Gilles Marini recently said he has no pity for fellow competitor Shawn Johnson on “Dancing with the Stars” in Season 15 because this time around, she’s 20 instead of 17. But, the retired gymnast — who beat out runner-up Gilles for the mirrorball trophy in Season 8 — doesn’t care.
“I’m still gonna beat him,” the competitive Shawn told AccessHollywood.com’s Laura Saltman, who visited the athlete and her professional partner, Derek Hough, during rehearsal in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Derek actually seemed a little surprised by Shawn’s fighting words.
“Hold the phone. That is so not my talk,” he said. “I like to do my trash talking with my moves. That’s where my loudest work comes from.”
Gold medalist and former “Dancing” champ Shawn knows the competition is tough this season, but she’s ready for it.
“The level of playing field, it’s a lot higher than it used to be,” she said. “Everyone’s super competitive… There’s a lot tension, but, it’s good.”
And it’s harder on the pros too.
Derek is a three-time mirrorball champ, who has continued to wow each season with his choreography, but he’s still feeling the pressure.
“There [are] expectations, for sure, so it’s actually up to us as professionals to make sure we give them strong content to showcase their ability,” he said.
“Dancing with the Stars: All-Stars” premieres Monday, September 24 at 8/7c on ABC.
-- Jolie Lash