Credit: Jesse Grant

There has been a history of Disney stars on Dancing With the Stars, but it’s not often that you hear about one who was courted by the show for years. That spot was saved for High School Musical’s Corbin Bleu, who was asked multiple times before finally saying “yes” this year, dancing alongside “dream partner” Karina Smirnoff.

Coming off of a strong, 24-point Contemporary in the Season 17 premiere, Corbin was ecstatic, feeling a “rush” and ready to take on the challenge of ballroom dancing — contrary to popular belief, he’s not an experienced dancer when it comes to this style of movement — and his fellow competitors.

Wetpaint Entertainment caught up with Corbin at the DWTS premiere after-party at Mixology chatting about his biggest competitors, why he joined the cast, and more. Check out our chat below, then hit the comments with who you think could win Season 17!

Wetpaint Entertainment: How did you feel after your first dance?

Corbin Bleu: I felt really good. All the adrenaline is gone now at this point. It's been such a rush from the morning and at this point, I'm like, “I'm done.”

They asked you to do it multiple times and you said no...

Over the past several years, yes.

Why join the cast now?

I felt like timing was never right. After High School Musical, I wanted to be able to do things that I knew would continue to have me grow as an entertainer and as an actor. And that's why I went off to go to Broadway. And the films that I chose, they're all these crazy, quirky characters in the films, and then I'm doing the soap One Life to Live, which is like a training ground when it comes to the amount of work that you do per day. So I feel like I've gotten myself to a point now where I'm ready to show a new me, and Dancing with the Stars was such a perfect thing for it. So I felt like if I'd done it before, it would just be sort of continuing on showing what the people have already seen. So I felt like now, I have something new to show.

But ironically, I heard that there were great expectations. When you came in, it was like, “Corbin’s not a ballroom dancer!”

I'm not. And that's the thing, is that it's funny because everybody who has all these great expectations, even for our first dance, it's contemporary. So I'm used to that style of movement, but ballroom dancing stuff that we've actually been working on is a little bit more difficult for me.

What's the hardest?

Well, so far, we've just done ... our second week is Jive. So we're working on Jive. And then we started working a little bit with Quickstep, and both are pretty difficult.

How happy are you about your partner?

I love her. She's wonderful. She is hardworking. We get along well. We have great chemistry. She listens to me as far as where she allows me to throw in ideas, and we just kind of bounce back and forth off of each other really well.

Who is your biggest competition?

This year, I really think it could be anybody's game. I mean, Christina [Milian] is big competition. Snooki's big competition. Amber's big competition.

Elizabeth Berkley, too…

Elizabeth is incredible. You have Brant, too. It's awesome [this year].

How are you guys getting along as a group?

Everybody's awesome. That's the one thing about this show also why I wanted to join it. It's not like other competition shows. At the end of the day, it's a friendly competition, and everybody's here to have fun. And this sort of environment can cause you to really get too caught up in the competition, but everybody here is so supportive. I mean, you can see when the dances are over — everybody's congratulating you. Everybody wants you to succeed, and nobody wants to see anybody go home.

Well…

Yes, everybody wants to win, but at the same time, nobody wants to watch these newfound relationships and these new connections leave. It's a Catch‑22.

Do you think Corbin and Karina could win DWTS? Sound off below!