But don’t call it a comeback.
“I don’t feel that we had lost our mojo,” Macchio said backstage, referring to their rebound on the scoreboard. “It was bigger, though. The music is so melodrama, the story is a tragedy, and you have 89 seconds of dance time… we wanted to draw the audience in.”
“Not that he’s counting,” Smirnoff laughs at the partner she dubbed “Ralpheo” for the night.
This was Smirnoff’s first episode since news broke she would grace the cover of the May issue of “Playboy,” and though she obviously has nothing to hide, she doesn’t want it to distract from the big picture.
“To be honest, I don’t think it’s fair to this experience to talk about it,” she says. “I’m enjoying it way too much to take attention away [from it].”
Macchio, boyishly amused by the subject, seems to agree. “We’re just focused on the work,” he says. “The moment we met, there was instant chemistry, fun and we laugh a lot. It’s a brother/sister dynamic. I’m the older brother, but as I’m getting younger every week…”
“And I’m getting older!” Smirnoff interjects. “By the end I’ll be older than him.”
We are starting to wonder if the baby-faced 49-year-old Macchio indeed suffers from some sort of “Benjamin Button” disorder.