Watch Karina compete in tonight's Dancing With the Stars semi-finals. (Photo by Michael Anthony)
All right all of you Dancing With the Stars fans—we're down to the wire! Tonight marks the semi-final routines, and Chelsea Kane, Kirstie Alley, Hines Ward or Ralph Macchio will walk away with the mirrorball trophy (with their professional partner, of course). Our pre-season predictions weren't too far off!
To get the inside scoop about what it's really like to be on the show, we recently caught up with pro Karina Smirnoff. Besides displaying fancy footwork with The Karate Kid's Ralph Macchio on the show, Karina has her own dance studio, and has just released a workout DVD, shoe line and makeup line (whew!). During her few spare moments, she told us about DWTS training, how she stays well-fueled during her hectic schedule and what it's like to dance with a movie star.
Has your workout routine changed since you began on DWTS?
Yes. We rehearse everyday for seven or eight hours and take very few short breaks. After that, I usually rush to my dance studio to teach my fitness classes. That leaves very little time to do anything else! But sometimes I can fit in a yoga class.
How do you maintain your perky attitude and energy with that grueling schedule?
I try to eat healthy and keep my energy up with bananas, dark chocolate and protein, like nuts. Nuts are my favorite snack because they're healthy and filling.
How does Ralph Macchio compare to the other partners you've had on the show?
I love Ralph. We clicked right away and I think we make a great team. We're both workaholics! We laugh a lot, work a lot, but most importantly, we love dancing together. I am truly enjoying being Ralph's partner.
Who do you see as your biggest competition this season?
This season is very unpredictable. We have a lot of great celebrities and everyone is bringing their "A" game. All we can do is work hard, deliver the best job we can on Mondays, keep entertaining our fans and hope for the best.
DWTS surely keeps you busy. Will you be hands-on at your new studio, Karina Smirnoff Dance?
Absolutely. I'll be teaching students and training instructors. Everyone who wants to learn how to dance, get in shape, meet new friends and have lots of fun should stop in!
Want to see Karina and Ralph advance to the finals? Visit abc.com or call 1-800-868-3408 to vote. AT&T customers can text until 30 minutes after the show.
Now tell us: Who are you rooting for to take the DWTS trophy this season?