ET spoke with the Dancing With the Stars duo during a break from one of their Icons Night rehearsals, where they teased what fans can expect from their Britney Spears tribute performance on Monday. The former Bachelorette and her pro partner will be dancing the Argentine Tango to a rendition of “Toxic,” a classic hit from Britney’s Glory album.
“Yes, I did pick Britney. I’m like, ‘Let me dance to Britney!'” Kaitlyn, 35, teased to ET’s Lauren Zima. “I’ve loved Britney. I always joke and tell people I was on the six o’clock news in my hometown for being a Britney fan. Like, I made a whole video of finding a fake snake to go to her concert. I’ve just always loved her performances, her dancing, her singing. I just think she is an icon.”
“I absolutely live for Britney’s Instagram because I think she is living her best life,” Kaitlyn added, telling ET she “will die” if the pop star watches and reacts to their performance. “I think she is so confident. I think she’s dancing her little heart out every day, just living the Britney life.”
Artem, 38, chimed in, teasing “what version of Britney” fans will get to see Monday night when he and Kaitlyn hit the ballroom.
“We’re getting naked-bodysuit-with-the-rhinestone Britney!” he shared, referencing the iconic bedazzled one-piece Britney wears in the music video for “Toxic.”
With the competition heating up, and only six other couples remaining — Nelly and Daniella Karagach, Justina Machado and Sasha Farber, Skai Jackson and Alan Bersten, AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke, Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson, and Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart — Kaitlyn and Artem are feeling the pressure to work even harder these next few weeks.
In addition to their regular solo routines, each couple will also take part in a Dance-Off Challenge on Monday, which means they all had to prepare two dances this week. Kaitlyn and Artem will be competing against Justina and Sasha in the Dance-Off round, performing a Cha Cha to “Telephone” by Lady Gaga featuring Beyoncé.
“It’s very stressful,” Kaitlyn admitted. “The Cha Cha we had as our very first dance. Now that’s our second dance to learn [this week] but we have like two days to learn it instead of two weeks.”
“Plus, the competition is so tough at this point,” she added. “You have to step up your game for whatever dance you’re doing so it feels impossible, to be honest.”
Artem has full confidence in Kaitlyn, however. “Oh, for sure [she can do it],” he exclaimed. “The challenging part about it is that she knows the Cha Cha, because she did it in week one. But the difference is that in week one, the dances were about 50 seconds long. Now they’re about a minute and a half. So it’s like you’re learning double of that.”
Over the past two weeks, Kaitlyn and Artem have also received plenty of tough criticism from the judges, especially Carrie Ann Inaba. Some fans argue that Carrie Ann has been too hard on the couple, while others believe she’s just holding Kaitlyn to a higher standard because she’s that good.
Kaitlyn and Artem have previously addressed the difficult feedback in various interviews with ET. Now, the two say they’re ready to move on from it all and just focus on making it to the finale.
“I’m kind of over it. I mean, we can’t spend any more time trying to figure this out,” Artem said. “I think all we’re going to do is come up with a great routine so we can get a good score. I think it’s like chasing something you can’t really chase at this point.”
“Yeah, I agree. You just have to move forward. Onward and upward,” added Kaitlyn, telling ET she has not had a one-on-one conversation with Carrie Ann. “I just think at this point it’s her being a judge. She’s a tough judge. I think she’s just maybe holding me to a higher standard.”
At the end of the day, Kaitlyn knows Carrie Ann is just trying to do her job, and hopes her social media followers will see that, too. She doesn’t condone bullying, and hopes fans will stop the negativity.
“She’s a judge. That’s her job. I’m a dancer, Artem’s the pro, and we all just have to know our roles at this point,” Kaitlyn said. “This is her job, this is what she’s been doing for years and I know how people can be on the internet.”
“It’s just like, we all don’t have to be so divided and hateful, you know? She can have her opinions and we can all not agree with them but it doesn’t mean we have to go out and shame her for what she’s doing, say awful comments, be nasty,” Kaitlyn explained. “You can say, ‘Oh, I don’t understand,’ or ‘They’re doing this and you’re not giving fair judgment.’ That’s fine, but the bullying part of it is just so unnecessary. That really broke my heart.”
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Watch the video below and tune in to Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday to hear more from the season 29 contestants.
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