J.R. Martinez promised that he was going to "bust his butt" after his lower scores last week and surprised everyone, including himself, when he came back with not one, but two perfect scores.
"I've overcome a lot in my life prior to this competition and I knew that I could do a lot of things, you know?" Martinez told OnTheRedCarpet.com after his November 7 performance. "But sometimes you have a tendency to kind of, you know, get confident and subtle and you just kind of get complacent, so to speak, and you forget what you can really accomplish."
The 28-year-old army veteran and "All My Children" actor, and partner Karina Smirnoff, 33, received a score of 30 out of 30 from the judges for their Waltz and 30 out of 30 points for their Instant Jive in week 8 of ABC's hit celebrity ballroom dancing series (read recap). The pair secured their place on the top of the leader board this week.
"It really was an out-of-body experience. I mean, it's one of those like, it's almost like you're on the outside watching it and it's like it's really happening," Martinez continued. "I've experienced that once before in my life. The only time I experienced that when my life was changing in Iraq in April of 2003 and it just felt like an out-of-body experience and not knowing what was going to happen. And this was kind of like one of those same moments, but in the most powerful, positive way ever."
As usual, Martinez refused to take credit for his perfect score, instead praising Smirnoff, his professional dancing partner.
"I have an amazing friend, an amazing teacher -- she pushes me every single day because she knows it's in me and this competition has really given me an opportunity to remind myself what the possibilities are if I put my mind to it."
Martinez and Smirnoff have been in a battle for the top spot with competitors Ricki Lake and Derek Hough since the 13th season began in September. This week, Lake was tied for second place with Hope Solo.
Martinez and Smirnoff received a thunderous applause for their performances this week, but the veteran predicted his lead last week, telling OnTheRedCarpet.com that he would land on top.
"I'm going to come back next week and I'm going to have something that's going to put me at the top of the leader board because that's where I want to be," Martinez told OnTheRedCarpet.com on November 1. "If America, you know, votes for us and pulls us through, I guarantee you, starting Wednesday morning, I'm going to bust my butt."
The five remaining pairs return on Tuesday, November 8, for an elimination episode, during which the eighth couple is expected to be sent packing.
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com that also produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet"(check for local TV listings).