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Shawn Johnson: 'We're not trying to backstab people' on 'Dancing With the Stars'

Adam Taylor / ABC / Today
Shawn Johnson and pro partner Derek Hough danced a romantic rumba to the "Titanic" theme song last week.

Each week, Olympian and season eight "Dancing With the Stars" champ Shawn Johnson will be sharing her experiences on "All-Stars" with The Clicker! Look for Q&As, exclusive photos and more from the gold medalist throughout the season as she competes to win her second mirror ball trophy, this time alongside pro Derek Hough.

You can follow us on Twitter @TODAY_Clicker to get all the latest updates on Shawn's quest for ballroom glory. Shawn is also on Twitter @ShawnJohnson.

The Clicker: How did it feel not having anyone be eliminated last week?

Shawn: I think since we weren’t there the week didn’t feel that different. We shot two shows last Monday and the second one aired on Tuesday. We rehearsed all day on Tuesday. The scores will transfer over to (this) week. The tension was still there. We were still trying to give our best performances!

The Clicker: What reaction did you get to your ‘Titanic’ themed rumba with Derek?

Shawn: It’s been nothing but positive. I couldn’t have been prouder of the dance. And Derek couldn’t have been prouder of what we did. Even though the judges didn’t necessarily love it, we did.

The Clicker: That seems to be Derek’s philosophy – do the best dance that will please you and the audience and then let the chips fall where they may with the judges.

Shawn: Definitely; this was about showing the world a different side of me. This wasn’t what people are used to seeing. I stepped out of my comfort zone.

The Clicker: Derek looked like Jack from ‘Titanic.’

Shawn: It was scary how similar he looked to Leonardo DiCaprio!

The Clicker: It was great to see how everyone rallied around Melissa Rycroft after her injury last week.

Shawn: Yes. It’s not a cutthroat show. We’re not trying to backstab people or get them off the show. We genuinely get along. We’re cheering and screaming when someone else is out there dancing. We don’t wish any harm to anyone. When Melissa went down it was like a family member being injured.

The Clicker: When you and Gilles Marini chose the songs you’d do group dances to, Gilles was very excited to get ‘Gangnam Style’ and Derek appeared less than thrilled to get ‘Call Me Maybe.’ But you guys ended up doing better.

Shawn: At first, yeah, we wanted "Gangnam Style" because it’s the craze right now. It’s the modern day "Macarena." Ours may not have had the same energy, but once we put it together things started to fall into place. We may not have captured the audience as much, but it was clean and the judges liked it.

The Clicker: Do you agree with Kelly Monaco’s post-dance comments recently where she said the "DWTS" is not really about dancing but about the emotional journey you go on with your partner as you step outside your comfort zone?

Shawn: Yes, definitely. She summed it up the best. It’s not about dancing. It’s about everything else. We all come in here with different career paths looking to find confidence in a world that we’re not comfortable with and finding trust in your partner to take you somewhere you’ve never gone before.

The Clicker: How would you describe the journey you took the first time to the one you’ve had so far this time?

Shawn: I was a lot more reserved the first time mostly because of my age. I hadn’t stepped out into the world that much beyond gymnastics. I was shy and afraid to take risks. I kept to myself more. I wasn’t able to relate to as many people, again, because of my age. This time, I’m letting myself go more. It’s been the most liberating experience I ever had. I give so much of the credit to Derek. I don’t think anyone else could have brought this out of me. Derek is phenomenal. He’s the best out there. His talent is ridiculous. He takes everything so seriously and turns it into a masterpiece.

The Clicker: What’s the theme/dance for tonight? 

Shawn: Country, which I’m happy about. I love the Zac Brown Band. All I listen to is country music. We’re doing the cha cha. My last one was great. It was my best dance.

The Clicker: Does that make it easier?

Shawn: Not really. It’s a completely different season. Tonight’s more of a theme. It’s not even relatable but hopefully it will go well!

Watch Shawn perform on "Dancing With the Stars" at 8 p.m. on Monday night on ABC. Plus, join our TV editor, Anna Chan, as she hosts a live chat during each performance show. Sign up for a reminder!

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