March 16, 2012 8:01pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Karina Smirnoff Ignoring the Pressure for Repeat 'Dancing With the Stars' Win (Video)
If Karina Smirnoff is feeling the pressure to bring home a second Mirrorball Trophy during this season of Dancing With the Stars with new partner Gavin DeGraw, she didn't let it show at the recent cast announcement.
The reigning pro told The Hollywood Reporter that her recent win with JR Martinez isn't really on her mind right now.
"There's no place to go but down when you're on top," she admitted. "I don't want to worry about the competition or the pressure I just want us to have fun... I want to see Gavin do the moves because I think he has them. We're definitely going to enjoy it."
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And this being Smirnoff's 11th season on the series, she knows how few and far between the wins are.
DeGraw isn't feeling much heat either. The 35-year-old singer-songwriter told THR that he's known his partner for a few years, making the daunting task of eight-hour rehearsals a bit easier.
"One of the deciding factors for me was because she had reached out to me about the show," he said.
Another contributor? Dancing is surprisingly close to DeGraw's heart. "My great grandfather he was a dance instructor in the Catskills," he said, "like Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.
Watch THR's complete interview with Smirnoff and DeGraw above, and watch them perform on the Dancing With the Stars season premiere, March 19.