Last week saw the first elimination of Dancing with the Stars season 16, with Dorothy Hamill bowing out of the competition due to an injury. The remaining 11 celebrities and their professional dance partners are moving on to week 3, which is “Prom Night,” where they will take on such dances as the Viennese Waltz, Jive and Samba.

One of the stars still competing is Lisa Vanderpump, of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. BuddyTV spoke with Lisa and her partner Gleb Savchenko about surviving the first two weeks of the season, the chemistry between the two of them and bonding with Dorothy Hamill. Who almost got sick during the results show? To find this out and how they plan on improving in the weeks to come, read on for our exclusive interview.

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Before the season began, how many weeks did you have for rehearsals?

Lisa Vanderpump: Oh, gosh, not many. Maybe 6–

Gleb Savchenko: Yeah, we had like maybe 10 days.

Lisa: And that’s coupled with I can’t give 10 full days because of all the other stuff I’m doing as well, you know what I mean? It’s not like you can be there eight hours a day. Well, I guess you could be physically if you wanted to.

What is the chemistry like between you two? Have you been able to bond during this time together?

Lisa: Oh my god, yeah! Absolutely. We laugh, we have fun together. That’s been the best thing about it, really, is I think the fact that we both each got a partner where we can see the funny side and enjoy the moment, rather than be too stressful.

Gleb: It’s like we’re almost soulmates. We have fun together. And it’s just a great time.

Lisa: It sometimes gets a bit tough, but–

Gleb: I have to, I have to.

Your Week 1 dance, you got all 6s, for a total of 18. Then Week 2, the same thing — all 6s. So first off, when you received that score during the first week, how did you feel about that? And then when you got the same score again, were you hoping for something better or how did you feel about that?

Lisa: I think you’re always hoping for something better. But there are, again, different dances, different challenges you have to get through sometimes, that much physicality. Can you kick your legs up that high? Lifting over and jumping down, the lifts. If you’d said to me four days forward that we’d be doing that, I’d be like, you’re out of your mind.

There was no results show that first week; they saved that for Week 2. Was it a relief at all for either of you that you got an extra week before the results were handed out?

Lisa: Yeah, I suppose so. Just getting used to it, you know? But it was a bit disappointing. I feel that my fans are probably off watching Housewives at the same time, the finale and the reunion. I don’t think that helps us because we didn’t come in that high on the fan votes. … Gleb doesn’t have a fan base here. He’s got only [6,000] people on his Twitter. A lot of the dancers have half a million, you know what I’m saying? So that probably didn’t help.

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Before we get to who went home last week, the three that were in jeopardy were Andy Dick, Victor Ortiz and you. What was going through both of your minds during that time when you weren’t sure if you were staying or leaving?

Lisa: Well, I went into mother mode. Because I looked at Gleb and he was like, oh my god. He looked white to me. He literally collapsed into my arms and was like, I’m going to throw up. It suddenly didn’t become about me. It became about keeping [everyone] calm. I was like, guys, get it together! It’s a competition. Relax. They were like, absolutely. I mean, when [Gleb] said he was going to throw up on stage, I’m like, pull it together! And then Dorothy, it became more about Dorothy to me because I really bonded with her, which is amazing. So that was kinda sad.

Gleb: I was super scared. I said, oh my god, no, no, no, no. We’re not going home. Please don’t let us go home. I was super scared. And then again, like Lisa said, when Dorothy came out and she said that she had to withdraw from the competition, then that’s another story because we became like a very close family to each other. And Lisa’s very close to her. And we feel very, very sorry. But again, we’re happy to stay in the competition. We’re looking forward to the next week. So we’ll try our best.

Lisa: I knew Dorothy was going to do something because before we came on, she said to me, Lisa, we’re going to cry together after this. So I thought, that’s weird because we didn’t know — because in the dancing portion, we weren’t in the bottom two. So just by virtue of the fact that she said that, I thought, hmm, something’s going down here. She’s been struggling all week.

It’s kind of a good news/bad news situation because you’re safe — that’s the good news. But the person who left is leaving on terms beyond her control.

Lisa: I still would’ve rather seen where the chips fall where they may … because I just think that she’s an incredible woman. And for her to be out because of this is really sad. I can’t even look at it like that.

Gleb, going forward now, what are you working with Lisa on to continue improving in the weeks to come?

Gleb: We’re working on everything that we have to work on, like basic things, the technique. We have to put a new choreography together for a new dance. And that’s a little bit of a challenge because we have a very limited time. And we have only like two or three hours a day to do that. So after the judges’ comments, we take everything forward and we start thinking about trying to improve on the technical side of the dance. We’re doing a Viennese Waltz — it’s a very elegant, classic dance. So I think it’s really going to show her side of class and beauty and light and everything. So I think it’s a good dance to do, and it suits her. And we just work on that.

Lisa: Basically, he’s sort of crafting every dance as challenging as the next one. There ain’t no two ways about it.

Gleb: That’s true.

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Out of the other contestants, who is your biggest competition that you feel you have to get past?

Gleb: All of them.

Lisa: Oh my god, all of them. [Laughs]

Gleb: We became very close friends. It’s like a Dancing with the Stars family. So all of us, everyone supports each other. All of the dancers, all of the pros — they’re coming to me and saying, do you have any questions? Because you’re a new guy. We’re gonna help you. We’re here for you. So I really appreciate that. And we’re like very good friends.

Lisa: Yeah, they’re all lovely.

Gleb: So it’s not about the competition. It’s just about a learning process for individuals. And we all support each other, almost like voting for each other.

You were on the Australian version of Dancing with the Stars, Gleb. Coming from there to the American version, did you find any difference or was it a seamless transition going from one to the other?

Gleb: Of course. In Australia, how many viewers do they have? Maybe like 2 million? And here, we have 20 million. Everything is bigger. And the production team is great. The level of the dancers is super high. And of course, I have the best partner I could ever have. Lisa’s been great.

Lisa: Maybe not the best dancer.

Gleb: You’re a very good person. That’s a big difference in everything, in the professional way. I have the best celebrity.

Lisa, are there any Real Housewives that you would want to see compete on Dancing with the Stars in the future?

Lisa: Oh, good lord. I haven’t even thought about that. I have no idea. Maybe they’ll see how challenging it is. We’ll have a look next year and see. But I’m not sure about that.

Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.