USMagazine, Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 12:00pm (PST)
There are plenty of things McKayla Maroney is not impressed with. Something that she is a fan of, however? Dancing With the Stars -- plus a fellow former Team USA member, Shawn Johnson.
Maroney and her Fierce Five teammates Gabrielle Douglas and Kyla Ross, all 16, talked to Us Weekly backstage at Dancing With the Stars Monday, Nov. 26, after taking part in DWTS finalist Johnson's supersized, freestyle routine.
Their performance was "so much different than what we're used to, because we're used to competing for ourselves," Maroney explained of the high-stakes atmosphere on DWTS. "Now we're under the pressure of trying to do really well for Shawn and Derek [Hough] because we're rooting for them and want them to win! We were all really nervous, but we held it together and got a perfect 10."
Douglas said Johnson offered up plenty of advice before the group went on.
"She just told us to have fun and enjoy it because not too many teenagers get the opportunity to do this, so you might as well just soak it up," Douglas shared. "You might as well just go out there and put on the best show possible."
"It was so fun to come here to the studio and see what they do every week," Ross gushed. "I mean, it's so different -- all the cameras and everything -- and they have to learn so many dances! It's so much practice! It really made us appreciate the show, being here, and it was definitely fun rooting for everyone. Especially Shawn and Derek."
Regardless of Tuesday night's outcome -- during which one DWTS All Star will take home the coveted Mirror Ball trophy -- Johnson told Us she's thrilled with how far she's come this season.
"Coming into the show, I was knocked down 'cause I lost everything that I knew," Johnson explained. "I've invested my whole life and career in gymnastics. That's where I found that success: I knew I could go out there when I was having a hard day and do a standing full on a balance beam and feel great about myself. Coming onto a stage where I knew I wasn't the best was intimidating. Each week he [Derek] taught me more and more to let myself go, and it's ok not to be perfect but to have fun. All of that, I just slowly crept back to being able to get on the stage and just have fun and let loose is the best feeling."