Rocco DiSpirito, Karina Smirnoff, Dancing with the Stars

ABC/Nelsey McNeal

Rocco DiSpirito came close to being the first celeb to get booted from Dancing With the Stars after his not-so-elegant dancing on Monday night. But last night, the celebrity chef redeemed himself big-time.

His mambo with Karina Smirnoff earned them 21 points. (The night before, they only got a disappointing 14!) "What a turn-around," Bruno raved. Even grumpy Len was impressed. "That was much better," he said

Needless to say, DiSpirito is more jazzed than ever. Read on to find out what he has to say about getting his hips to move, finding his mom a celebrity roommate and preparing himself for the pesky romance rumors with Ms. Smirnoff.

Congrats! What a comeback. Did you know when you were dancing last night that you were doing that much better than your first go-round?
To be perfectly honest, both nights felt amazing. To think I actually know the difference between a good dance and bad dance is giving me a whole lot more credit than I deserve at this point.

So, how did you get your hips to finally move, or as you put it, "unscrewed"?
It's an issue I have with being self-conscious. As a chef, your job is to make people happy no matter what, and when I applied that mantra to this, it was easy to let it go. I knew that if I had more fun so would the viewers.

Bruno called you the "Italian Stallion." Are you ready for that to become your Dancing With the Stars nickname?
I love Bruno. He's got a great sense of humor, so I can't wait to see what he says next.

How relieved were you when you knew you weren’t going to be the first eliminated? You gottta admit, it was pretty close there between you and Jeff.
Boy, was it ever close. I was very relieved.  Karina and I loved the mambo we prepared, and we both would have been heartbroken if we couldn't perform it last night. I am grateful we got another chance.

How nervous were you of accidentally pulling Karina's top off?
Those outfits are actually all painted on, so nothing's coming off.

Are you ready for rumors to start that you and Karina are dating? It happens every season, contestants accused of hooking up with their partners. We even have a poll about that very topic right now, and you and Karina are in the lead.  
Ha! We are perfect dance partners, and there are bound to be rumors of all kinds, but it won't affect our ability to enjoy this competition. And anyway, isn't Karina a man-made dancing cyborg? No human could be such a perfect dancer.

I saw that your mom was in the audience. Is she going to be there every night?
She claims she isn't going anywhere and may move to L.A. Maybe I'll get her and Cloris to bunk together.

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