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Kellie Pickler: ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Is Grueling … and Fun

Adam Taylor, Disney/ABC

Kellie Pickler continues to wow the judges and viewers, week after week on “Dancing With the Stars.” But while the blond beauty seems like a natural gliding across the dance floor with her partner, Derek Hough, she admits it is strenuous to get ready for a new show each week — but she loves every minute of it.

“It’s been so much fun,” she tells Country Weekly. “But we rehearse every day and it’s very grueling. We have no say over our dance style; they tell us each week what we’ll be dancing next. They give us the music and [Derek] creates the choreography based on the music. All the professional dancers have been dancing their whole life. They’re trying to teach us everything they know in a week, which is impossible! But I think that’s the thing that makes the show so great, watching everybody learn and struggle through it, and then get out there and do it anyway.”

The North Carolina native relies on skills she learned in school to help her remember the complicated moves. “I was a cheerleader in seventh grade and in my sophomore and junior year in high school. It’s been quite some time, and cheerleading is a lot different than ballroom dancing. But the thing that has helped me the most, my greatest strength, is my flexibility.”

Thankfully, Kellie has a sympathetic ear when the daily regimen gets too stressful — fellow contestant and country music icon, Wynonna Judd. “I’m so glad I have another country girl out here,” the 26-year-old gushes. “She’s country royalty. She is someone that I admire and I look up to as well. She has an incredible story and is such a strong woman. I think she represents the women in country music and women in general. And she’s so funny.”

Kellie and Derek continue to be one of the highest-scoring pairs of the season. “Dancing With the Stars” airs Monday nights at 8:00 PM ET and Tuesday nights at 7:00 PM ET on ABC.

Watch Kellie & Derek at ‘DWTS’ Rehearsals

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