Gavin DeGraw faces a "Dancing With the Stars" balancing act

Gavin DeGraw
Getty Image/Ethan Miller
Gavin DeGraw partners with last season's champ, Karina Smirnoff, who returns for her 11th season of "Dancing with the Stars."
Bob D'Amico/ABC

(CBS News) Gavin DeGraw's "Dancing With the Stars" season has been a balancing act so far - and we're not just talking about his dancing skills.

The singer-songwriter has been on the road playing shows while training for the ABC talent competition, not the easiest task if you want to put your best dancing foot forward.

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Last week, DeGraw, 35, finished in the bottom three. In an effort to improve his scores Monday night, Degraw attempted the rumba to Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind." He received a 24, his best score so far.

It was a personal song for DeGraw, who said that as a kid, he knew he wanted to make a living in music after seeing Joel in concert.

But the New York native's love and dedication for music could be one of the things getting in the way of his "Dancing With the Stars" quest for the mirrorball trophy.

DeGraw's dancing partner, Karina Smirnoff, told People on Monday, "Up until last week, we were constantly traveling for Gavin's tour. We would be driving in a car for seven hours before dance rehearsal and then he would do his show. We were as mentally exhausted as we were physically exhausted."

DeGraw was on the road in Europe shortly before the "Dancing With the Stars" producers announced this season's cast.

At the time, DeGraw told the tour was "going great."

"The European thing is great - the food is great," he said. "That's a big plus."

After the European leg in February, the "Not Over You" singer hit the road on an extensive U.S. outing - and he still has has a few dates lined up this month. At the end of May, he hits the road with singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat.

Still, Smirnoff says DeGraw has no excuses, telling People, "He has to have his butt ready for me to kick it every time he gets to the studio!