On Monday’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, the father of three discussed his ongoing dancing frustrations with pro partner Peta Murgatroyd, but explained to audiences why he chooses to stay committed even when the road gets difficult.
“I’m frustrated because I feel like we come in here and we work as hard as anybody else and the results just don’t happen the way I want them to happen,” Lachey, 43, explained to Murgatroyd, 31. “I feel like I just don’t know what I’m doing there.”
For week six, the pair was tasked with a Western-themed samba, which proved difficult for Lachey, who was admittedly lacking in confidence.
“This is the worst week for Nick to be down on himself because he’s got the samba,” explained Murgatroyd. “You’ve got to go into it with full confidence and I just feel like that’s not there right now.”
“I feel like a buffoon,” Lachey admitted to his pro partner during rehearsals. “To me, I don’t feel like a dancer. I feel like an idiot trying to be a dancer.”
Despite him feeling down, Lachey recognized that he has three young children — sons Camden John, 5, and 10-month-old Phoenix and daughter Brooklyn Elisabeth, 2 — who are looking up to him.
“I came into this competition to challenge myself. I tell my 5-year-old: ‘Once you commit to something, stick it out.’ I would never want him to look at dad and think dad was a quitter,” he shared. “It’s not an easy thing to be confident doing something you’re not in, so I have to come out and sell it as if I’m the best dancer in the world.”
After performing their Movie Night number, the pair received mixed reviews from the judges — and were awarded a 26/40 (two 7s from Carrie Ann Inaba and guest judge Shania Twain and two 6s from Len Goodman and Bruno Tonioli).
“It hurts me to hear you say that it’s hard for you to come out here because you’re worried about how you look. I think you’re cutting yourself too short because when you did that breakdown tonight, it was fantastic — you nailed it,” said Inaba. “That’s what we’re here for. Everybody has a different growth trajectory. Yours is slow and steady.”
“When you’re doing that sort of solo stuff, you look terrific. You’ve just got to take that into doing the samba parts. … Just come out and give it some willy and dance!” added Goodman.
Although Lachey had a positive outlook going into jeopardy against Terrell Owens and Cheryl Burke — “This show is about so much more than just the dancing and I’ve had a blast and will continue to have a blast as long as they’ll have me out here,” he said — his time on the reality dance competition came to an end.
“I think I’m most proud of the fact that we laid it all out there every week. I came in not a very good dancer, I’m going to leave not a very good dancer, but I’m proud of the effort we gave,” Lachey said after being eliminated. “That’s all I can ask. Honestly, it was a blast.”
“The toughest part of the show is having two parents be so busy with the show. If there is a silver lining it is that I get to be a dad again and take the kids to school. My son will be very happy that I’m around more, so I’m excited about that,” Lachey told PEOPLE after the show. “Look, in a perfect world I’d still be in it and we’d still be going, but that’s the nature of the beast. I went into this thing knowing I wasn’t the best dancer, knowing that it was going to be an uphill climb and I’m very, very proud that we gave it our all and I’m proud that we got to this point.”
Although Lachey will no longer be competing on the show, he’ll still be in the ballroom each week supporting his wife Vanessa Lachey, who is partnered with Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
“I’ll be here. Now I get to play dad again. I get to support my wife and cheer them on,” said Lachey, who added about Murgatroyd, “I can’t say enough wonderful things about this woman.”