Veteran “Dancing with the Stars” pro Karina Smirnoff was devastated when she made a major mistake during her Monday night All-Stars hip-hop routine with Apolo Anton Ohno. Karina fell after messing up a kick and landed hard on her back during the dance and then Apolo’s battery pack flew off his body. The couple completed their number, but after it ended, Karina burst into tears on camera and had to be comforted by Apolo, host Tom Bergeron, and all the judges, including special guest Paula Abdul.
After the show, Karina was still licking her wounds. She told reporters sarcastically about her bobble, “I decided to throw in a karate kick move in the middle of our routine — which was completely unrehearsed and uninvited — so when I got up and turned around, Apolo’s getting the microphone ripped away from him.
“It’s like, you know when you have so much expectation for this dance and you worked so hard and we had an amazing choreographer to help us out, Tony Michaels, and you want to impress Paula Abdul and Carrie Ann [Inaba] because this is what they did, this is what they’re the best at, and it crumbles in front of your eyes. It’s just a minute and a half [dance but] it felt like it was slow motion.”
On a week in which the couples had to dance routines picked by their costars, Karina and Apolo were assigned hip hop, a dance she said was unfamiliar to her. And Karina’s problem with the dance style, performed ironically to “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe, truly came back to bite her on performance night.
The “DWTS” pro, who won Season 13 with actor J.R. Martinez, said she got emotional because she felt she had let Apolo down. “I want to be the best that I can be for him. I don’t want to be the thing that pulls him down. I kicked my leg really high and my body went up in the air and then I was laying down on the ground,” she sighed.
Speed skater Apolo was sorry to feel Karina’s pain. “It’s tough because obviously I know she’s emotional. She’s a perfectionist and that’s what makes her so good,” he said.
“That’s what makes her choreography so amazing is that every day during rehearsal she wants to be perfect and until it is, she’s not happy and so we performed it well all week, today all day and we get it here [tonight] and we have weird wardrobe malfunctions; stuff doesn’t fit; the microphone pops out. We have a small slip-up [during the dance] and I think the most important thing to take from it is that we started off okay [and] we finished very strong.”
Although he accentuated the positive, it was the bizarre middle of the dance that concerned Karina! Still, the couple wound up with a decent score of 34.5 out of 40 and she said, “I was relieved because it means that the judges recognized that they don’t necessarily have to judge what I did or didn’t do right because we go in and out every season. It’s these [celebrities] who are completely out of their element. They come in and take on dance styles that are [new] — it was new for me, even. How do I come up with a routine, how do I teach him something that I’ve never learned? The fact that they recognized that and they judged Apolo rather than me, thank goodness, I’m super appreciative and I’m grateful, and I hope we get to stay and I hope we get to come back stronger next week.”
Watch the Highlights of Monday Night’s Performances:
Meanwhile, however, Karina was also beating herself up that televised rehearsal footage showed her being bleeped — because she hated having to dance hip hop so much she dropped the F bomb. “I’m super embarrassed. I apologize to the whole of America, and especially my mom because she’s definitely going to let me hear it when I get home,” the Ukranian dancer said. “It feels like this is the only word I’ve mastered in my ESL class. I’m embarrassed this was the only word I used on Wednesday and Thursday because that’s when the footage was shot. I’m never using that again.”