Nikki Bella can be Team Carrie Ann Inaba and still think her fiancé, Artem Chigvintsev, and Kaitlyn Bristowe deserve to win the mirrorball on Dancing With the Stars.

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“A part of the Dancing With the Stars show that I think people get really attached to someone is when they see their growth. I truly believe Carrie Ann was hard on her because she knew there was more and we saw that last week,” Nikki, 36, told twin sister Brie Bella on “The Bellas Podcast” podcast on Wednesday, November 18. “They got three 10s. That Argentine tango, you were like I didn’t even think she could do that and she did that. And so for me, that’s how I see things. Like Carrie Ann pushed her in a way that made her even better. Honestly if Kaitlyn and Artem don’t win, I’m calling, it’s rigged.”

Nikki Bella Says If Artem Chigvintsev Kaitlyn Bristowe Dont Win DWTS Its Rigged
Nikki Bella, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Artem Chigvintsev. Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/Shutterstock; ABC/Kelsey McNeal

While Brie argued that Jenna Johnson and Nev Schulman are “doing really good” too, Nikki noted that the former Bachelorette’s growth is what stands out to her.

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“He started off good just like Kaitlyn but now Kaitlyn has shown how much she’s grown even more and for me that means something. That to me is deserving of the mirrorball trophy,” she said.

After struggling to win Inaba’s praises during several weeks of the season, Chigvintsev, 38, and Bristowe, 35, were at the top of the leaderboard after the Monday, November 16, episode. While some fans thought Inaba judged the pair too harshly during the season, Nikki told Us Weekly exclusively that she is “doing her job.”

The former WWE diva explained, “I think because Brie and I have been athletes our whole life, I have been raised in such a way, like, don’t cry about injuries. Suck it up. So, Artem and I actually got in this discussion. I think he was so shocked because I was like, ‘Why are you taking it so personal?’”

During Wednesday’s podcast, Nikki clarified her comments amid backlash that she wasn’t there for Chigvintsev, with whom she shares 3-month-old son Matteo.

“For the women [fans] who thought I should have my man’s back, I would take a bullet for that man,” Nikki told Brie. “I love that man and we both have chosen to be in the reality world, we put our life out there so when you all said if it isn’t good I shouldn’t talk about it, no. I talk about the good, the bad, the ugly. And by the way, there was no bad in that. He actually agreed.”

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The E! star revealed that Chigvintsev “actually made a video to post on his social media, like, apologizing to Carrie Ann,” but opted not to post it.

“We both felt like, ‘OK maybe that’s too much, right when it all happened.’ Artem has the biggest heart and he was feeling bad for Carrie Ann with all the bad comments she was getting on her Instagram cause at the end of the day, no one wants to be dragged,” she explained.

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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