As a dedicated "Dancing with the Stars" fan for years, Drew Carey knew what he was getting into when he signed on for Season 18 -- at least, he thought he did!
The actor, who is paired with Cheryl Burke, told Access Hollywood that while performing in front of the crowds is old hat, he wasn't as prepared as he thought he'd be for the physicality and movement required for the ABC show.
"All the technical stuff [is the hardest]-- it's like soap opera land," Drew told Access' Shaun Robinson, at his "DWTS" rehearsal with Cheryl in Los Angeles. "I don't know how soap opera stars do it! It's like getting a new script every day and having to memorize this new script."
Surprisingly, Drew said his gig as host of "The Price Is Right" has helped prepare him for the pressure of performing in front of throngs of people in the "DWTS" ballroom.
"I'm so used to being in front of a crowd screaming and going bananas that that didn't throw me," he said, when asked if he was nervous during Monday's premiere performance. "That's a comfort zone."
As for Cheryl's thoughts on her new partner, the two-time "DWTS" champ said she thinks Drew has a shot at the trophy.
"I think he needs to keep doing what's he's been doing - he really is a performer. The audience really reacted to him," she said. "He may not be the best technical dancer, but I think people really relate to somebody with no dance experience that comes on this show and it's all about the journey."
Added Drew, "Emmitt Smith wasn't the best technical dancer, by the way, and he's got a mirrorball trophy!"
Drew and Cheryl will take on the jive for their next performance - a dance the comedian is finding particularly humbling.
"There are a lot of steps, man. And I'm not really smooth in my hips like I thought I was," Drew said. "You find out that you're not as cool as you thought you were when you start doing this show - that's for sure!"
-- Erin O'Sullivan
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