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NOV
22
2 YEARS

'Dancing With the Stars': J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff Pull it Together at the Last Minute (Video)

"If he was freaking out as much as I was," Smirnoff tells THR, "I don't know how the day would have ended."

J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff enter the last night of Dancing With the Stars with the finals' strongest freestyle pushing them towards the finish line.

But it almost didn't come together. As the rehearsal package showed, Karina's nerves and a few awkward lifts almost derailed their performance. After Monday's show, the duo told The Hollywood Reporter how they switched gears.

PHOTOS: 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 13: Rehearsals

"After the Cha Cha Cha, the momentum was brought down a little," J.R. says of their low-scoring first dance. "I wanted to go out there and redeem myself. I said to her, 'we got this,' right before we danced. Once we got that lift out of the way and we landed it perfectly, it was like, alright, cool... the energy was amazing."

Their freestyle ended up being the most physically challenging routine of the night. It gave them a perfect 30, solidifying their chances of taking the top prize.

Karina still wasn't sure why she got so nervous when THR spoke with them backstage, but she says her partner pulled her out of it.

PHOTOS: 'Dancing With the Stars' Season 13: Rehearsals

"We had to be completely in sync," she said. "If he was freaking out as much as I was, I don't know how the day would have ended."

For more from J.R. and Karina, including what they'll do with or without the mirrorball trophy, watch the complete interview above.