EXCLUSIVE: 'DWTS' Pro Lindsay Arnold on Amber Rose and Julianne Hough's Feud: 'It Wasn't a Fight'
By Andi Rocco
Lindsay Arnold and Calvin Johnson wowed the judges on Monday's Dancing with the Stars, performing their Charleston set to Cirque Du Soleil's Cabinet of Curiosities, and receiving a score of 23 out of 30.
However, that wasn't the only highlight of the evening, Lindsay chatted with ET about Amber Rose and Julianne Hough's apologies to one another over their recent "misunderstanding," regarding comments Hough made about Rose's performance last week that led the model to feel "body shamed."
ET: We saw Julianne Hough and Amber Rose hash out their feud after Amber's performance, what did you think of their responses?
I think that they handled it very well. I think that if Amber had something on her mind like that the best thing she could have done is confirm it -- not sit on it, not let it bother her all season. I think it was really great that she spoke her mind and tried to figure it out and I think Julianne's response was great. As a judge, you're judging the dancing and sometimes dancing makes you feel uncomfortable if it doesn't look like they're doing it quite right or doesn't look like they're comfortable doing the moves -- that's what I think she meant. I'm glad they figured that out because no one wants hard feelings on the show…nobody wants that. We want to feel like we're all a family and we're all supporting each other and that includes the judges. It's really important that the celebs feel that way, that the judges are on their side and help them be a better dancer. So I'm glad they hashed it out and really talked about it and I think they handled it in a great way. It wasn't a fight, it was just two women speaking their minds and getting to a result.
Cirque Du Soleil and the Charleston -- how fun and exciting! How do you feel about last night's performance?
I really challenged [Calvin] this week, I gave him a harder dance than he's ever had to do and not even just a little bit harder. I asked a lot of him and he pulled it off so well. I was really impressed. The things that he was doing, the lifts that we did, I have never done even with another professional. I was really proud of the way he handled the challenges that I put towards him this week and he really came out on top.
Last time we spoke, you mentioned incorporating some lifts for Calvin in the choreography and by the looks of last night's dance -- success achieved! How do you think he did with the lifts challenge?
When you're lifting a person it's different -- you have to take care of them, you have to pay attention. It's not just lifting weights where you can just chuck them up and drop them. You have to be so attentive to what you are doing. He did so well making sure that I felt comfortable. We had a few close calls -- that's the thing, with lifting, comes risks -- but come show time we were able to nail it perfectly.
During the rehearsal package we got a glimpse of those "close calls" and saw you take quite a fall off Calvin’s arms -- what were your thoughts in that?
I know it's terrifying! I mean, in that moment, I had to suck it [up] but I was like, "Don't die, don't die!" It's scary because when you're up in the air and you're upside down you don't know when you land, what's gonna hit first. Lucky, I landed on my feet somehow and everything was OK. I think after that it clicked in his head even more how important it is that we're consistent and careful with everything we do, because there is a lot at stake. We really had to be careful all week.
Did you have any doubts that you could pull this off?
I wouldn't say doubts, but I was definitely the most nervous for that dance than I have been this whole season, just because there was a lot more at stake than normal. I mean before he could maybe miss a step, but with the lift in hand there's a possibility that I could fall, that something could go very wrong. I was very nervous but once we made it past that first lift in the dance…you watch my face after I land that first lift. I was like, "Oh my gosh!" Just a sigh of relief. The rest of it was just so much fun and I was just so proud of him.
Looks like rehearsals were intense! We saw an Instagram pic with you and Calvin hanging off a hula hoop.
Calvin and I were rehearsing in Detroit and the dance studio we were at has an aerial room, so they have silk [and] they have hula hoops hanging from the ceiling. Calvin and I were like, "We want to try!" so we actually hooked them up and tried it. Funny thing is, Calvin got on the hula hoop and I think he might have been too heavy for it [laughs]. He latched the screw in so much that we couldn't even undo it. It was just funny because we got a little excited with all the toys we saw in the dance studio.
Looks like there's some competition in the air, Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy received the first perfect score for this season last night. How do you plan to keep moving forward on the leaderboard?
I was so happy for them! It is a competition and we want to beat the other competitors, but we're a family and we are all so happy for each other. It's so exciting to see those numbers go up because we know how hard everybody works. We are all in the same boat; we are all working so hard every single week to get the best product -- to see that pay off for them that well so early in the competition is really impressive. I think it inspires Calvin and I because we want those and for him, I don't think he realizes that's a thing week after week. He's like, "Are 10s even real? Have you ever seen anybody get 10s?" and I'm like "Yes! You'll see it, I will get you 10s!" I promised him this week -- I will get you 10s, we will get there. I'm really looking forward to the week where we prove that we deserve those 10s.
You've talked about Calvin not being thrilled to wear the "glitzy get-ups" -- is he more accepting of it now? Where does he stand?
So funny you say that, because I can't even remember that Calvin -- he is so down for everything now. He has completely dived into this competition and every aspect of it. He's totally cool with getting into character and playing characters that aren't himself and I love that! That shows how dedicated he is to this and also shows he's just the kind of person who's gonna give 150 percent into everything that he does. I couldn't ask for more as a teacher. It also comes from a level of trust. I mean, he trusts that I'm gonna take him where he needs to be, so he does what I ask and I'm really grateful for that.