Skai Jackson on How She's Moving Past 'DWTS' Mistakes (Exclusive)

Skai Jackson is already looking ahead to next week’s dance. The 18-year-old Dancing With the Stars contestant and her partner, Alan Bersten, performed the Cha Cha to “Say So” by Dojo Cat featuring Nicki Minaj during Monday’s episode, but it didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.

“It was honestly just a step that I worked really hard [on] and it was really hard for me to get into that next move. That’s what I personally messed up on,” Jackson told ET following her mid-dance mishap. “And then from there, I just kind of blanked out and I was like, ‘What the heck is going on?’ But you know what, my motivation was like, ‘You’re going to get through this dance. Keep pushing.'”

Keep pushing she did, with judges Derek Hough, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba all praising her for carrying on after the misstep and finishing her dance successfully, before awarding her an 18/30.

“I was really happy that the judges did say that, because I really worked hard. I was like, ‘You know what? Just keep going,'” Jackson said. “I’m glad that they acknowledged that.”

https://youtube.com/watch?v=4nQzI5I435s%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Likewise, Bersten agreed with the judges, commending Jackson for coming back “so much stronger than I ever thought possible.”

“It motivates me and encourages me that Skai is so resilient and so determined, that she wants this so bad, that she doesn’t give up,” he said. “You don’t wish for this, but the way Skai handles it is such a positive outlook. It shows that she’s not going to give up. Little things can’t keep you down. You’ve gotta keep fighting for what you want. Clearly Skai wants to be here and it shows every time she goes on that floor. And it makes me so happy.”

Bersten added that Jackson is “not a dancer, but works so hard,” a fact he considers “very inspiring.”

“We’re not going to change anything. We’re just going to work harder. We’re going to get better,” he said of next week’s plans. “We’re going to be on top next week… What’s impressive is coming back strong.”

DWTS airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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