Josh Norman Compares ‘DWTS’ Stress To Super Bowl

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Training for Dancing With the Stars is demanding for anyone, even NFL football stars according to Josh Norman, cornerback for the Washington Redskins. He put in some impressive performances in the first two weeks of the show and will find out tonight if he will make it to next week’s finale. Norman told a couple of interviewers recently that he was surprised at how intense his DWTS experience has been.

When asked if the anxiety he feels when dancing on DWTS compares to playing in Super Bowl 50 in 2015, Josh initially balked at the question, saying they’re two completely different things. He finally did agree, however, that the level of pressure associated with both events is about equal, with a few differences. He told ESPN that his heart races when it comes time to perform with his Dancing With the Stars partner, Sharna Burgess. He knows that millions of people are watching on television, and a couple hundred more are watching live. Norman said he feels the pressure of all those people watching every move to see if they make a mistake. He hates the thought of not nailing everything he and his partner have worked on so hard and letting her down.

In another interview, this one with Yahoo! Sports, Josh described participating in this shortened season of DWTS as “the hardest thing I’ve ever done in the off season.” Full of ups and downs, it’s been as much fun as he thought it would be, but much more work than he anticipated. Football players have a successful history on the dance show, and Norman acknowledged that the footwork and agility he’s learned as a football player are an advantage on the ballroom floor.

During one of his clips on Dancing With the Stars, Josh said that he listens to movie tracks to get motivated and into the right frame of mind before a game. He spoke more about that in his interview, and said that he listens to tracks from movies like Gladiator, Troy, and The Dark Knight to get his mind in the right place and to get him “into character” before hitting the football field.

Whatever he’s been doing to help his performance on DWTS is working. In the premiere episode on April 30, Norman and Burgess tied for the top spot on the leaderboard. They struggled a little last week but are still among the favorites. In tonight’s episode of Dancing With the Stars, three couples will be sent home. In Round 1, each pair will perform a dance inspired by the athlete’s life as MVP. For Josh Norman, this will be a contemporary dance to the song “Stand By Me” by Bootstraps, chosen because of the football star’s childhood in South Carolina where he did lots of line dancing. In Round 2, Josh and Sharna will dance the salsa to “WTF” (“Where They From”) by Missy Elliott and featuring Pharrell Williams.

Dancing With the Stars airs tonight on ABC at 8 p.m. ET. When asked to describe what viewers can expect from tonight’s performance, Norman shouted, “Electrifying,” and Sharna said, “Epic.”