November 11, 2011 3:13pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'Dancing With the Stars': J.R. Martinez Promises to Behave at Rehearsal (Video)
The judges seemed to make one thing clear during week 8 of Dancing With the Stars. Barring some unforeseen natural dance disaster, J.R. Martinez and partner Karina Smirnoff are guaranteed a spot in the finale.
After skating through two perfect-scoring performances, the two got the obligatory safety from elimination first thing during Tuesday's results show, where The Hollywood Reporter spoke with them backstage to see how Martinez planned to focus with the semifinals up next.
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"Imagine for 12 weeks, hearing the same person telling you to do this and do that," Smirnoff tells THR. "It's hard."
It's also hard to keep Martinez from goofing around. The week's rehearsal package shows that has behind-the-scenes antics have only been escalating closer to the finale. But he says that's all behind him.
"It's all worth it," he says. "It's amazing how all the feelings and emotions you feel in rehearsals, when you get that great score, all those emotions disappear and there's just overwhelming joy."
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He also sees the daunting task of performing three dances in one broadcast. Monday's show finds them dancing the Argentine Tango, Paso Doble and the traditional Dancing With the Stars relay dance.
And for part, he has a rather unorthodox plan.
"We can see it. It's two weeks away, and four couples are left," he says. "I'm going to have to find a strategy to exhaust the rest of the contestants."