Viewers got to see a different side of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi on this season of Dancing with the Stars. The Jersey Shore alum demonstrated a work ethic and a sharp sense of humor that came as a shock to many viewers and competitors (including Bill Engvall) who were only familiar with her hard-partying MTV persona.
Though her run on Dancing came to an end when she and partner Sasha Farber were unexpectedly sent home on last week's show, Polizzi says she has no regrets. TVGuide.com caught up with the reality star to get her thoughts on her shocking elimination, the judges' feedback, and her new nickname, courtesy of Tom Bergeron.
Everyone seemed shocked that you and Sasha were voted off last Monday. What went through your head when Tom said your name?
Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi: I couldn't believe it. We definitely weren't expecting to be voted off [last] week so it was a shock. But we've accepted it and I'm so grateful and thankful to have been a part of this amazing experience.
Bill Engvall, who was also in jeopardy, went over to you after your name was read. What did he say?
Polizzi: Bill is my favorite person ever. He came over and told me it should have been him and how upset he was. But I told him "Bill listen, you are my favorite person in the world and you better win this thing!"
Rehearsals really seemed to be getting to you last week, and you were especially hard on yourself after the individual dance. Was there something specific that went wrong, or was it just fatigue setting in?
Polizzi: It was a combination of everything from my busy schedule with Season 3 of Snooki & JWoww and my other projects, to being mentally & physically exhausted and,most importantly, wanting each dance to be perfect. Dancing with the Stars is no joke and it takes a toll on your body and I just wanted to do the best I could for Sasha and myself.
I really loved the team dance, especially your big spin at the end. How did you feel after that number?
Polizzi: Spooky Bom Bom killed it and everyone in our group was so excited and happy. In our eyes we were the winners of the group dance.
Which dance were you most proud of?
Polizzi: I loved my jazz dance to Britney Spears! Honestly I loved all my dances, and learning them was so much fun. I'm really going to miss annoying Sasha.
Which was your least favorite dance?
Polizzi: I loved all of them. Some of them were harder than others, but knowing that I did it was the best accomplishment.
Did you expect to make it as far as you did in the competition?
Polizzi: Nope, so I'm so grateful that I've made it to the midway point. Thank you to the fans for voting and loving our dances!
In the early weeks, you seemed displeased with some of the judges' comments. Overall, do you think you were judged fairly throughout the competition?
Polizzi: The judges know what they're talking about, and sometimes their criticism could get to you, but it was all in good fun. They just wanted us to be the best that we could be and tried their best to help us.
What was the hardest part of the show?
Polizzi: Probably traveling every weekend back and forth between Jersey and LA and not being able to see my son as much as I'd like.
Talk about your working relationship with Sasha. How was he as a partner?
Polizzi: This was Sasha's first time as a pro and I have to say he was an amazing teacher. He realized how he needed to teach me to make things worse and that was to just have fun with the whole experience. Sasha is definitely going to be a part of my life now. He's stuck with me!
You said at the beginning of the show that you wanted people to see a different side of you. Do you feel that you gained some new fans?
Polizzi: Yes I'm glad that everyone got to see the real me on Dancing with the Stars. My life has changed completely since Jersey Shore and I love being a mother. Being able to show the fans and audience that was really something special to me.
What did you think of Tom's nickname for you, "Snicole"?
Polizzi: Tom is so cute. I like the fact that he still loved "Snooki" and respected the fact that my real name is Nicole.
Which other competitor(s) were you closest with on the show? It seems like you've all really started to bond in recent weeks.
Polizzi: I feel like we've all become a dysfunctional family and at the end of the day we were all going through the same things that I think we are going to bond over forever. I honestly love everyone. ... I'm going to miss every single person on the show.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Will you miss Snooki?