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Dancing's Katherine Jenkins: I Don't Want Any Expectations Put on Us

Joyce Eng
April 9, 2012

Katherine Jenkins | Photo Credits: Adam Taylor/ABC
Katherine Jenkins | Photo Credits: Adam Taylor/ABC

After the highest-scoring Dancing with the Stars premiere ever, only one person has remained at the top: Katherine Jenkins. The classical singer and her partner Mark Ballas have led the leader board for three weeks running — earning two 10s for her heartfelt waltz in tribute to her late father last week. She will look to four-peat Monday with her paso doble for Rock Week. "It's wild! Never in my life would I think I'd be doing this well and would be getting these marks and comments," Jenkins tells TVGuide.com. "But I'm not concerning myself too much with scores or trying to [maintain a streak]. You can't think about that." See what else the Welsh native has to say about joining the show, the fan reaction and shaking her naughty bits.

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You're doing so well. Are you aware of your three-week streak on top?
Katherine Jenkins:
Yes, sometimes it's pointed out to me, but I immediately forget about it. I'm really amazed by the scores and the reaction that we're getting. I'm having the most fun. I just want to continue it. It was really important for me to get through that first elimination week because I knew if I got to Week 3, it would be Storytelling Week and I would have a chance to do a dance for my dad and celebrate his life! That's really what I've been focused on the past few weeks. He would've never believed that I did that. I feel happy that I was able to do that and I'm so grateful to Mark. He really understood what I wanted to say.

And you got the first 10s of the season.
I know! It didn't enter my head that we would get 10s. I could see that everybody was doing well all night. All we wanted to do was go out and do as well as we thought we could do and for me to feel like I did my dad proud. Because of all the emotion, I didn't think about what scores we could get. My face — when I watched it back, it's hilarious! I couldn't believe it!

Everyone, understandably, is pegging you as the favorite now. Do you feel like you are or are you ignoring all the chatter?
It's lovely to hear, but I don't want to hear it. I don't want to be called that. I'm taking it week by week, and anything can happen to any of us. You're only as good as the week you're working on. I don't want any of the extra pressure because this is a fun experience and something I want to keep enjoying. I don't want any of the expectations put on us.

Did you have any expectations yourself when you started?
I had absolutely no clue how I was gonna do. In my day job, I stand in one place and sing with an orchestra behind me. It doesn't really require any movement! Yes, when I was young, I took a few tap-dancing classes, but they weren't training classes. I stopped all that once I realized I wanted to do classical singing. I've never thought about dancing and now that I'm doing it, I'm loving it!

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When the cast was announced, you and William Levy were the least known and now you're both the people everyone's talking about. But that's sort of been true in past seasons — lesser-known cast members break out.
Yeah, I came into this understanding of the situation and not being naïve. I knew that when I came here that hardly anyone would know me and that was part of the challenge in a nice way. I just thought, "Well, it's really nice to just be here for dancing and to work hard and hopefully bring some enjoyment to some people." It's so nice the way things have worked out. I go out to dinner and people come up to me. It's crazy what's happening! I feel so welcomed here in America. I really am loving being in the country and feeling the support we're getting. I couldn't ask for anything nicer.

Have you been asked to do the show before?
This is the first time I've been asked to do this show. I've been asked to do the U.K. one, but it never worked out. But you have two seasons here a year and the timing was right. I feel like this was a gift that was given to me at the right point in my life and I said, "You know what? I actually really want to do this." I didn't think about it too long. And Mark is amazing. I am so thrilled to have him. I know how lucky I am. I feel like you can see when the couples don't get on, when they don't have that connection. I was really worried when I met him, like "What if we don't click?" But as soon as he walked into the room, I was like, "Yeah, we'll be fine." We've been working seven weeks now and we're having a blast.

And he created the Welsh Wiggle for you.
I know! [Laughs] That's taken on a life of its own! I don't think there'll be any in the paso doble. Maybe it'll come up down the road if we stay on.

Were you really that nervous "shaking your naughty bits" for the jive?
[Laughs] I was really, really nervous about that! I think that comes from, you know, how I generally perform being the opposite of that. But he's brilliant at bringing out the different sides of me that I need for each dance. This week, we have the paso doble, which again is so different from how I would be. It's a very powerful dance and he said in the seven weeks he's known me that he's never seen an ounce of aggression from me! So I'm not sure how I'm gonna do with this one.

Read Maks' Dancing blog

What's been the hardest thing so far?
I think probably dealing with the nerves and ... being able to keep it together while the emotions were running away from me. That was the biggest challenge. I said to Mark before we danced that if they put a picture of my dad up on the screen I'm gonna lose it and forget everything he taught me. So he was so cute — he was just singing complete rubbish in my ear and making me laugh. He was my rock. I'm just grateful that he held me together.

What do you think of the dance-off addition in the results shows now?
That is how they do it in the U.K., so that's how I've always known it. I guess it just makes it really exciting that it goes down to a duel at the end. I find Tuesdays so difficult. They're so stressful. You don't want to go home, of course, but we have really bonded and I don't want to see anybody go home. I was devastated to see Jack [Wagner] go. Everybody's so good, so it's hard saying goodbye.

Since it's Rock Week, what are your favorite rock songs and bands?
Well, if I told you some of that, it would give it away what our song is! [Laughs] To be honest, that's not really the music I listen to, hence why it's gonna be more of a challenge for me, but I'm really excited by our song, so you'll just have to wait and see.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.