updated 03/28/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/31/2014 AT 6:50 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.
Rehearsals have been so good, but James is so tired right now. Oh, my god, the jive is kicking his butt. But I’m still relishing in the success of last week’s performance. He had great technique and he mastered all the lifts. I just thought he put on a great show, so I was very, very happy.
People were saying James was shirtless during the dance, but he wasn’t! People want to see that, absolutely. They’re always asking him to take his shirt off, but I really want to leave that for a little bit. We could take the shirt off at some point. Who knows? We may take the pants off. I have no idea what’s in store for us. But it won’t get too risqué this week, though.
The theme for this week’s performance is “the most memorable year of your life.” Ours is really just a celebration of how James came into his own and how he developed into such an amazing artist from a young age. He coped with a few issues at school like bullying, and then he rose to stardom.
This season feels different from others in the past. When we’re backstage, everyone’s got this amazing friendliness. Nobody is a dirty competitor. Everybody wants to win the competition and get the best scores possible, but they’re all just so lovely to one another. It’s just a warm and happy environment, and I think this is one of the nicest casts we’ve had for a while. There’s honestly nobody I can say right now who is weird or not in the group.
It’s sad that Sean [Avery] and Diana [Nyad] had to go. We obviously are very grateful to go on to the next week, and we are looking forward to everyone seeing our dance.
It’s an energetic, fun, pretty crazy routine. I’ve got James doing some serious jive moves in there. There are a couple of acrobatic moves. He’s really surprised me with how much he can contribute to all of the dances. I love his ideas and that he can add some of his own flavor to my choreography.
The dance will be fun for viewers. James plays a little geek and he shows that he can come into his own, while trying to get the hot girl at school. It’s going to be really cute.
After all the rehearsing for this routine, James was in need of some spa relaxation. The jive was really getting to him – it’s really hard on his hips. We got massages and went in the sauna and the ice pool. It was really good.