to leave the judges a little cold. Unfortunately for comic actor Matt Walsh and his pro partner, Koko Iwasaki, their cha-cha didn't quite make the grade.
On Wednesday, Iwasaki sat down with ET's Kevin Frazier, and the talented dancer opened up about her and Walsh's week 1 elimination, lackluster scores, and why she feels the judges didn't give the performance a fair appraisal.
"I'm really bummed, you know? Quite disappointed, to be honest," she said of their ousting. "But at the end of the day, this experience with Matt, we went through so much in the last few weeks, and I wouldn't have changed it for the world."
"I've said this so many times, but I would have Matt every season if I could," Iwasaki added with a smile.
The pair hit the dance floor and the Veep star showed off his personality with a fun but seemingly unconventional cha-cha set to "Poison" by Bel Biv DeVoe. Walsh got some praise for this enthusiasm, but the dance only earned the couple three 4s from judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Derek Hough and Bruno Tonioli, for a total of 12 -- placing them at the bottom of the leaderboard.
"I don't think that he deserved 4s, I'll be honest. He wasn't the best dancer, you know, he's never danced before, it's something still new. But he was really great last night and he worked so hard," Iwasaki shared. "He's been through a lot, we've been through a lot together, and our journey was short, but I don't think he deserved 4s last night."
According to Iwasaki, the dance they did wasn't nearly as non-traditional as the judges seemed to feel it was, and the dancer expressed, "It wasn't his time yet! He did so well, we did real cha-cha."
After hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough announced that Walsh and Iwasaki had been eliminated, Walsh used his brief moment to thank his partner and to encourage the judges to rewatch their routine and give it some consideration. Iwasaki said she "would hope" the judges might do so.
"We really did do cha-cha. We did authentic cha-cha steps, he did so many technical things and of course, you know, [it was] never perfect, but we embraced the imperfections," she said. "I think, for what we had time for, he did incredible. And it was only just his beginning, and I wish America could've seen all the different sides of him, you know? All the different techniques and all the different flavors he had."
Walsh and Iwasaki's journey together was particularly challenging as Walsh temporarily decided to walk out from the show, amid calls to boycott the show for going forward amid the WGA strike. However, with the WGA reaching a deal with the AMPTP, and SAG granting Walsh permission to appear, things got back on track.
"When he did walk out, it obviously gave us less time to rehearse, because we couldn't rehearse during those days, so I think mentally and emotionally it was really hard on us," Iwasaki shared. "It was kind of like this roller coaster of emotions. We were going through ups and downs and being hopeful and then, you know, not. So at the end of the day, I'm so happy we were able to dance and just show America what we've been working on."
Dancing With the Stars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and Disney+.