Jana Kramer on 'Dancing With the Stars' & Opening Up About Domestic Violence: 'It Should Be Talked About'
Dancing with the Stars hopeful Jana Kramer is going to do a little dance and get down tonight on a decade-themed episode Monday (Oct. 24). "We are going to do the samba to KC and the Sunshine Band's 'Get Down Tonight,'" Kramer tells Billboard.
The 32-year-old country singer and actress is coming off a fantastic week, earning a perfect score after she and partner Gleb Savchenko did a sexy tango, ending in a flowing shower.
"I'm just glad that it actually worked because the few times we ran it in rehearsal it didn't go so well, so I was freaking out a little bit," she says.
Earning a perfect score of 40 out of 40 -- set to the beat of Selena Gomez's "Hands to Myself" -- eased the nerves. "Going into the competition, a perfect score is what I really wanted, so knowing that I got that is what I wanted," she says. " Now I want the Mirror Ball."
Hearing judge Bruno Tonioli exclaim "10!" is the "best feeling ever," she says. "A part of my goal now is to be in the top, and getting a perfect score got the buzz a little bit more to work as hard as I can and really challenge myself," she says. "This whole process has been challenging in an amazing way."
Kramer is not afraid to challenge herself in the competition. Two weeks ago, her contemporary dance to Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes," shone a spotlight on the painful subject of her abusive marriage to her first husband, Michael Gambino.
"Dancing With the Stars has an amazing platform, and this is a story I have been wanting to tell for over 10 years," she says. "The show reaches many people, so this way I can really help people. I'm ready to be truly my authentic self and be strong and face everything. I wanted to help people with what I went through. Domestic violence is rarely talked about, and it should be talked about. I already got such great feedback from people who were in abusive relationships and got out. It is scary to be vulnerable and share your story, but I am so glad that I was able to do it on a big platform and help as many people as I could."
Kramer chose the song as a tribute to her daughter, Jolie, who is also the inspiration for her new song "Circles," from the album Thirty One. "Circles" is the follow-up to the Jamie Lynn Spears-penned hit "I Got the Boy."
"That song meant the world to me and I was so blessed that Jamie Lynn had that song," she says.
"Circles," she says, is straight from her heart. "'Circles' is my love song for my daughter," she tells Billboard. "She truly keeps together a broken part of me. That is what that song is about. Every time I sing it, it makes me feel very strong."
Kramer admits that her life as an actress and country singer may look great on the surface, but she says her story shows that one can "never judge a book by its cover." "You never know someone's personal struggle, you never know what they have been through," she says. "I am a perfect example of that. It can happen to anyone."
She is also an inspiration on the dance floor, as the singer admits to having no previous dance experience. "Each week is a challenge because I have never done any of these dances before," she says. "It's all so new for me."
Looking ahead, Kramer plans to circle back to acting while keeping music very much in the forefront. "I'm going to keep writing and going and doing my thing," she says. "I want to keep going on that ride."