updated 03/24/2014 AT 2:30 PM ET
•originally published 03/24/2014 AT 10:20 AM ET
Peta Murgatroyd is a former Dancing with the Stars champion, winning the coveted mirror-ball trophy in season 14 – only her second season on the series – with Donald Driver. The Australia native will blog for PEOPLE about competing with Big Time Rush band member James Maslow during the show’s 18th season.
There have been so many changes on the show this season, but I’m happy with them.
I think Erin [Andrews] did an amazing job at the premiere. I think she adds like this girl-next-door vibe to the show. I think Dancing with the Stars wanted to create a new audience this season and really liven it up a little more. I think she’s helping to do that. Her interviews are great and she’s really down to earth. She’s really conversational.
Additionally, I thought the new band did a great job with our song. I actually preferred it to the original track. I also love that we don’t have the glitter pit downstairs anymore. I love the fishbowl that’s come back. I thought that glitter pit was just too invasive. You’re sitting there right on the floor.
And it’s great having Maks [Chmerkovskiy] back in the ballroom. I think he’s totally excited to be paired with Meryl [Davis]. She’s an amazing dancer and he just seems really happy right now, so I’m just stoked for him. I think he’s really chilled out this season. He’s grateful to be back and just taking it day by day. He’s not really stressed about anything. He’s just having a great time.
There’s quite a bit of competition this season. I think Danica [McKellar]’s got some serious talent there. I think Charlie White is amazing, Meryl, obviously, and even Candace [Cameron Bure]. But we’ll see. Week by week, people get filtered out. Hopefully we’re going to be one of the last ones standing. The first week you can’t really tell if people are going to be amazing dancers.