EXCLUSIVE: Lindsay Arnold Reacts to Jake T. Austin's 'DWTS' Elimination, Teases 'Sexy' Waltz With Calvin Johns
By Desiree Murphy
Lindsay Arnold understands what it's like to be shocked by a Dancing With the Starselimination.
While chatting with ET on Wednesday, the 22-year-old dance pro shared what the energy was like behind the scenes when it was revealed Jake T. Austin and his partner, Jenna Johnson, were the first to be eliminated during season 23 of the hit competition show.
"Last night was honestly one of the first eliminations where I felt like I had no idea who was going to go home," Lindsay, who's partnered with former NFL pro Calvin Johnson this season, explained. "The first week is always so tough, because everyone is doing the best they can, but you don't necessarily know how they're coming off to the viewers. It's hard to gauge that the first week."
"Seeing Jake and Jenna go was really tough, because Jenna is one of my closest friends (we've been friends since kindergarten and dancing together forever!), and this is her first season as a pro," Lindsay continued. "But they did their absolute best. You never know the true reason for the week one couple that gets eliminated because there's so little time for them to really show America who they are and what they're going to bring to the competition."
Lindsay told ET that as soon as the couple was let go, she walked over to her pal, gave her a hug and told her everything was going to be OK.
"It's tough as a pro not to take things too personally, because it becomes your entire life," Lindsay dished. "When Jenna gets back to L.A. -- she was whisked away to New York to film Good Morning America immediately after eliminations -- I know we'll actually be able to sit down and talk more about it."
Although Lindsay was bummed Jenna had to leave the competition so early on, she was ecstatic her and Calvin were announced "safe!" during Monday night's elimination.
"When you're standing up there, even if you feel like you don't have to worry, you still have so many worries in your mind. Anything could happen," she revealed. "I was really nervous because, for Calvin's sake, I didn't want to be in the bottom -- I feel like that really dampens their spirit. It makes them question things like, 'Why do people not like me?' I wanted him to go into next week feeling really confident about what he's doing."
Confident, indeed! Lindsay also told ET that as soon as the two walked off the stage, the pair had a great conversation that wasn't caught on camera.
"Calvin said to me, 'I'm ready to get dancing again!'" she shared. "He's so excited and happy to still be able to keep dancing. He's ready to go! He's thrilled to get started with [new choreography] and not go home next week either."
Lindsay and Calvin immediately hopped on a flight to Detroit, where the former Detroit Lions wide receiver resides, to kick-start their rehearsals early Wednesday morning. Next week, they'll be performing the Viennese waltz!
"The show is doing a face-off challenge next week, which means they've paired us [up against] another couple, Terra Jole and Sasha Farber," Lindsay revealed. "We'll get the same dance style, but different songs -- Calvin and I will be dancing to 'It's a Woman's World.' The judges will score each dance, and the couple that receives the highest score will be immune from elimination the next night."
"It's a big week, because you want to get immunity," she continued. "If you don't, there's a higher chance you'll be going home because it will only be between six of you."
Lindsay is confident she and Calvin will get that immunity, but at the same time, she says she's been highly impressed with what Terra and Sasha have showcased on the DWTS stage thus far.
"Terra's amazing! She's overcoming a challenge [with the height difference], but on top of that she's doing a great job," Lindsay explained. "It's so exciting to see that, because she's not letting anything hold her back. She's a confident girl, and I think that really helps her."
"The Viennese waltz is generally a really beautiful, elegant routine, which I want it to be, but the song that we have is a little bit sexy -- it has kind of like a sexual tension sound to it, so we're going to show that in our performance," she revealed. "I'm excited to show this different vulnerable, sexy side of Calvin. I think fans will really like it if he pulls it off. It will be interesting to see if he's ready to jump into that role."
Following Jake and Jenna's exit this week, the former Disney star took to social media to thank his fans for their support. "Thank you to all those who voted for me on @dancingabc!" Jake wrote. "A bigger thanks to @dance10jenna, my family, girlfriend, friends and all my fans!"
On Instagram, he gushed over his dance partner, saying, "I love you @dance10jenna."
"Thank you forever for going on this journey with me, no matter how short it was," his caption continued. "I will always be thankful to you for everything you taught me and the close friendship we have made together. You're gonna be an amazing pro next season!"