OFFSTAGE: Kellie Pickler Wants to Bring Home Dancing With the Stars Trophy

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

“I’m not out here to party and shop. That would be great, but I’m here to dance,” Kellie Pickler told CMT Radio. “I wanna bring that shiny mirror ball home to Tennessee.” And after Monday’s (March 18) premiere of Dancing With the Stars, I think she just might. Pickler really seems to be a natural in the arms of professional dancer Derek Hough. And although she called him “a drill sergeant of a dance partner,” she admits he’s taught her she has to put her all into every dance they learn. “Derek is a perfectionist,” she said. “He will work you to the bone, which is good. If you’re gonna do it, do it.” She also explained the process for coming up with her dance ensemble. (You can’t really call it a dress because it was more like a strapless, backless number covered in sequins and just enough fringe to make a skirt of sorts.) “Every single thing that you see on the show is handmade from scratch,” she said. “It’s custom made. You sit down with wardrobe stylist people, and they sketch out drawings. So we tell them what dance we’re doing, tell them what song we’re dancing to and we just go from scratch.” Next week Pickler and Hough will be doing jazz, so she warned, “There’s no telling what I’ll be in.”